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We welcome Mike Michalowicz, the author of Clockwork, in this podcast. This book is about the concept of your business running like a fine-tuned clock so that if you temporarily leave it, it won’t fall apart. Mike provides a preview of his book and the frameworks contained within that enforce better business practices. He tells us about the productivity trap and an important exercise that every entrepreneur needs to do.

Timestamped Show Notes

(click the timestamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)

[4:31] Tell us a little about yourself.

  • I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole adult life, but I had an epiphany about eleven years ago that caused me to become an author full-time.
  • I wanted to understand how to make entrepreneurship simpler. Every book I’ve written is about a process that I didn’t understand that caused some of my businesses to fail.

[6:40] What is a work-ation and why should we stay way from that?

  • There’s a classic technique we use that I like to call the cram and scramble. After years of work and sacrifice we take a one-week vacation, but the week before we leave, we cram a lot of work in so that we are free on vacation.
  • When we return, there’s often a scramble to catch up.
  • This is not a vacation, it’s a work-ation.
  • It’s a problem because it means that if we’re not around, the business is not around. That means that we don’t have a business, we have a glorified job.
  • Most of us think that there’s a switch that will magically be flicked one day that will cause the business to run on its own. It doesn’t work like that.

[10:51] What is the productivity trap?

  • Productivity just means getting more things done in less time. It just frees up time for more work, and just one problem happens, things can get out of hand.
  • We’re managing a team; we’re not trying to be better players.

[12:41] I can see the average mortgage broker thinking nobody can do their job as good as themselves. If people are struggling with this, what would you say to them?

  • I used to think this way. I thought I was the superhero of my business.
  • If you look at the superhero analogy, superheroes are kind of jerks. They don’t teach people to improve their skills.
  • The problem is, us business owners are disabling our team from ever taking on the task.
  • The mind shift we need to make is to never call ourselves superheroes, but rather supervisionaries.

[16:01] In your book, the one story that blew my mind was the one of Sir Peter Lely. Tell me about what you discovered of him.

  • He was the most prolific and recognized painter of his time because he figured out a clockwork system.
  • He focused on his best skill and went from doing 100% of the painting to 10%. He was able to do ten times the volume because he outsourced.

[19:38] Tell us about QBR and why every mortgage broker needs to do this exercise.

  • In the book, I share a strategy called deductive logic that helps you find the most important part of your business.
  • The QBR (queen bee role) is the essence of what makes a business thrive.
  • You have to do other things in your business, but never to the jeopardy of that core thing.

[23:50] Talk to me about the ACDC function and why people need to understand it.

  • ACDC is the flow of a business.
  • A is the attraction of prospects, C stands for convert, D means delivering on our promise, and C is collecting money from the client.
  • With the ACDC model, we can look at our business and see where the weakest link is. If we fix that weak link, the entire business elevates.

[26:54] Tell me about how to effectively build a dashboard.

  • For our business, we need to refine down to the critical metrics that identify the health of our business.
  • The goal is to monitor them, and if there’s an anomaly, we adjust.
  • We should be tracking a key metric in each of the ACDC elements.
  • The QBR must always be measured.

[31:17] How do you not punish team members that have made a mistake? There’s a tendency in our business to think that we’re better off doing things ourselves instead of empowering employees.

  • We have to move from the deciding phase to the delegation phase.
  • It’s in the employees’ best interest to come with decisions for us to make because it protects them. They think we’ll punish them because of a mistake.
  • Delegation is not the assignment of tasks, but of outcomes.
  • When we are controlling the scenario, it’s about ego. When I was doing that, I realized I needed to redirect my ego. Now, I get more satisfaction out of empowering my employees than controlling them.

[34:28] Where can people find you online?

If you’re interested in finding out if we can help you recruit more realtors, visit to find out more.