Dave Ramsey is a Rockstar
We arrived early to Music Hall Fair Park in Dallas and people were lined up at the door to see Dave Ramsey. Hundreds of people were there at 7:30 a.m. and the doors wouldn’t even open until 8:00 a.m. When we finally got inside the energy was electric. Everyone seemed to be buzzing with anticipation. We grabbed our swag bags and checked out the vendor booths and then made our way inside to find good seats. Loud music was playing and it felt like we were at concert, not a conference. Then the countdown ended, a highlight reel started playing and when Dave Ramsey came out the lights went wild and he was fist-pumping and jumping on stage like a rockstar. All he needed was a full band and pyrotechnics and I would have thought he was going to break into song!
We were really happy when Dave Ramsey came out at the beginning of the event. Since there was a concert atmosphere I was afraid that there were going to be a few opening acts before we got to see Dave, but he came out first and did not disappoint. Below is a recap of our favorite points from the event.
1. Don’t Be a Boss. Be an Entreleader.
So what is an Entreleader? An Entreleader…
- Leads with the power of persuasion
- Knows that people matter most
- Avoids debt at all costs
- Carefully plans their day
- Takes their time when hiring
- Knows a higher calling matters
It is amazing how when you go to one of these, the concepts aren’t things that we don’t already know on some level. However, Dave Ramsey has a way of putting structure, context and validity to some ideas that aren’t just things he thinks are true, but things that he has proven to be true. And best of all, Dave shared not only his personal successes, but some of his failures as well.
As we started the conference Dave defined a leader as a person who rules, guides or leads other, an entrepreneur is a person who operates and assumes risk for a venture and a ENTRELEADERSHIP is the process of leading to cause a venture to grow and prosper.
Organizations are never limited by their opportunity they are limited by their leader.
2. People are Essential
This seems very obvious, of course people are essential, but sometimes as business leaders we can forget that people have lives, needs, dreams, and their own problems that come up. Are we in a place as leaders that we can be sensitive to other’s needs and even help them in times of crisis? Dave Ramsey and his organization gave one of their employees six months off, with pay, while she dealt with her daughter’s cancer. The entire organization rallied around the family with prayer and support – and the daughter pulled through. That was 15 years ago and that little 3-year old girl is 18 and is a loyal fan of Dave Ramsey. Imagine what kind of loyalty we could instill in our employees if we treated them the way we wanted to be treated during a crisis – like family. What surprised me from this story? People were tearing up around me. It was inspirational to think of that kind of support from an employer and the type of loyalty that would thrive in that environment.
Surprise Number Two
Competitors are people, don’t destroy them to win.
Healthy competition is good for businesses, but we don’t have to be ugly or run down another business in order to win – even if what we are saying about others is true. We shouldn’t need to stoop to low levels to succeed. This was another one of those things that you know in personal life, “Do unto others” and all of that, but in business it can be easy to point out a competition’s inadequacy instead of just staying the course and focusing on your own competency. This was a good reminder to always take the high road.
3. Building Unity
Great organizations create unity intentionally.
There are five main enemies of unity:
- Poor Communication
- Unresolved Disagreements
- Lack of shared purpose
- Sanctioned Incompetence
Dave Ramsey pulled out his bible and read the verse from Genesis 11:5,6: “But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” He used this verse to show the power of a united people. I was surprised yet again that Dave was able to so easily insert scripture and truth into his talk without it being forced or contrived. Plus, it was the perfect use of that scripture.
Of the five enemies of unity, the last one resonated with me the most. I have been part of organizations, small group studies, recovery ministries – where people in leadership have been incompetent or even immoral and it was allowed to continue. Sometimes as leaders we think that people will change if we give them enough time, all the while we are causing the other members of our team to suffer.
Christy was probably the biggest surprise of the day. I’d never heard of her, but I was impressed by her. Christy was beautiful, smart and a great speaker. Plus, she had this way of speaking that made her very relatable. I liked her and as she progressed through her talk she just kept getting better and I felt guilty for being so quick to judge.
Her main points:
- Creating balance in your life comes down to what you spend your time on.
- Your time is finite. You will always have to make choices.
- Stress and Anxiety are caused when there’s a disconnect between your values and your behavior.
Stop Doing What Doesn’t Matter!
Yes! Why is it that I keep saying yes to be part of another bible study, networking meeting, social event – even when I am already maxed out with all of those things? Christy recommends:
- Scheduling On/Off times for after work hours
- Never allow information into your mind when you don’t want to give if your time and attention.
That second point I have to give a hearty “AMEN!” Christy told her own personal story of how a date with her husband was ruined when she checked her email while she was in the bathroom. She said the problem was at her work and it was with something she had really dropped the ball on. Checking her email ruined not only her date and time with her husband, but it ruined her whole weekend. How many times has this happened to me. I have been about to go out to do something and I checked my email and found that a client was upset about something and it caused anxiety and ruined my plans. While there are times that we have to be on-call, there are definitely times when we don’t and allowing information in that could spoil our evening or event isn’t a wise use of time.
5. Protect What Matters
- Boundaries are about self-respect
- You don’t just have the right to say no, you have the responsibility to say no.
- If you don’t protect what matters to you, no one else will.
- Life balance isn’t about doing everything for an equal amount of time. It’s about doing the right things at the right time.
- Leadership isn’t a position, it’s a lifestyle.
It is hard to set healthy boundaries. In American culture we can feel a lot of guilt when people ask us to do something. We feel obligated to do it if we have the ability. Saying “no” seems selfish. However, saying “no” is often the better choice for everyone involved. Saying yes and then only being partially present at an event or in a position of leadership isn’t good for anyone. And this is a side note, not from Christy, but in my personal experience, the more you say “Yes” to something, the more people will ask – and expect you to say yes.
6. Chris Hogan – Financial Principles are Essential
Chris Hogan, what can I say, he was awesome. A former football player he now speaks on finances. From his page on the Dave Ramsey website, “Today, he [Chris Hogan] helps spread Dave’s message of financial hope to audiences everywhere. An engaging and humorous speaker, Chris is an expert on subjects like mortgages, healthcare and investing”
- Live below your means
- Debt is not your friend
- Debt drastically increases risks and magnifies mistakes
- You need to build an emergency fund for your business
- Saving in business is called retained earnings
- Don’t count on the sale of your business to fund your retirement
- Retirement is not the finish line
- If you do it right, when you retire you will have two things you have never had before: time and money.
Dave Ramsey – Higher Calling is Essential
12 to 17 Interviews Per Person (biggest surprise of the day)
The biggest surprise to me of the entire day was Dave Ramsey’s approach to hiring. He interviews each candidate 12-17 times and requires them to provide a personal budget. He says “if your budget is for 100,000 a year and the job only pays 45,000 a year then I can’t hire you for that job and expect to keep you happy.”
Here are Dave’s 12 Steps to a Proper Hire:
- Advertise and Get Referrals
- Thirty-minute interview
- Resume and References
- Personality Test
- Do you like them?
- Do they light up when they talk about the position
- Personal budget and personal mission statement
- Compensation calculations, benefits, and policy review
- Key Results Areas (KRA)
- Spousal Interview
- Ninety day probation for the company and the person
There are three reasons why team members fail:
- Leadership Failure
- Personal Problems
Great organizations are fanatically intentional about communication, recognition, hiring, compensation and delegation.
Dave’s closing comments were that having a “higher calling is essential” and that team members who know the why of your business turn into crusaders fighting for the cause.
There was so much good information in this one-day conference that I highly recommend it to any entrepreneur or manager. It is actually something everyone should take no matter what their role is in life to better understand the importance of finding the right job, avoiding debt, and creating a personal budget as well as planning for retirement.