Many will be familiar with Dave Ramsey through his helpful Financial
Peace University (FPU) course or his daily radio program, which can be heard locally on WJBC. Dave is also the author of the best-selling book The Total
Money Makeover. In his new book, he shares what he has done to grow his own
business over the past 20 years. If you are looking for good practical leadership tips you will find this book helpful. If you own your own small business, you will find it even more helpful.
This book was born out of Dave’s need to develop leaders in his growing organization. To teach this material, he asked for volunteers to stay after work. Half of the time spent would paid, and the other half of the time would be on the employee. As time went on, an employee asked if their pastor could sit in. Soon, there were more non-employees than employees in the sessions. These sessions later grew into a three-day seminar in Nashville and eventually evolved into the Master Series that is held a couple of times each year.
Throughout the book Dave quotes leadership authorities such as John Maxwell, Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen Covey, and Jim Collins. The book covers a wide variety of topics, beginning with Dave defining an Entreleader as a combination of “entrepreneur” and a “leader”. He also covers goals, mission statements, decision-making, marketing, hiring, firing, selling, communication with the business, loyalty, inspiring team members, contracts, compensation plans, and finally delegating. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Dave Ramsey book if he
didn’t include his financial advice, tailored for business, but consistent with what he teaches individuals.
I found his 12-step hiring process of interest. He treats his team members (he doesn’t call them employees), as family and makes sure he can trust them through a unique and rigorous hiring process. For example, he requires
potential team members to go over their personal budget as well as provide a personal mission statement. He has them take the DISC personality test and requires an interview with the potential team member’s spouse prior to hiring. Once hired, they begin a 90-day probation period, in which neither the organization nor the team member have any binding responsibility to the other.
He also talks about some of the things that he will fire a team member over. Included is a marital affair. He indicates that if the spouse of a team member can’t trust them, then neither can he. No warnings or second chances are given. The team member must go. On gossiping, he will give a warning, but if the team member continues to gossip, they too will be released.
Throughout the book, Dave brings his characteristic humor to the topic of entreleadership. He mentions several times that he is a Christian and that his leadership principles are based on Scripture. He quotes several short
passages from Scripture, as he does in FPU, often from Proverbs. I found it even more enjoyable to listen to him read the book.
For more information on this topic, subscribe to the seven-part EntreLeadership podcast on iTunes. For more information about Dave, go to http://www.daveramsey.com.
The audio book is read enthusiastically by the author, which adds to the experience. Christians will enjoy that Dave frequently quotes scripture verses in the book, and approaches financial advice from a Christian perspective.
Ramsey begins the book by going over some hurdles that we must overcome in order to be ready to build up our personal finances. Some of these are:
• Denial. The number one reason people refuse to change is because they refuse to accept they are in trouble to start with.
• Debt myths. Some of these are:
Everyone has to have a car payment.
You can’t buy a house without a mortgage.
• Money myths. Some believe that money is the key to solving all of their problems.
• Financial ignorance. Many people do not know what it takes to get ahead financially. Dave states that our public education systems have not done a good job of giving our youth a solid financial education before sending them out into the real world.
• Keeping up with the Joneses. Financial peer pressure is a net worth killer.
Ramsey is a strong proponent of developing a budget, regularly reviewing the budget and sticking to it. This is key to the Total Money Makeover. Another of his philosophies around money has to do with credit cards. He is adamantly opposed to the use of credit cards, advising the reader instead to use debit cards.
He then reviews his seven “Baby Steps”. These are his steps toward financial freedom. By following these steps in order, and not moving on to the next step until the current step is complete, you will gradually progress from debt to wealth. The seven steps are:
Baby Step 1: $1,000 Emergency Fund
Baby Step 2: Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
Baby Step 3: 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
Baby Step 5: College funding for children
Baby Step 6: Pay off your house early
Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give!
Dave’s advice is simple and common sense. As he often says on his radio program, “I give the same advice your grandmother gave you, I just keep my teeth in”. But while simple, his method is not easy. He states that it is not a “get rich quick” scheme. Following Dave’s principles will require hard work and sacrifice, so that if you are willing to “Live like no one else, so later you can live & give like no one else”. The book includes several examples of individuals sharing their financial stories and how following the Total Money Makeover approach has helped them.
You can find out more about Dave at www.daveramsey.com. Dave’s radio program can be heard weeknights locally on WJBC 1230 AM, and you can subscribe to his podcast, which contains one hour of his three hour daily call-in radio program, at iTunes.