Ramon and Alex Judd talked about work, but more so their conversation focused on how to work, how to lead, and how to stay focused. Alex Judd is a business and leadership coach at Ramsey Solutions, (started by Dave Ramsey). The team at Ramsey Solutions helps people take control of their lives and finances to get out of debt through different programs, events, and classes.
Alex talked about how he learned many work skills in college, but not in his college classes — rather, through the many internships that taught him what he likes and doesn’t like. Basically, trial and error but in real life. He realized that while growing up and into his adult life, he was expected to lead and show leadership skills, but was never given the tools to do it properly. He started listening to the EntreLeadership Podcast and after becoming an avid listener, decided he wanted to work there.
EntreLeadership is many things: A book, podcast, event, program — but it started as a little living room business by Dave Ramsey. As Alex said, “...the world has problems, so the world needs businesses to solve them,” and that was one of the motivators to keep growing Dave’s original idea. Dave realized he couldn't mentor and work with everyone on his team as the company grew, so he started teaching his unique brand of leadership development to others. The passion of an entrepreneur and the polish of a leader is what equates to EntreLeadership, in a nutshell of course. Dave and his team believe that these two qualities combined can create an amazing effect with long-term success.
Advanced Decision Making
Advanced division making is the idea that one decision made today will make thousands of decisions for you moving forward. It’s a slightly more complex way of the idea behind working on the business instead of in the business. Working in the business provides immediate gratification because you’re doing tangible work and seeing tangible results. So we are not knocking that sometimes this needs to happen, but Alex had us stop in our tracks with the following thought: If you always do what you’ve always done you’re always going to get what you always got. Let’s take a moment to think about that. Many business owners, especially entrepreneurs, stay on the ‘treadmill’ but go faster and faster in hopes of making a change. But if you stay on the treadmill, big changes can’t be made. You need to step off and see what happens.
Live in alignment with what you stand for. - Alex Judd
The Questions That Need Answers
Alex brought to our attention a way of thinking that can help inform who you should hire, fire, which opportunities to pursue, and will give you so many other answers because this helps you figure out what you stand for.
Take a moment to think about these questions as an individual and as a company:
- Why do we exist?
- Where are we going
- What do we stand for?
Answering these questions can create long-term visions and help a company know what it stands for, even when it comes to culture. This also helps make decisions so that employees know what is expected of them. And finally, the language around this needs to be consistent because language can literally create that culture. “A leader is a ‘chief repeating officer’...if we don't repeat these things then we should never expect to stay aligned to them.” Take a minute to reread that — it’s good business advice yes, but that’s much more philosophical if you take a minute to think about it. We talk about how practice makes perfect, right? That’s something we even tell young children when they are trying to learn a new skill. So as a leader, and even as an employee and an individual, it would be impossible to live in alignment with a value or belief if we never say it, never repeat it. Naturally, it would get lost.
To live in alignment, you have to be committed to your core values more than 99% of the rest of the industry. This doesn’t mean you have to be better than them, just more committed to your values. And with this comes the willingness to be punished for those values. It means being ok losing a customer who doesn’t agree with your values, terminating an employee who can’t stand behind the values, and maybe even living in a smaller circle only filled with people who live in alignment as well.
This is all great business advice, but it sure does seem to seep over into our personal lives as well. These are questions to consider when building a business, a team, and building a successful life.