Attending Dave Ramsey’s Entreleadership Event

This past spring I had the great fortune to attend the EntreLeadership one-day event with Dave Ramsey at the Cox Convention Center. This is different from his Total Money Makeover events. Seeing him speak in person was awesome! He is an amazing speaker who uses humor, humility, and his experiences to explain his company’s philosophy on creating a productive, successful workplace environment. He’s passing on lessons learned from growing his Nashville-based business from the bottom up. It was not an aha-moment for me, which has become so cliché. It was more like I stepped outside of my body and saw some things I’ve done in my career life.

The bottom line is something I’ve known for a while now and that’s how people are treated. From staff, clients, vendors – even competitors. I really feel like a lot of companies have forgotten this and it’s become an epidemic. You treat employees great, you’ll have happy customers. Respect vendors and competitors falls under “what goes around-comes around..”

Here are my notes but really, if you get an opportunity to go, do it. There is a book out but seeing him tell it in person is mind opening. I also really enjoyed John Acuff, author of the book Quitter, which is exactly what I’ve done as well a growing list of others. Chris Hogan was also great to see in person. What a voice!

Me, Dave Ramsey and Colin with Little Caesars Pizza corporate office

Me, Dave Ramsey and Colin with Little Caesars Pizza corporate office

Definitions in a workplace environment: 

  • The “Leader” is a person who rules, guides or inspires others.
  • Entrepreneur:  A person who organizes, operates and assumes risk for a venture.
  • Entreleadership:  The process of leading to cause a venture to grow and prosper.

The Playbook for success:

  • A championship team is no accident.

PEOPLE Matter: (I capitalized People – this is huge to me!) 

  • Customers are people; don’t treat them like revenue units.
  • Vendors are people; treat them like family.
  • Team members are people, not units of production.
  • Competitors are people; don’t destroy them to win.

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Rabbi Daniel Lapin says: God Is inordinately pleased when we are obsessively, compulsively preoccupied with the needs of others.If you help enough people, you don’t have to worry about money.

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Team and a Culture of Excellence Matters

Great organizations have unity intentionally.

5 main enemies of unity:

  • Poor communication
  • Gossip
  • Unresolved disagreements
  • Lack of shared purpose
  • Sanctioned incompetence

Here are other tips:

  • Proper hiring – take at least 5 interviews to hire the right person.
  • Why team members fail: Leadership failure; Personal problems ; Incompetence
  • Slow & steady matters – be the tortus.
  • The most successful owners continue to read, learn and personally grow.
  • Debt drastically increases risks and magnifies mistakes.
  • It’s not the money; it’s the work that matters.
  • You can win at business without losing your soul.

Big special thanks for my wonderful client Little Caesars Pizza and my good friend Peggy Davidson for offering me a seat in their section.

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This hopeless radio industry romantic gets slapped every now and then

I spent the mid-80s to early 1990s in Oklahoma City radio. Gawd I loved it. I had so much fun. I just yearned to work in the business. I was a receptionist at a print company, which led me to a job at an ad agency, which led me to a job in radio. I saw some amazing things. I learned and lived some really great music. I met a few stars from Def Leppard to the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island, who was in town for a boat show. He was so aged and almost choked to death on some food before his radio interview. And yes, he was wearing his signature blue shirt, white pants and skipper’s hat. And I will always love Elvis… always. This could be a whole other blog on its own. It was good times but there were also mean, back stabbing, heart breaking bad times. I choose to think of the good until something cruel pops up in the news. I do try to see both sides – as a business owner in a tough industry and for those survivors of it who think they couldn’t ever do anything else but radio until they are forced to.

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I was laid off in 1993 for the third time because there was yet another merger and takeover. I just said ‘that’s it, I’m out!’ Plus I just had no other options at other radio stations. I pulled together a resume and realized the skills I had were pretty good on paper. That perhaps this was my answer to not having a college degree on my resume. I also invested in a women’s 3-piece navy business suit that I would wear out and about. Today it would suffocate me. The next thing I know I’m hired to do corporate communications for an engineering and architecture firm. Those sweet, kind, very intelligent architects and engineers took me off the streets of unemployment and gambled on hiring me. Of course I had to change my entire wardrobe and tone down my, well … tone. I did not do well in an open office atmosphere that was for sure. I’ve got great projection that can annoy the silent types.

There was great excitement and yet apprehension when a local radio/media family bought a very successful radio group from out-of-state owners. I’m not going to name companies but many will know who I am talking about. Plus I don’t want it to seem like I’m trashing them. I understand there’s a bottom line with all businesses. I admire this family a lot.

There was joy at the announcement. The dad of the family was THE 1970s to 1980s radio media guru. Country radio ruled and they owned one of the greatest country stations Oklahoma City ever had.  He was a creative genius who was always right on. Everyone loved him dearly. He had a great family he raised well and in the business. The 80s were opulent and lavish. Fabulous parties were thrown every time an Arbitron book came out. The country station had an annual party and everyone was invited, including competitors. He was, and I’m going to say, still is (even though I haven’t seen him in years) admired by many. If I’m not mistaken, the 1980s oil bust possibly really hurt the revenue of the radio station. They too had their hard time. They kept diversified with evolving their sign company, tapped into the growing Hispanic market, became developers and so on. There should really be a book written on this family. It’s a great story.

Flash forward to this purchase – some thought maybe the local ownership would … well I don’t know what everyone thought but you always want to support local ownership, especially for radio. It’s just unheard of. So there was a thought that it would go back to a little bit of what it was like when there was local ownership but times are really different for radio with everything internet. Oh yeah, that’s right – they didn’t have all that back then. So yes, the ugly dark, mean side of radio reared its head.

The great thing about Facebook is I’ve found almost all my ole’ radio friends. I knew the day the hammer came down. The story of how it happened was upsetting. It was the last day of ownership for the former owner. They called in eleven people to a conference room and bang bang bang. It was a blood bath firing line, to be dramatic. Three people I know dearly were informed they were getting let go in front of the others. The others that survived had to be sick to their stomach for their colleagues but also that they came so close to being let go too. Why couldn’t they give respect to them and tell them privately? Two of them worked there for 20+ years.

With my new freelance gig I had grand romantic thoughts that I would like to have a small part-time job in radio either selling time or managing social media but then I get this reminder.

Now that the damage has been done to these three people I want to remain upbeat and positive for both sides. Yes – both. I may sound a little wise but I’ve been there. They will go on a spiritual journey, trying to find meanings to things … as small as watching ice skaters and not having to promote being there. And they don’t have to talk if they don’t want to. Think about it – you go on the air for 3-4 hours daily and more for so many years … they should become monk-like and not speak for a day or something silly. They’ll come out on the other side smelling like roses. Doesn’t America love a great comeback story? I do!

To the radio owners I wish them success because I love this business dearly. I hope they can evolve successfully with the changes they’re thrown every day. I’d really like them to offer more local business programming on their AM side at least and get rid of the mean talk radio shows that have just become insane. We need more positive local programming on radio that can advise on improving our lives. The Dave Ramsey show gives great financial advice, unlike a Rush Limbaugh show on a competitor of theirs. I think it would be successful if marketed and packaged properly- but then again, I don’t own a radio station but … if I were to win this $400+ million I would definitely buy a radio station and do whatever I want with it… Leslie’s OKC FM, get inspired! … Stay tuned ..

The first 90 days

Last March I attended the Women Entrepreneurs Inspire Conference. I went to a breakout session by Adrienne Kallweit, Founder, Seeking Sitters, called Getting Organized: the First Ninety Days of A New Business. I could tell Adrienne was a type A personality, a perfectionist! She was inspiring and so I kept track of the first 30 days in May, then in June for the first 60 days and last week – July, my first 90 days. Wow! Where did the time go?? I’m having a great time… is that bad?

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Only work for someone you really believe in. It makes it such a joy and time goes so fast and your client can tell you love them.
  • I still haven’t figured out if I need an office yet. It just seems like another place to have to go to.
  • Webinars are awesome! I learn so much, especially about social media. Just get a headset and tell your boyfriend to shush for an hour.
  • I’ve decided that what I really love doing is social media, email newsletters and content management for websites.
  • Take a shower always! It just helps keep you refreshed and especially during the 100 degree heat! Yes, that’s under the Duh list.
  • Lunches are the best for business deals. Oklahoma City has a wide array of lunches from downtown to north Oklahoma City! I’ve had some great lunches with people who are going through a very creative time in their lives – always inspiring!
  • I love waking up naturally with the birds. Like when you first see Snow White in the animated film. I’m putting that under the “anti-aging” column.
  • When driving in the afternoon, I love listening to Dave Ramsey on KOKC. Too bad there can’t be a talk radio station with all self improvement radio shows instead of the hate spewed on others. It will improve the lives of people living in OKC.
  • My dogs sure sleep a lot. I do love playing with them every day for a break. My Pomeranian Josey’s snore will be recorded for all to hear.
  • My cat has seasonal daytime nap places. I have no idea where she is daily.
  • I’ve made friends with a wild feral cat. “Freddie” won’t let me go near him but he appreciates the food handout. Then he goes off to his nap place.
  • I take longer to get ready and I love it.
  • I am going to go ahead and register as an LLC. I’ve been thinking of this new gig as a lot of part time jobs but I think it would be best for taxes, etc. to have an LLC.
  • My dreams on very creative, insane and just wow!
  • As 80s band The Fixx sang: One thing leads to another! Just when I wonder about work then I get a call. Just got to keep it going! Thanks to those for thinking of me!

What is up with America’s employers?

Since I announced my resignation from my 12 year job a month ago, I’ve had a lot of people contact me. Some for my job, some to talk future business, others to complain about their employer. What is going on with America’s employers? Or is it just in Oklahoma City? A disease? A sickness?

Long-dedicated, talented employees are treated like shit (sorry), stretched thin;  have unproductive meetings; are asked for research that’s never used; start tracking every minute of their time; and the list goes on. Insert ________________ here – please!

It’s like they’ve forgotten the golden rule: If you treat your employees great first it will trickle down to the customer. Doesn’t anyone know that? Google it! While you’re on Google, see if you can Google how Google treats their employees. My boyfriend’s daughter works there now in San Francisco and claims she could never work for anyone else. Each employee is treated with respect, excellent benefits – they count. Each voice there counts. This should be the new standard among employers everywhere. Have you seen Google’s stock performance? Not too shabby now is it?

Then USA Today came out with this article this week: “Shove It indicator: More People Quit then Get Fired.” Wow! What a revolution. Maybe it’s not just in Oklahoma City. Quitting before getting fired? That’s right – somewhere the employer became empowered in 2008 or 2009 when the jobless rate was so high. The worst feeling in the world is thinking that you’re going to get fired. Don’t wish it on someone and if you have that feeling – get out of there.

I went into a spiral in 2009. Just knew I was going to lose my job. In my mind I was on unemployment, losing my home, worried about feeding my pets … it’s a horrible way to live. Just horrible. I had to seek therapy and get on Lexapro, which helped so much. I’m very open about it. My mom was a single mom raising me in a high stress area like Washington, D.C. She could have used it.

I digress.

Thanks USA Today!

From the USA Today article:

Fifty-one percent of all job separations were due to workers quitting, up from 49.8% of so-called separations in February, according to the government’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. This is the first time quitters (presumably confident they will find another job) were in the majority since September 2008.

Horrible employers (and you know who you are), get ready for a revolution! This is your future talking to you. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE DOING!

Speaking of revolution, let’s all maybe even start our own company…or maybe not.

Exhibitions I loved working on at OKCMOA!

I reviewed the close to 100 exhibitions that I did the public relations and marketing for in addition to the graphic design. Here is my list of the most memorable exhibits.

  • Dale Chihuly: An Inaugural Exhibition (2002)
  • Empire of the Sultans: Ottoman Art from the Kahlili Collection (2003)
  • George Washington: A National Treasure (2004)
  • Millet to Matisse: Nineteenth-and Twentieth-Century French Painting from Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow (2004)
  • Margaret Bourke-White: The Photography of Design, 1927-1936 (2005)
  • Mexican Masters: Rivera, Orozco, &  Siqueiros, Selections from the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil (2006)
  • Temples and Tombs: Treasures of Egyptian Art from The British Museum (2006)
  • NAPOLÉON An Intimate Portrait (2007)
  • The Baroque World of Fernando Botero (2007)
  • Paris 1900 (2008)
  • Roman Art from the Louvre (2008)
  • Harlem Renaissance (2009)
  • Turner to Cézanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection, National Museum Wales (2009)
  • Jason Peters | ANTI.GRAVITY.MATERIAL.LIGHT (2010)
  • Sketch to Screen: The Art of Hollywood Costume Design (2010)
  • George Nelson: Architect, Writer, Designer, Teacher (2011)
  • 1934: A New Deal for Artists (2011)
  • ILLUMINATIONS: Rediscovering the Art of Dale Chihuly (2012)