It was my 15th year of being in business: our growth was steady, our gross sales were up slightly, our customer satisfaction was very good, and our product was of high quality. I had no idea where to turn. Looking back at that statement, it almost makes no sense. If everything seemed to be going fine, and the bills were getting paid, why would knowing where to turn be an issue? Well, it’s because I was stressed out and overworked. I knew deep in my gut that I was in way over my head and could drown at any minute. But something told me that it didn’t have to be this way.
My wife and I are against debt, and we would watch the Dave Ramsey Show on the Fox Business Channel. Many times I had said to her how I wished that Dave taught a course on business. Then one night, there was an advertisement telling of the EntreLeadership Master Series. Wow, that was exactly what I was looking for: Dave teaching entrepreneurial leaders how to run a business God’s way. I was in!
I signed up and went, expecting another “business conference” where a person sits through a long, drawn-out class full of different speakers giving their opinions on how a business should be run. But my expectations were way too low. Dave taught this course himself, and it was obvious that the information being given was not just a presentation to sell. Instead, it was a mirror image of Dave’s playbook that he had put together through the years: lessons learned from his bloody noses, and his victories. This stuff was real and, better yet, I could experience the first-hand application of it through his team. On one hand, I was extremely impressed. On the other, I was depressed and disappointed in myself that he had been able to do such an awesome job running his company while I had done such a relatively poor job running mine. Things were going to change, and I now had the tools to make that change.
Although I learned an invaluable amount of business how-to’s, I truly believe that the greatest impact I received was from the way I was treated by Dave’s team. I was served extremely well, but I didn’t feel as much like a customer but, rather, a friend. My biggest lesson came when I realized the reason Dave’s team made me feel like a part of the family. It was because that was the culture he had created within his organization. It is obvious that he serves his people, looks out for them, encourages them, and gives them something great: a model of servant leadership.
That is where it began. I knew that if this organization was to be all that it could be, and if it was going to fulfill the purpose that God has placed it here for, then I was going to have to make a change and that change would have to begin with me. And so the long journey began.
Since the first EntreLeadership Master Series I attended in 2009, this place has been undergoing a complete transformation. Although we have made some huge strides, we have not even scraped the surface on making this place what it is going to be one day. However, I do have a plan.
First, I have had to realize who I am and how my leadership, or the lack of it, affects each person here. I must learn to lead. Next, I have had to redefine my relationship with my team, understanding that we all have a purpose for working here. The least of which is the paycheck, but I also must reward them appropriately for their contribution. The list goes on and on, and it’s a process I embrace.
Have you realized your leadership role? Who have you chosen as a mentor or to be your “wise counsel”?