Interview with Dave Ramsey’s Personal Assistant
Patti Harris is in league of her own. Not only is she an outrageously talented team member, she’s also one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. And make no mistake, she has been keeping Dave Ramsey in line for many years now.
The day Patti came on board is the day life got a little easier at our office. She instantly put things in place that brought a better order to our way of doing things. She put more structure into how leadership interacted with Dave, which in turn affected how we interacted with each other.
So much so, that Patti has also mentored other assistants around the building on how to keep their leaders on track. She has been a blessing to our whole company.
CLo: How would you describe working with Dave?
PH: My leader knows me very well. He knows when I am having a good day, a bad day, what I like to do, what I don’t like to do, what I’m good at, and what I’m not so good at. That comes from working together for eight years. He gives me a lot of praise when I do something good and a lot of mercy when I mess something up.
He has off-the-chart integrity so I never have to wonder where he’s coming from or what he really wants. There is no hidden agenda. No dishonesty. No lack of trust. I have the best job in the world.
CLo: Whenever you attend an EntreLeadership event, attendees are always tracking you down to get some much-needed advice. What do you get asked the most?
PH: “I think I need an assistant. Where do I find one? What do I look for? What is your DISC profile?” I ask them what they want an assistant to do. Most of them don’t know. They think they should get one because Dave has one, and they heard him talk about me. Their biggest misconception is that they think one size fits all, or that anyone can be an assistant.
There’s a difference between an Administrative Assistant and a Personal Assistant. An Administrative Assistant is someone who acts as a gate-keeper with the phones, emails and team members. They also handle scheduling calendars, getting information to the team, etc.
A Personal Assistant does all of that and then takes care of all the “personal” stuff that keeps that leader from focusing on leading, like running errands, getting lunch, scheduling vacations and even taking care of things at the house. Either way, you need to hire for the needs that you have, so when those needs are taken care of, you can focus more on growing the business. If you hire a Personal Assistant just because it sounds fun, you’re wasting resources.
CLo: What other questions are most asked?
PH: “Dave said that you keep his calendar. What else do you do?” I ask them if they’ve seen his calendar. There is an immense amount of energy that goes into keeping the schedule of a CEO. Imagine what that’s like when the CEO is also a celebrity. It’s pretty crazy. There’s the three-hour block for the radio show that can’t be touched unless it’s an absolute emergency.
Then, the schedule is full months in advance so you have to weigh every new potential appointment against the importance of what’s on the schedule. And EVERYTHING on the schedule is important. From time to time you just have to tell people, “No, you need to get with your EVP on this.”
Sometimes it’s hard to put into words the line on my job description that says “Whatever I can do for Dave to make his life easier. :-)”
Question: Have you seen how a high quality assistant can make a difference?