Lessons From A Mastermind

Here is a guest post by the fantastically talented Amy Lorton. Amy is a writer and editor at Dave Ramsey’s office. You can guest post as well! Read how to here.

While Chris is gone to the wilds of San Antonio, Texas, at EntreLeadership Master Series, I offered to take a turn as a guest blogger. His schedule is brutal for the next few weeks, so I thought I would lend a hand. That’s part of our culture here. We support each other and are willing to help wherever needed. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons I love my job so much. We are much more than employees, we are like family.

But still … in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit something. I love to write, especially anything fun. So since Chris didn’t give me any parameters, I thought I would definitely take advantage. And because I’m already full of the holiday spirit, even though Thanksgiving is still a couple of weeks away, I decided to focus on one of my favorite movies of all time: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Every year, starting right about now and running through the holidays, Christmas Vacation will be aired on some station. It’s as predictable as the big bearded, red-suited fat guy coming down your chimney on Dec. 24.

What’s the draw of this film? I have a theory. Despite being portrayed as a bumbling oaf, Clark Griswold is simply a genius. And the lessons he teaches, well except for the rabid squirrel, exploding turkey and overloaded septic system, not only apply to our lives, but also our businesses. He’s quite the EntreLeader – a man ahead of his time and hopefully Cousin Eddie. Here’s why:

Never-Say-Die Attitude

Whether trying to find the one bad bulb on 25,000 Christmas lights or bringing home the ultimate Christmas tree, Clark has the stick-to-itiveness that we should all emulate. Or like he says, “Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas.”

When times are tough, do you freak out or try to come up with a solution? What are you doing to make sure your business stays on the forefront of your customers’ minds? Actions always speak louder than problems.

Generous to a Fault

There’s an old saying that to give a man a turkey, you’ve have fed him for today. Teach a man that he won’t get one this holiday season and you’ve made him angry for a lifetime. OK, maybe it’s not quite the original adage, but you get the point. Your team plays a critical role in your success, so be generous. Whether it’s through profit-sharing, holiday gifts or bonuses, or simply giving them an extra day off, you’ll be paid back in loyalty, smiles and your own satisfaction. A spirit of generosity always wins the day. Membership in the jelly-of-the-month club may result in your kidnapping.

A Great Storyteller

Never one to let his feelings be unknown, Clark is an incredible communicator, especially when it comes to telling stories. And you should be, too. As part of creating a culture of communication, you need to let your team members know the story and history of your company. Share with them your struggles and victories. The result will be new respect for the past, plus renewed energy and creativity when they realize they are working on something bigger than them.

So now that you’ve had a chance to bask in the genius that is Clark, there’s not much left to say except one of his favorite lines: “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas.”

Question: What leadership traits do you share with Clark?



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

22 thoughts on “Lessons From A Mastermind”

  1. Clark and I share a common love for Christmas trees that fill a room. I only wish mine contained squirrels. That has nothing to do with leadership, but it’s important to me nonetheless. How I’m not like Clark though is I would not have ever borrowed money to pay for a pool in hopes a bonus check would cover it. Bad Sparky!

  2. Yeah, one light goes out they all go out :).

    Oh man, the rabid squirrel was one of the best movie scenes ever! Now do not forget A Christmas Story and “You’ll shoot your eye out”!

    And Merry… oh wait, you cannot say that anymore… Happy Holidays!

  3. Great post today. I would say that I like to be generous to a fault. I can’t always do something monetarily for people but extra time off here and there pays off in loyalty. We can say that we love people but they won’t know it until we show it.

  4. Wouldn’t both Clark and Eddie be high I’s in the disk profile? Parties waiting to happen?

    Actually the movie is a caricature of too many families as they get together for the holiday. Exaggeration based in reality.

    I did enjoy Amy’s using National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.as a metaphor and her business points are priceless.

    So when is she doing Trains, Planes and Automobiles?

  5. Great post Amy! It makes me have a sense of humor about many things about myself. For instance, every time Clark admires his work, it is infectious. Everyone loves him because he has achieved his happiness. I must say that I strive everyday to appreciate the “beauty” I create around me:) It really does rally the team with smiles on their faces. Thanks for the smile and laugh this morning!

  6. Amy! I feel “Never-Say-Die” attitude plays a significant role in the making of a leader. And, I think it is this trait which distinguishes leaders from followers. I know many of the successful leaders who have the killer instinct and fire in the belly.

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