Surprising Advice on Building Your Business
Before becoming a popular broadcast personality and author of three bestselling books on personal finance, Dave Ramsey, author of EntreLeadership, was the founder of a financial advice company started on a card table in his living room. The company was quickly successful, and Ramsey found that he needed to hire more and more employees. He knew that he wanted to hire people who displayed the qualities of a leader, such as visionary, disciplined, passionate, influential, but also humble and a good listener. But he also wanted people who had the qualities of an entrepreneur — risk-taking, courageous, determined, motivated, learners, even mavericks. Out of this dilemma grew the concept of "entreleaders" — people who are, for example, motivated visionaries, disciplined risk takers, courageous while humble or influential learners.
Focus on Fundamentals
Entreleadership, however, is not just about personal character. Far from it. Ramsey has written a wide-ranging book that covers many of the fundamental issues that concern entrepreneurs and leaders. He starts, for example, with a chapter on dreams, visions, mission statements and goals. The next chapter discusses time management, followed by a chapter on decision-making. Other chapters guide readers on launching companies, how to hire and fire, and the keys to great communication. One chapter even offers detailed advice on dealing with contracts, vendors and collections. In each chapter, Ramsey focuses on practical real-world solutions backed by scores of examples, many drawn from his own experience as a leader and entrepreneur.
In one chapter, for example, Ramsey presents 12 components to a good hire. One suggestion is using testing tools that can show whether the candidate will be a good fit for the position. Ramsey uses the DiSC personality test, which measures dominance (indicating a task-oriented driven person), influencer, steady and compliant (referring to analytical and detailed people). None of the personality types are inherently wrong — it depends on the position, the team and the leaders with whom the person will be working. "If you are hiring a sweet young lady who is a high S and doesn’t like conflict to work directly for a gruff old D who is blunt and task oriented, she is going to cry every day," Ramsey writes.
Another key is more unexpected: Get a personal budget from the candidate to confirm that they can afford the job’s compensation. Ramsey hired a woman from his church that he knew as a kind person. At work, however, "she became the meanest woman I have ever seen," he writes. The reason, Ramsey discovered, was that she was making $14,000 less than she needed to pay her bills. Since then, Ramsey writes, he has never hired a team member without, in his terminology, getting his or her budget first.
Also unexpected is the eleventh of Ramsey’s 12 hiring components: the spousal interview. One benefit of meeting the spouse of the potential hire, he writes, is that a candidate’s spouse often offers a candid assessment of whether the position is right for the candidate. One spouse, for example, told Ramsey that his staff’s overt religious beliefs would make her husband a bad fit for Ramsey’s company. The husband was not hired.
A Measure of Faith
Ramsey is indeed a deeply religious man, and his book is infused with references to his Christianity. At the beginning of the book, he writes that the principles of the Scripture, "woven into the coming pages, are the reason we win." He offers the following formula for creating momentum in life and business: Fi (Focused Intensity) divided by T (Time) times G (God) equals M (Momentum). The No. 1 key to a good hire is prayer, he states.
Readers are told that "even if you aren’t a person of faith, you have to believe in hard work." Ramsey makes an effort not to be exclusive — relating, for example, how an atheist friend of Ramsey’s argued that since there is no God, and anything times 0 equals 0, his momentum equation equaled 0. Nevertheless, religion is deeply ingrained in Ramsey’s character and personality, and throughout his book. The practical advice and the depth of Ramsey’s experience, however, make EntreLeadership valid and valuable for people of any faith — or non-faith.
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