Finding Team Alignment with Blake Harris and Charlie Matter at Case Energy Partners
Every leader I know is charged with finding team alignment so that the company grows in a collaborative way. The process of finding team alignment takes intentional thought and robust strategies. My guests today are Blake Harris and Charlie Matter, Co-Founders of Case Energy Partners. Their company was ranked #78 in the 2018 Inc 5000 list. We talk about how they approach finding team alignment. We discuss why it is so essential for the growth of the company. Blake and Charlie share their journey with you so that you can achieve the alignment you seek. Join us for today’s conversation, all about finding team alignment.
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Blake Harris & Charlie Matter: The Transcript
Target Audience: Charlie is an oil and gas entrepreneur who has founded and successfully operated multiple mineral and royalty partnerships. He is the Founder & CEO for Case Energy Partners, LLC and its affiliates. And Blake Harris, COO of Case Energy Partners LLC / CEP Minerals LLC began his career in the oil and gas industry as a lease operator for Laredo Petroleum in the Permian Basin.
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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
We didn’t want to create a top heavy company and we didn’t want it. We wanted to create a company that the values were aligned and incentives for. And so everybody’s move in the same direction with the same goal. And so we put some things into place from the get go to helping ensure that.
Yeah. You know I would say that the belief behind what Charlie just said is that a single aligned system directs talent and energy in one direction and that alignment fosters a connected and focused team. And that’s important to have whether you’ve got two people or 26 people.
[00:00:46].350] – Gene Hammett
Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs. The fastest growing privately held companies. I am the host. My name is Gene Hammett. I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moments of their growth. Are you ready to grow?
[00:01:03].750] – Gene Hammett
You know the importance of team alignment. You know that it’s important to have people rowing together with a complete buy in toward the goals of the company. And you need to have team alignment if you want to grow your business fast. I study growth. You probably know this about me. This whole podcasts grow think tank is about the strategies for growth and a lot of it comes down to leadership. Today we’re gonna be talking with an amazing two individuals two co-founders of a business Case Energy Partners. They were number 78 on that in 2018 this and really amazing guys. When you think about what they’re doing inside of a kind of a traditional industry. They’re really putting their people first. They’re really bringing them in is as owners and they’re having open transparencies of financials but also in how they’re moving forward. And some really interesting aspects that I’d love to share with you inside this interview. With Blake Harris and Charlie Matter.
[00:02:04].940] – Gene Hammett
I’m really excited about sharing this with you. Before we jump into it let me remind you if you have been tuning in to all of these episodes I’ve organized the core principles of fast growth companies down to twelve core principles down to one sheet of paper and so you can get that at GeneHammett.com/worksheet where you will find the core principles across all of these interviews here. I would direct you to some of the episodes that those are highlighted so you can go right to the episode. That means the most to you in your business. Now if you want to get that just go to GeneHammett.com/worksheet. Now here’s the interview with Charlie and Blake.
[00:02:40].950] – Gene Hammett
Hey guys how are you?
[00:02:42].430] – Charlie Matter
All right. Doing good.
[00:02:42].950] – Blake Harris
How are you doing?
[00:02:44].300] – Gene Hammett
I’m fantastic. I’ve already let our audience know a little bit about you but it really is excited to have you here at growth think tank. Blake Harris and Charlie Matter you guys are with Case Energy. Give me a little bit of context to the company that you guys are in.
[00:03:10].750] – Charlie Matter
Yeah. Great question. So we are a we’re in the oil and gas business and we acquire oil and gas properties but primarily like we are an outlet we’re a vehicle for Forbes mineral royalty owners to quickly liquidate their portfolio. So if you’re our mineral royalty entering our states you own minerals and you’re getting you know you have maybe a substantial amount of your net worth tied up into this very concentrated asset we provide an outlet for them too. And so we’ve we effectively built our own mutual fund. So we buy a lot of different properties put our eggs in a lot of different baskets and we provide owners mineral owners and we’re an outlet for them.
[00:03:59].860] – Charlie Matter
We go in and evaluate and find properties that we want to buy evaluative properties and we make offers or people come to us that want to sell these properties and then we aggregate those and build a portfolio.
[00:04:12].110] – Gene Hammett
So I would imagine you’re pretty good at determining what the value of a piece of land is.
[00:04:18].960] – Charlie Matter
We have we got geologists and engineers that help us determine. Here’s what the value over the lifetime of an asset is.
[00:04:27].010] – Gene Hammett
Your company has grown tremendously fast. Number 78 on the 2018 list. Do you ever get that wrong.
[00:04:37].560] – Charlie Matter
That’s a great question. I mean we yeah we do. Yeah. We’re just…
[00:04:41].690] – Gene Hammett
OK. I appreciate the honesty there. I imagine sometimes it goes really right.
[00:04:49].230] – Charlie Matter
Yeah. We’ve been puzzling a lot like a lot like jump in there.
[00:04:52].390] – Blake Harris
Yeah I mean it it is. Where you know you’re predicting in order to put the value on those minerals or that property you’re predicting how the well is going to perform you’re predicting when the well or wells are going to be drilled. You’re predicting what the price of oil and gas is going to be. And so we are wrong quite a bit. Right. Quite a bit too. Oh it’s important to cast a wide net in and buy a lot of different properties. And because it is like you know if you’re if you only buy one like like we do tell the mineral owners if you only own one property and that well doesn’t perform the way that you want it to. You know it could be a bad deal. You know so we are wrong and we’re fine with it. We plan for it. Just hope that we’re right more than you’re wrong.
[00:05:48].150] – Gene Hammett
Well I know you’ve got a team behind you as companies grow they need debt to count on the people. About twenty six employees is that the right number right when you think about your the key factors of growth of the business. A lot of its external market and probably you know the opportunities in front of you. But a big part of it is how well the team works together. You talk to me about earlier about how important team alignment is. So why is that so important as you guys have scaled your business.
[00:06:22].010] – Charlie Matter
I’ll answer that first and let it go. I think that you know there’s there’s oil gas and sure there’s kind of two approaches you. You obviously need to have the right personnel the right people in the right seats. And we had that we had to make a decision are we going to get young smart talent that’s multiple trainable and flexible or are we going to get more seasoned older talent. And we went with the younger route. That’s not to say there’s not value abodes or having to help people in but in creating a company we had to figure out a way to keep everybody’s. We didn’t want to create a top heavy company we didn’t want it we wanted to create a company that were the values we’re aligned and the incentives were alive. And so everybody’s moving the same direction with the same goal. And so we put some things into place from the get go to help ensure that you have that.
[00:07:18].200] – Blake Harris
Yeah. You know. I would say that the belief behind what Charlie just said is that a single aligned system directs talent and energy and in one direction and in that alignment fosters a connected and focused team. And that’s important to have whether you’ve got two people or 26 people. You know it gets everybody speaking the same language playing by the same rules it allows you to move quick and alignment is one of the most important things I’d say it’s one of the main reasons for our our success is having an aligned team. It’s made life really easy.
[00:08:03].020] – Gene Hammett
Well I would love to know like some specific strategies or principles that make that possible because a lot of companies and leaders talk about team alignment. What are you guys doing that makes it work.
[00:08:14].290] – Charlie Matter
I’ll start then Blake go in Blake to give you a little background and I mean he was he’s his former military so he was in the Marines and so system processes are come natural to him. I tend to be more a big picture visionary type thinker. Blake’s definitely keeps the trains on the tracks and puts the puts the system into place. You know we started with how how do you compensate people. And we said OK you know compensation is a big deal. It can be an elephant in the room it can be but there’s creative ways to compensate people. So we felt like giving people you know what we would what we would call an ownership in the company creates creates an alignment that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
[00:09:05].540] – Charlie Matter
And so we didn’t want cheque collectors. We didn’t want people clocking in clocking out. We wanted people feel like their thumbprint is on this company. And the better the company does the better record. And so we want to line people in that regard. If the company is growing it’s a fast growing company and we want them to feel like they’re a part of it just as much as anybody is. And so this isn’t just like a company or my company or John’s company.
[00:09:31].610] – Charlie Matter
This is this is everybody’s company and everybody as you get to work here you are part of your incentive is an ownership in the company. And I say that in the sense that like we give profit share ownerships and we give commissions that are based on performance. And so we’ve created a compensation that you know is one we’ve created transparency into how the company performs.
[00:10:03].920] – Charlie Matter
And to that transparency allows people to see is the company performing poorly or is company performing well and they know that it’s come to perform as well. They’re going to be rewarded that there’s a direct financial benefit for them. I think the second element is you know we implemented AOS a couple of years ago and that stands for transparent operating system and that’s been instrumental for us having one playbook that we operate off of. And our core values we do live and die by our core values and they’re kind of the heartbeat of the company.
[00:10:38].270] – Charlie Matter
And so you know I think that the compensation lets you fulfill this ownership and this I would say their desire to perform and do well is beyond. It is a bigger deal here that it helps hold people accountable because if I don’t do my function they don’t do their function. You know this thing doesn’t work. And so I think everybody knows it like hey if we all want to do really well for ourselves. Number one we’ve got to play about a playbook that we all believe in and that you know we’ve all got to pull our weight for this thing to work and jump in.
[00:11:16].210] – Blake Harris
Yeah. Add to that. You know I mean you. Everything starts with a vision or an idea. But to make it a reality you have to share that vision and you have to build a comprehensive plan to implement that vision. And the tool that helped us implement that vision which was originally Charlie’s vision was useless. And it’s really helped us articulate that vision to our team in a positive way. It’s a system that’s that’s built on human nature and provides tools to make that vision a tangible thing for our team members. Charlie mentioned core values the are our core values are excellence teamwork resourcefulness Kaizen watch for those that don’t aren’t familiar with Kaizen it’s the idea of you’re either winning or you’re learning initiative and having fun.
[00:12:17].930] – Blake Harris
And those those we believe that does go to the heart of human nature like minded people work well together and core values keep everyone aiming at the same Northstar and going about getting there the same way another one another tool that U.S. provides is Miserables. It’s a natural human tendency to measure things right. I mean you like that’s when you really think about it. People do it every day and don’t even realize you’re constantly measuring things. It’s like you said it’s a natural tendency. So the measure goals are. Charlie touched on it but every person in the company has a number. Everyone knows what what that person has to do.
[00:13:02].330] – Blake Harris
Everyone in the company knows if anyone in the company is or isn’t doing their job and those measurable goals they they allow you to measure achievements and people relate to those numbers. And like Charlie said transparency there is no I wonder what he does you know is he just playing golf all day. I mean everyone knows from the top down what each person is supposed to be doing.
[00:13:31].550] – Commentary
Let me slide in here for a second. When you have core values and you know they’re important to your business. The last thing you want to do is put them on your walls and not think about them again. You actually want to make them a part of your day in and day out. Business how you lead how you make decisions. You went through the trouble or the process of putting together those values but you should also operationalize them. That’s part of the work I do with clients really helping them make the most out of that process of values so that people know how to make decisions when you’re not in the room and teams can get together and form around these values and they can really lead and move fast and really align all together that’s really important with core values. So make sure you operationalize them. Now back to the interview.
[00:14:21].090] – Gene Hammett
Let me ask you a question on that. You mentioned everyone has one number so is it actually one number that everyone’s managing to?
[00:14:30].200] – Blake Harris
I guess the better way to say it was everyone has at least one number.
[00:14:33].430] – Gene Hammett
OK. All right.
[00:14:34].880] – Charlie Matter
Some people have multiple numbers but it is a. Everyone has something that that they know that they’re aiming for.
[00:14:43].510] – Gene Hammett
And one more question on that. You mentioned transparency it was part of the core aspects of creating financial profit sharing but you also mentioned that everyone knows what other people’s numbers are so they know how others are performing against their goals.
[00:15:00].250] – Charlie Matter
[00:15:00].650] – Gene Hammett
Grab that correct.
[00:15:01].760] – Blake Harris
[00:15:02].470] – Gene Hammett
What value does that give you as a team?
[00:15:05].070] – Charlie Matter
Onto that. And then he can go. It’s basically like people. Anybody who’s in the camp it creates this accountability that you can’t you can’t hide that you are you are accountable to the company and it’s not just one person coming down on somebody. It’s that hey look we’re a team here. We all need to perform with only to work hard. And if you’re not like people will know that. And so it creates this. It kicks self-regulating. It’s a self-regulating system where it says hey look we’re gonna fall from the top down. Say like Hey how are we doing. Howard performing as a company and how each function perform.
[00:15:47].090] – Charlie Matter
So it really does help self regulate versus a lot of times what we saw what would happen at companies is like somebody is not performing. Number one they don’t know they’re not performing OK. So because I just there isn’t a conversation or the end of the year or there isn’t a conversation to the quarter. And so the other one is other people don’t know. So when you have it transparent you say hey people know you’re not performing. You know you’re not performing. You have an opportunity to go to other people and say What can I do different.
[00:16:17].090] – Charlie Matter
What can I do better. And it gives that it gives everybody an opportunity you’re never they’re never caught off guard by their poor performance or it may not be a lack of effort it may just be a lack of Hey I just I don’t know how to do this I need help with this. And so this it really does help self-regulating hold everybody at camp.
[00:16:37].620] – Gene Hammett
Let me kind of follow in there because it really is a beautiful aspect. I’ve seen other companies that do something similar but what I’m hearing from you is a way for each person to know what they’re supposed to be doing and the goals are going for and for them to reach out and say hey I need help. I’m all I’m off track and they are able to take ownership of that at a much faster pace than a year review or quarter review or maybe even waiting for the next time you guys have a conversation. They can go to anyone and say hey I need you can we work together on this and can you say help me. That is really a beautiful aspect to teamwork which is one of the core values you guys have right.
[00:17:19].900] – Blake Harris
It is absolutely.
[00:17:21].720] – Gene Hammett
Is there anything else that you guys do that’s similar to that where every day in the transparency vein where everyone’s available to are aware of what everyone else does and stands for.
[00:17:35].050] – Blake Harris
I mean we we have an accountability chart. Like Charlie said military background I was in the Marine Corps for seven years so I’m very familiar with the term chain of command. I mean a lot of people are. But the thing that I liked about the accountability chart was it just felt different than the chain of command. You know it’s it’s not. I mean we have it everyone knows it. And although it may look somewhat like a chain of command it really it makes people feel like this is more of like my lines of communication.
[00:18:09].070] – Blake Harris
You know this is the web of how things work together in this company it’s not if I don’t do my job. This is who gets on to me you know. And the I would say another result similar to what tied to what you said about you know people asking for help that you know everyone knows that measurable the number that you have are the numbers that you have.
[00:18:32].440] – Blake Harris
That’s is the goal. That’s calculated. That’s reverse calculated from what we are trying to accomplish for the year. And so that’s the job that that needs to happen. That’s the number that you see hit. And if someone isn’t hitting it the first reaction is not well they’re not doing their job it’s hey we’re not able to get this done. What do you need. But because the the goal post. We won’t change those. We’re not going to move the full goalposts.
[00:19:02].870] – Blake Harris
You know it’s we’re gonna figure out what what tool do you not have in order to hit that number. That’s the conversation that happens instead of. Why are you not doing this why are you not doing that. There’s something that we may not know.
[00:19:15].990] – Blake Harris
So it you just you see this people bringing things up. You know these they know that they know that they’re not going to get in trouble for not doing something. It’s like hey I need something else to help me do this. That’s been one of my favorite aspects of it.
[00:19:34].130] – Charlie Matter
We also create an opportunity for people to discuss the call the ideas identify discuss and solve problems. And so we really open the floor to anybody and everybody that wants to if there is an issue let’s discuss the issue and solve the issue. And so it’s really the culture here is a very open culture which allows people to be able to voice and share concerns or bring up issues. And the other thing that we do that’s transparent is we’re pretty transparent and financials let people know how we’re doing as a company at any point which is not necessarily always the norm.
[00:20:13].360] – Gene Hammett
Yeah. You mentioned transparency. More than half a dozen times and I’m smiling because I know how important it is for companies are growing fast but your peers out there in the marketplace I know you’re you’re kind of in some other peer groups. They probably don’t. They’re not as transparent as you are. Would you agree to that.
[00:20:37].460] – Charlie Matter
Yeah I would say that’s probably true. I think that we have a unique transparency in it. It can be a double edged sword at times but that we it’s hard for people to know how to get motivated unless they know how we’re doing.
[00:20:55].860] – Charlie Matter
And if we just keep everything behind a black curtain like yeah we’re doing fine now because people want to know like am I going to do well this year am I going to make what I think I’m gonna make is that all you know how are we doing. And if they can see real numbers that it gives a confidence like hey look he hasn’t moved the needle work we’re at where we need to beat the score.
[00:21:14].420] – Charlie Matter
Here’s what we need to do the next quarter and here’s that on a day and at any point and thinking that there’s a there’s a built like a basically out there’s a TV screen out that basically shows exactly at any point time where we are in how we’re doing so that’s it’s a lot of information to share it can at times we’ve wrestled with sharing that much information because you know it can create conversations that you. But the good outweighs the bad is what we’ve figured out that it really does motivate the line people like they they feel good about it they feel like they know how we’re doing and how we’re performing.
[00:21:53].440] – Commentary
Wow that’s a pretty interesting idea to be able to share the core metrics of a company in a big screen on the monitor so that everyone can see it. I’ve seen this happen with many companies that are running fast pace organizations and they want everyone to be tuned in to exactly what’s going on at the moment. And that gives everyone a little bit of an incentive to see where they are and how their goals are kind of tied to some of the bigger metrics inside the company. So if you were able to put up the metrics that really drove the team forward and able to share that everyone would be able to know where you were at the moment not waiting for a status update or not waiting for the end of the month or end of a quarter at the moment. Think about the power of that come back to the interview.
[00:22:36].690] – Gene Hammett
If one of the core principles of Team alignment is getting people to feel ownership which is a big part of what I talk about on stages and I share with my clients. Transparency is so important and and giving them visibility into how we’re doing good and bad is part of that. Let them take ownership of the bad. Like if you’re stressed out about it everyone else can be a little bit stressed but but you can turn that into a positive driver don’t you think. Look we’re a little bit behind this quarter let’s get a few more deals pushed through.
[00:23:11].350] – Charlie Matter
I think that’s super well said that like you can see on the board that like we’re not this quarter we’re not performing like we used to. So what we need to do to change is everybody’s aware of nobody’s caught off guard by having to.
[00:23:22].550] – Gene Hammett
I’ll wrap this up with something we kind of started before we cut the camera on today. Today is Friday when we record this in a lot of cultures and businesses take a little bit easier on Friday. You mentioned to me that we have we had the sense enough to like let’s push harder on Friday let’s get some big deals done. And that’s part of the culture that everyone’s taking ownership and everyone wants to keep pushing and probably having that TV scream of metrics helps you do that. Would you agree.
[00:23:51].230] – Charlie Matter
[00:23:51].860] – Blake Harris
Yeah I mean it it’s a like in any business it’s super important to have a competitive advantage. And so we looking for that in any moment you know. And in our industry it is pretty typical you know for Fridays to be a little slower. And so really I mean we see that as an opportunity. We see holidays as an opportunity. And that’s what’s special about it is the culture here makes people feel like they’re not having to work on Fridays. You know that they want to they want to accomplish the goals. It’s not we’re not telling them that they have to but yeah. Fridays.
[00:24:35].110] – Blake Harris
And lucky for Lucky for us like we have had success on Fridays so you know all of it doesn’t fall on deaf ears but we have we’ve had a lot of success on Fridays. And everyone around here knows it. A lot of people hate the thing I save and I say thank God it’s Friday one day closer to Monday.
[00:24:59].920] – Gene Hammett
So let me show you something over here. I’ve got sometimes I hand these out. I know I just went to screen. Can you guys see this.
[00:25:10].610] – Charlie Matter
[00:25:12].610] – Gene Hammett
I’ve got them on coffee mugs I give them. I got them in the back of my computer but I talk about the importance of having a culture where people don’t dread going to work on Monday they actually get energy from it. And I love Mondays because I’m an entrepreneur. It’s a chance for me to move my goals forward. But I want my employees to love Mondays too.
[00:25:32].520] – Blake Harris
[00:25:33].960] – Gene Hammett
So I really appreciate you guys being here sharing your story and journey about Case Energy Partners and the phenomenal growth you guys are just really impeccable. I admire it and the strength you guys have as leaders. Appreciate you sharing that here on the podcast. So thanks for being here.
[00:25:51].500] – Blake Harris and Charlie Matter
Thanks for having me.
[00:25:53].440] – Gene Hammett
Wow what a powerful interview I. I really didn’t expect for us to talk so much about the importance of transparency inside this company and about how ownership is really necessary to get complete buy in with the team. But I’m not surprised because of all the interviews I’ve done and all the conversation I’ve had in clients I’ve worked with those core elements of transparency and ownership are very very important and part of the core principles of growth of a fast growing company. So make sure you download the worksheet of all 12 Principles just go to GeneHammett.com/worksheet and you can download that now would appoint you to a couple episodes that will be exactly pinpoint exactly where you can go into find more depth around those principles.
[00:26:35].800] – Gene Hammett
I’d love to invite you to share this episode with someone that really would appreciate to grow fast if you are getting a lot of value out of this. Make sure you talk about it because I’m not asking to pay anything for this free content but I am asking you to share it with someone that would appreciate it as always lead with courage. I’ll see you next.
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
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