First, a story. About 20 years ago a guy named Dave Ramsey, who had built himself a real estate empire, had his world crash in around him when the bank called all his loans at the same time. Several of his properties were foreclosed on, he was sued multiple times, and he came to the brink of losing his marriage because of the stress. That "reset" to Ground Zero started him on the road to rethinking and rebuilding his life according to God's principles. Ever since then he's been building a world-class company that teaches people how to handle money and avoid making the same mistakes he did.
My wife and I took Dave's course, Financial Peace University, through our church in the Spring of 2011. A little later that year Dave came out with a different kind of book, EntreLeadership. It doesn't deal w/ personal finances but rather the practical wisdom gleaned from over 20 years in the trenches...building that business. The lessons I've taken away from that book, as well as from the fantastic guests they've had on their related podcast, exposed me to new ideas and new ways of thinking that are ultimately to blame for this website! ;-P
But why the name EntreLeadership, you ask? Well as Dave's company grew, he knew he could only keep it true to his original vision if he hired people with similar qualities as him. But what did that mean? Did he want a company full of entrepreneurial "Mini Me's" running around?
Think of great entrepreneurs. They are:
- Risk takers
Dave quickly realized "That would be like herding cats....or nailing JELL-O to a tree!" That wouldn't work. What about leadership?
Now think of inspiring leaders. They are:
- Full of Integrity
Those are good qualities, too, but pure leadership theory seemed too dry and theoretical for Dave. So he did what any good entrepreneur would do when they don't find the answer they're looking for.....he made up his own word!
The term EntreLeadership combines the two meanings from Webster's Dictionary
- Leader: someone who rules, guides & inspires others.
- Entrepreneur: someone who organizes, operates, and assumes risk for a venture.
So for Dave's purposes, EntreLeadership is the process of leading to cause a venture to grow and prosper.
EntreLeaders are unique because they possess the following qualities
- Leaders who serve passionately
- Mavericks with integrity
- Disciplined risk-takers
- Courageous while humble
- Motivated visionaries
- Driven while loyal
- Influential learners
Now what makes this concept so intriguing to me, and why I think you'll like it, is because of the specific ways Dave implements it. Here are some examples of the "outside-the-box" practices that have led to their world-class success:
- Ask Your Spouse: Think your wife doesn't have anything to contribute to your business just because she might be a stay-at-home Mom? Think again. It's cost Dave at least $10,000 every time he's has gone against the counsel of his wife on big decisions.
- Qualifying Prospects: A prospect must have the money, time, desire, and power to make the purchase. This is the most commonly-overlook step in the sales process and makes you seem pushy.
- Adding & Subtracting: Hire slow, fire fast. Dave's 12-step (you heard that right) hiring process takes 6-15 interviews and 90 days from initial contact to hire. Don't have time for all that? Try interviewing, onboarding, training and then firing multiple newcomers until you get the right fit for your company! As a result their turnover rate is only 4% and their acceptance rate is 1/2% (Harvard's is 7%)!
- Culture is Core
- Bureaucrats manage w/ processes, EntreLeaders manage w/ principles. And principles are caught, not taught. Culture has to deliver guiding principles to people.
- Culture manages the outcome and saves you from having to micro-manage. It's self-policing, self-regulating, self-perpetuating.
EntreLeadership is a concept we can all adopt in our workplace, no matter what our position may be or who (if anyone) reports to us. Are you there already? Great! Just look behind you now and again to make sure people are still following your lead.
Question: What EntreLeaders inspire you, and what qualities in them do you admire most? Let me know what you think by scrolling down.