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Chris LoCurto

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March 24, 2011

Patience Please

March 24, 2011 | By | One Comment">One Comment

Before I came to work at Dave Ramsey‘s, I spent five extremely long years running logistics. It was a job I hated because it wasn’t uncommon for me to get a call at 2 a.m. – on my brick of a company cell phone that nearly melted my ear off – and have to work for a couple of hours.

Side note: If you call me on the phone, I have a tendency to try to hang up quickly. Those years ruined me for talking on the phone, period. Anyway, it was a frustrating time in my life. I volunteered with a youth ministry, which was considerably more exciting, and all of the youth leaders I worked with knew I hated my job. They would tell me to get my resume out there! But at the time, I didn’t feel released by God.

Finally, I felt as though I was supposed to put together my resume. I asked the only person I knew who had a computer at home if she would work on it with me. We spent an hour putting it together. When she hit the print button and it started to print out, I said, “I’m so sorry. I’m not supposed to send that out.” I had no clue why; I just knew I wasn’t released.

Then one day, I had an amazing conversation with one of the gals in the office. She had completely turned her back on God and swore there couldn’t be one. Why? Because her son-in-law killed her grandson a few years earlier. I had no clue. I don’t even remember how it came up, but we grabbed a back office and spent the next two hours discussing God. At the end, we prayed together and she received God back as her Lord.

When I got back to my desk, my phone rang. It was a guy who used to work for me, and he said, “Hey, this company contacted me and they know who you are. They want to hire you for a lot more money. Do you have a resume?” Are you kidding? Did that just happen?

You see, there are a lot of things we do in business because of our experience or because our gut tells us to. But sometimes, you just might find Someone Else is trying to guide and direct you. Yes, it might be vague and confusing, but listen, you just never know what a little patience will do in your life… or someone else’s.

Sometimes the hardest thing is to wait patiently on something or someone. But many times we find that waiting brings the sweetest results. One of my life verses is Psalms 62:5: “My soul, wait silently on God alone, for my expectation is from Him.”

Have you ever been frustrated with a situation that wasn’t moving, only to find it turned out better than you expected later on?

Chris LoCurto

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March 23, 2011

Would You Like To Ask Something?

March 23, 2011 | By | No Comments">No Comments

In EntreLeadership, I teach a section about the need to ask questions. Here’s the thing: Way too often, leaders jump to conclusions. Something goes wrong, or not the way you wanted it to, and the next thing you know, you’re ripping somebody’s head off.

When you’re done, the head that is still on the floor gives you something important – information you didn’t have. Information that now makes you look like an idiot! When you don’t take the time to ask simple questions, you end up cutting off any possibility for discussion. And believe it or not, that’s where the information lives.

You have to slow down for a second and find out what’s really going on. Whether something has gone wrong and you need to know what happened, or someone has come to you with information about another person. This one grates my last nerve, because I see it all the time. Someone has an agenda, and the leader doesn’t take the time to actually talk to the person to find out what’s really going on.

Here are a few things you can do to improve your leadership and not look like an idiot:

  • Gather as much information as you can! Ask as many questions as possible to find out what happened. Nobody loses respect for a leader who does this. If you are digging to solve a problem, your team will think even more highly of you!
  • If you are receiving information from one person about another, call the other person in! There is no reason to make a judgment call on partial information. Besides, you’re only hearing one side of the story. I have watched leaders take information from someone they like about someone they don’t like, only to find out it’s wrong. Talk to all parties involved.
  • Allow those involved to give feedback. Always give them the opportunity to fill in any of the gaps that you might be missing. Ask the questions, “Is there anything I don’t know about?” and “Is there anything you would like to tell me about this?”

As you open up these lines of communication, you’ll find that what seemed like one thing might be totally different. On top of that, your team will see that you care about what’s right, not just lopping off heads.

What are some ways that you’ve seen this happen? What solutions do you have to fix it?

Chris LoCurto

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March 22, 2011

Uhhhh, Tip Please!

March 22, 2011 | By | 3 Comments">3 Comments

A Jimmy Johns in Naperville, Illinois

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I’m a tipper! There’s just no doubt about it. I start everyone out at 20%, and you really have to mess up for me to drop it from there. And even then, I still wonder if you’ve just had a bad day.

Why am I like that? Simple – I’ve served people. In many capacities. But the most eye-opening was when I waited tables to help out a friend. I quickly realized what servers go through and how they are treated. That changed the way I looked at tipping forever.

Why do I bring this up? Well, we stopped off at Jimmy John’s on the way to visit at the hospital last night. As I was in there, I heard one of the delivery kids talking about one of the guys he delivers to often. (Side note: If you’ve read my blog much, you know I don’t think you should discuss negative stuff in front of customers. But he did, and it was funny, so I’m sharing. :-))

He mentioned how the guy never tips. In fact, last night when this customer came to the door, he asked the driver if he had a quarter. When the driver said no, the guy went back inside for what seemed like five minutes. When he returned, he had exact change for the delivery. Not even willing to leave the guy a quarter tip!

The poor delivery guy was just down. Not because he didn’t get a quarter, but because he couldn’t understand what was wrong with that guy. I had grabbed my stuff and was headed out the door at the time. I stopped and said, “People who don’t tip have never served people before.” The four guys in the shop all stopped and looked at me as if I had given them the code to all of life’s secrets.

It’s the truth, though. If you can’t give a delivery driver a quarter, you have no clue what it means to be a delivery driver. Now, are there times when you have such a cruddy server that they don’t deserve a tip? Yes. But that must be the exception. And again, even then it could be that they have had cruddy customers all day until you.

What’s the difference between being a delivery driver and an administrative assistant? Well, one serves people, and the other – ohhhhhh. Yes, you are paying them a salary, so why would you ever tip them? Well, did you ever work in that capacity? If not, try it once and you’ll understand. Now, what am I really saying? I’m saying that every now and then, you should give a $50 handshake. When someone has done a fantastic job, show them.

You would be amazed at how they will respond. There’s something great about someone patting you on the back and telling you that you did a great job. There’s something amazing when they give you money, which to so many is a scorecard, and tell you to go have fun. It changes a person’s motivation. Both the one receiving – and the one giving!

Chris LoCurto

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March 21, 2011

What A Nice Guy!

March 21, 2011 | By | 3 Comments">3 Comments

Today was a rough day for my dog, Griffin. Over the weekend, he somehow scratched the inside of his eyelid. When he woke up this morning, it was all swollen and red and kinda gross.

I took him to the vet we’ve been going to for the past year. Not only did he have to get his eye worked on, but it was time for his shots too. How much does that suck? When he came out, I asked him to sit. He started down, got halfway there and then changed his mind. OUCH! But Grif was a trooper. He handled it like a tough guy, and we were on our way to check out.

As I stood at the counter waiting to pay, an older gentlemen was standing next to me. I noticed one of the gals behind the counter light up when she saw him. It was as if he had just made her day. Now, this wasn’t infatuation. It was genuine care for a person. They talked for a while, and at one point, he looked down and started talking to Griffin.

As he talked, he just seemed like a really nice guy. He asked if he could pet him. That’s a trip – people don’t usually ask, they just take their chances and reach down. “Absolutely!” I said. Even Griffin loved this guy! When he left, the lady looked at me and said, “He’s my daughter’s orthodontist. We love him!”

Wow! This guy is loved by adults, dogs and girls in headgear! All I could think was, “That’s the guy I want to be!” Okay, not an orthodontist, but a guy who, when he walks into a room, people light up because of how nice he is. The kind of guy who makes other people’s day better. I know I felt better when I walked out of that clinic, and I don’t even know the guy.

I wasn’t able to ask Griffin his thoughts, but I’m pretty sure he’s down with the doc. I don’t know what that gentleman’s life is like, but I bet it has a lot to do with God and a general love for people. What other parts there are, I’m not sure. But I know I’m going to try to discover them. That way, hopefully, someday when I leave a room someone will say, “That’s Chris LoCurto. We love him!”

Chris LoCurto

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March 18, 2011

Leadership Spotlight: Blake Thompson

March 18, 2011 | By | 6 Comments">6 Comments

For the next few months, I am going to spotlight a bunch of our leaders here at Dave Ramsey’s office. My first interview is with Blake Thompson, Senior Producer for The Dave Ramsey Show.

Blake manages everything that goes on in the studio and the content that goes out over the air. In other words, he keeps Dave on track!

Broadcasting is in Blake’s blood. After receiving a broadcasting/communications degree from Trevecca Nazarene University, Blake eventually found his way to Dave’s company. Hired in 1996, Blake was the eighth team member Dave brought on board. He has been the producer of the radio show since day one (15 years now).

But working as Dave Ramsey’s senior producer is more than just a job for Blake. He has totally embraced Dave’s financial principles. “I’m debt-free!” Blake says. Besides that, he loves helping others find financial hope through the radio and television shows.

  • Birthplace: Nashville, TN (Raised in Kansas City / Olathe, KS)
  • Family info: Wife – Tanya; Son – Blake Andrew; Daughter – Rylee

CLo: What is your role in leadership?

BT: To “rally the troops” (my team) and provide a sense of direction and purpose. “Direction,” meaning where we want to go, what it takes to get there, and the motivation/encouragement to get there. But none of this will work or last long term without constant reminders of the “purpose” of doing so.

CLo: What is the best advice you’ve ever received about leadership?

BT: “When you wake up…know exactly what you need to accomplish more than anything else that day. Write it down and/or dwell on it. Then do whatever it takes to accomplish it.” – Dave Ramsey. “Always have a goal. Something you are working toward every day. This is the key factor in avoiding laziness.” – Bill Hampton

CLo: What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

BT: Distraction! With emails, text messages, social media messages, etc. bombarding you every second of the day, you have to stay focused on the most important tasks at hand. There is a place for the other, but when it takes over your time and focus, you’re blowing your day and wasting time you will never get back.

CLo: How do you continue to improve yourself as a leader?

BT: By reading and following the examples of those who are winning. By meeting and hanging out with champions whether they’re winning in their careers, in spiritual areas or family life.

CLo: How do you invest in others?

BT: Encouragement. I believe people want more than anything else to be told they did a good job and that their efforts didn’t go unnoticed. As a leader, it’s vital you learn to recognize this and make it a habit – but it has to be sincere.

CLo: What was the last book you read?

BT: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt. I’m currently reading Proverbs each morning. Talk about great leadership principles!