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Chris LoCurto

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March 28, 2011

You In Or You Out?

March 28, 2011 | By | 2 Comments">2 Comments

Josh Levitt left a comment on “How To Get An Interview” that lead me to write this post.


I do a lot of speaking to around the country on both our financial message and our business message. When speaking on the financial message, many times I will get someone who comes up to me to tell me that they can’t get their pastor involved.

They say that they’ve tried everything they could think of but the pastor just won’t budge. It’s not because they’re against it, they just don’t think they need to be a part of it. They have people running it and it’s not necessary for them to get involved. Or, they feel they’re just too busy.

When they ask what should they do, I always answer the same way. In Josh’s comment, he had the same great idea:

“…I used a similar approach to help get some leaders at our church “on board” with Financial Peace University. It’s been a little bit of a struggle to get leadership support. Even though we’ve had FPU for about two years now, there is little promotion allowed and never any mention from stage on Sunday. The church is somewhat typical in the fact that we don’t like to talk about money often.

My wife and I decided to give our leadership team and their spouse tickets to the Live Event a few weeks ago (KC). It got their attention. They loved the event, and I anticipate that it will lead to more support of FPU.”

If a Live Event isn’t a possibility, I tell them to get into a FPU class. Either way, as you can see with Josh’s comment, they will be on fire for helping their people get the help they need. The problem is, you gotta get them there. Leadership MUST be involved! It’s the same with any initiative that you are trying to accomplish where  you are. If leadership isn’t behind it completely, it will fail.

Why? There’s a certain amount of energy that leaders bring that the team feeds off of. When it’s there, things just get done! People get involved! A pastor in Florida had 400 families signed up for FPU. He got up that Sunday and announced he and his wife would be taking the class, 1000 people signed up that day!

When a team is trying to complete a project, but there’s no energy from leadership, it falls to the wayside. Why? Because it appears that nobody really cares if it happens or not. And the worst stance a leader can take is the, “I’m delegating that, so I’m going to leave them alone to accomplish it.” Seriously?! That’s your plan? It will fail. You have to at least inspect what you expect. And if you’re not there to make sure that person is being successful, then you can’t be surprised when they’re not.

As a leader, realize that your team operates off of your energy. Get in there and make it happen! Ask what they need from you. Ask if they have all the information they need. And ask if there’s anything you can do to make them successful.

Chris LoCurto

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March 25, 2011

Leadership Spotlight: Jack Galloway

March 25, 2011 | By | 7 Comments">7 Comments

The Leadership Spotlight continues this week with Jack Galloway. Jack started the Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) program for Dave 10 years ago.

He still leads the program today, orchestrating the department’s activities to support goals Dave and his leadership team have established. Jack also manages the 28 team members who operate the ELP program day-in and day-out to give Dave’s fans and the ELPs a great experience. His team refers approximately 20,000 Dave Ramsey fans to ELPs each month.

CLo: What is your role in leadership?

JG: VP of Strategic Alliances.  I spend my time coordinating what our 30-person team is doing with what the company as a whole is doing.

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

JG: John Maxwell said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Now more than ever, I am working on people skills and communication skills. Everything rises and falls on your ability to communicate effectively with people. Specifically, this includes being a really, really, really good listener, being able to read nonverbal cues, casting a vision, resolving conflicts in person, knowing what’s going on in people’s lives, knowing people’s strengths and weaknesses, and being smart enough to see communication problems before they happen.

CLo: What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

JG: Poor communication skills. The things I mentioned above are very difficult to teach. People seem to either have those abilities or they don’t. Few things can frustrate a leader as much as knowing how to grow a business but not being able to create a winning team attitude.

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

JG: By realizing how much I still have to learn. A leader who doesn’t see the importance of improving is a leader on his way out.

CLo: How do you invest in others?

JG: By spending time with them in person. Time spent creates trust, familiarity and consistency.

CLo: What was the last book you read?

JG: Barbarians To Bureaucrats: Corporate Life Cycle Strategies.

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

Image via Wikipedia

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!