Daniel Tardy: License To Sell

Hammers don’t swing themselves

Posted in EntreLeadership by elephanthunters on April 30, 2010

Events & Process

I once heard John Maxwell say,

We tend to over estimate the event, and under estimate the process.

Attending a business event doesn’t make you a better business leader any more than attending a wedding ceremony makes you a bride or groom.  We live in an event driven culture.  Many business leaders are on a continuous search for that one event that has the secret potion for their success.

Events fall short when…

Events fail when we put all of our stock in the event to do the work for us.  If the event that is being marketed to you promises to fix all of your problems, omitting every element of personal responsibility, run.

Here’s my promise: If you attend EntreLeadership Master Series, Dave Ramsey will give you all of the tools to win in your business.  If you choose to go home and set the tool box on the shelf, and continue driving nails into boards with your bare hands, maybe events are not for you.

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THE Lara Johnson? and other clips from EntreLeadership

Posted in EntreLeadership by elephanthunters on April 29, 2010

I’m really curious why Lara Johnson would be here…

I need your help.  Check out this video and tell me if I’m crazy for thinking that this might be Lara Johnson, Associate Producer for The Dave Ramsey show.  I’m trying to get to the bottom of why she might be sneaking around the conference center here at the Atlantis Resort:

Lessons from EntreLeadership:

Interview with Alex Charfen:

Alex has a real estate consulting firm in Austin, TX.  (You can tell I like getting interviews from Texans…they’re flat out awesome people!)  Check out what he has to say about the event so far (most importantly check out is ‘phat shoes’).

Lessons from EntreLeadership:

There are 3 basic pillars to our EntreLeadership material:

  1. Working With People: Dreams, Vision & Goal Setting / Time Management & Organization / Personality Styles & Mission Statements / Communication / Building Unity & Loyalty / Compensation & Incentives / Team Math: Hiring & Firing / Delegation / Recognition & Inspiration
  2. The Central Nervous System of Business: Financial Peace for the EntreLeader / Accounting / The Art of Outsourcing: Dealing With Vendors / Contract Negotiation
  3. Gettin’ The Cash In! Personal Selling / Marketing & Advertising / Social Media / & everything else involved in getting your product or service out the door and raking the moola in.

Changing the oil in your business:

Today Dave is transitioning from the ‘team building pillar’ and diving head-long into the meat & potatoes of the administrative material.  Typically, as entrepreneurs, we tend to dread all of these tedious details in our business.  We don’t buy a car just because we love changing the oil, right?  Same thing in business.  However, if we don’t do these things well, eventually the engine blows up.

Notes on a couple of lessons from this morning:

The Art of Outsourcing – Vendors

This morning Dave has been teaching our attendees the importance of managing relationships with vendors.  In this video clip, Dave explains that we should always be willing to part ways with vendors when we outgrow their ability to serve our needs.  We have a tendency to feel too much loyalty to our vendors based on issues not related to the business transaction:


Here’s a few one-liners from the lesson on contracts:

  • Contracts are not a guarantee of people doing what they say, what they should, or of their performance
  • Contracts don’t make a person who’s a dufus become a non-dufus
  • Attorneys call contracts a ‘meeting of the minds’
  • If it’s not in writing it never happened
  • A verbal contract is worth the paper it’s written on
  • Contracts don’t make bad deals become good, or bad people become good
  • Where no integrity exists, the whole process is useless

Stay tuned for more coverage from the Bahamas, and I’ll let you know if I get confirmation on THE Lara Johnson.

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3 new clips from EMS (one of Dave Ramsey teaching)

Posted in EntreLeadership by elephanthunters on April 28, 2010

“Yesterday is when it clicked”.

That’s what one of our attendees told me over breakfast this morning.  They went on to explain that everything they’ve been hoping to understand about team building and culture really started to sink in.

Building A Unified Culture

Dave spent most of yesterday afternoon unpacking our playbook for building unity and loyalty in the organization.  Unity is our secret weapon.  We outperform teams twice our size when we work with a clear vision, and every player is united on purpose and core value.  One of the biggest contributing factors to building a unified team is the consistent behavior of the leader.  In leadership, you’ve got to be deadly consistent in your reactions so your team will know what to expect from you in any given situation.

Check out this video to watch Dave drive this point home for our attendees:

Show Me The Money!

Compensation structure is another major pillar in the loyalty equation.  No one on our team receives a salary as their only form of income. Each team member (yes, even the guys shipping boxes) has an incentive tied into the profitability of our company.  The natural result that flows from setting up your compensation structure in this manner creates an entrepreneurial environment throughout the entire organization.

In this video, Greg Pare, talks about how he’s already considering new strategies for introducing a profit sharing program for his team when he returns home:

Mission Control

I wanted to take an opportunity to let you know that this amazing event doesn’t happen without the amazing support team working diligently behind the scenes.  The diligent execution of each detail during this event truly makes the experience fabulous for our attendees.

Stay tuned…

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EntreLeadership: Not your typical Tuesday

Posted in EntreLeadership by elephanthunters on April 27, 2010

Fishing Trip (We have to do it for the sales metaphors to work)

Brian Williams, Creative Director for Dave Ramsey getting 'creative'

The day started before dawn for those of us who decided to journey out into the deep blue sea in pursuit of some big fish…or at least some big fishing stories.  We have a running competition from event to event between Dave, myself and a few other guys on the team on who’s boat brings in the most fish.  I didn’t win this year, but I did beat Dave for the first time (and it’s a great feeling).

The weather was perfect as we trolled out of the harbor, and the company was great.  This is always a fun time to really get to know some of our attendees on a more personal level since there are just a few of us in each boat.  We landed a few Mahi-Mahi and the crew was kind enough to fillet them for us on the boat so we can cook ’em up for dinner.

Today’s Lessons:

Dave is teaching some of our most powerful lessons this afternoon:

  • Building Unity and Loyalty: Train yourself to be deadly consistent so your team knows what to expect.  Never cut pay when performance is there. Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No’.  People will allow themselves to be led by someone who treats them with dignity.
  • Compensation: If the leaders are only in it for the money, compensation will have a lot of ceilings….

Well, there’s a whole lot more but I gotta run help out with a Q&A Panel…

Stay Tuned.

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Monday morning – live from EntreLeadership!

Posted in EntreLeadership by elephanthunters on April 26, 2010

Monday morning snapshot:

We’ve just been put on notice that Dave Ramsey’s energy level is illegal in the Bahamas (so we have some people working with the local legislature on getting that changed).

This morning Dave is teaching:

  • Dreams, Visions & Goal Setting: Without vision the people perish.  Goals are vision with work clothes on. If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time (Ziglar). You need goals in every area of your life.

This is the stuff we start with because we can’t help our attendees until we find out where they are and where they want to go.  Establishing goals gives us a framework to build off of.  Dave is a goal freak!  He requires each of us to have goals and evaluate them early and often.  I love working in an organization where everyone appreciates the value of goal setting.  It puts extra energy in the air.

  • Time Management & Organization: Spending 15 minutes on your to do list could free up as much as 2 hours in your work day.  You must learn to manage time or the lack of it will manage you.  Most leaders use MBC (Management by Crisis)…don’t do this.  Have a plan.  Don’t have a meeting without an agenda.  Use the stand up technique when the meeting’s over.  Teach your team to respect your calendar.

Keeping track of your time is as important as keeping track of your money.  As a business leader, your personal time is the most valuable asset to the growth of your organization.  Dave is giving tons of great advice on how to get control of your calendar and increase efficiency.  Two of my favorite books on this subject are Time Traps, by Todd Duncan, and Death by Meeting, by Patrick Lincioni.

  • Personality Styles and Mission Statements: Understanding how to speak the unique language of your team members will allow you to motivate them in a way that works for them.  Everyone is wired a little bit different and we each tend toward a certain communication style. We teach the DISC model: D = Dominant, Decisive, Doer, Driver, Bullet points and bottom line focused. I – Influencer, Outgoing, Fun, People Oriented, Playful, Party looking for a place to happen. S – Steady, Stable, Loyal, Reserved, Slow processors, Golden Retriever. C – Compliant, Detailed, Facts, Calculated, Task oriented.

We use the DISC model personality style assessment in our hiring process to make sure we’re putting people in the right position based on their natural strengths.  Each of our EntreLeadership attendees take this test before they come, and they each get a unique 20-30 page report on their own personality style.  In addition to covering personality style’s, Dave is giving our attendees solid information on the value of a personal mission statement, and a company mission statement that goes way beyond ‘brochure filler’ material.

  • Communication: A winning culture of communication says “When in doubt, ask!”  Everyone on the team turns in a weekly report.  We have a mandatory staff meeting for the entire team every week.  When in doubt, over communicate.  The right hand needs to know what the left hand is doing.

Leaders must learn to communicate effectively.  Picture your team members at the bottom of the sea wearing scuba gear with an air hose leading from their gear to an air tank in the boat on top of the water.  You’re in the boat.  Communication is the air.  Your job is to make sure the air keeps flowing…when communication flow stops, the team dies.


Brian Williams is our Creative Director for Dave Ramsey.  He put together a stellar video that played last night between my welcome talk and Dave’s introduction.  It brought tons of of energy to the room to set Dave up for a great kick off!  Thanks Brian for all of your hard work on this project:

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Great start to the week! (EnterLeadership Atlantis)

Posted in EntreLeadership by elephanthunters on April 25, 2010

Wow, what a day!

All of our guests have arrived safe and sound.  There’s tons of energy in this place, and everyone I’ve talked to is amped up and ready for the week! I enjoyed finally getting to meet everyone that I’ve been working with over the phone/email for several months.  Here’s a quick interview at the registration desk with Lee and Traci Goudy from Indiana:

Jumping in:

We kicked the event off with a reception where they were serving lots of fancy foods that I can’t pronounce the names of.  This was a fun time of networking, making introductions and learning each others stories.  Then we ate! (We’ll do that a lot this week).  Tonight’s fillet minion was quite possibly the best i’ve ever had…not what you expect from a pre-plated dinner.  These Bahamians do it right!

After dinner, Dave taught the first EntreLeadership lesson for the week, ‘EntreLeadership Defined’.  Here’s a few quotes from tonight’s session:

If business was easy, there would be no profit involved!

Organizations are never limited by their team, they’re limited by their leader.

The problem with my business is ME!  The good news is I’m also the solution.

If you help enough people you don’t have to worry about money.

Those who never make mistakes, work 4 those of us who have. – Henry Ford

Big Idea:

After each lesson Dave makes everyone take two full minutes to write down their big idea from that lesson.  I’m going to be catching people between lessons, and asking them what their big ideas are.  This first one is from Dr. Greg Weigler:

Even more fun:

Get in on the action from Atlantis:

If you haven’t seen it already, be sure to check out the Cover It Live blog that Chris Mefford is running this week on http://www.daveramsey.com in the business section.

This is a fun way to see pictures, videos, audio streams from the event, share comments etc.

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We’re under way with EntreLeadership, Bahamas!

Posted in Uncategorized by elephanthunters on April 25, 2010

This is the day we’ve all been waiting for!

Grabbing some lunch with Mefford

Grabbing some lunch with Mefford

EntreLeadership Master Series starts @ 5:00 pm with a reception for our attendees, dinner, and then an opening lesson from Dave Ramsey.

The day has been busy with getting our welcome table set up, finalizing flight manifest details for our arriving attendees, setting up rooms, checking lists twice 5 times, welcoming our attendees, shooting ‘b roll’, and I’ll spare you all the other minutia..

The most critical variable has been accomplished: Dave and Sharon Ramsey have arrived safely with plenty of time to spare.  We’re ready to rock!

Here’s a video from earlier this morning with the Director of Marketing for our Live Events Department, Chris Mefford:

(go easy on him, he’s Canadian)

EntreLeadership Atlantis: Quick interview with Debbie LoCurto

Posted in Business by elephanthunters on April 25, 2010

Dynamic Interaction

One of the best things about our EntreLeadership Master Series event is the dynamic interaction.  We keep this event limited in attendance so the environment is set up for plenty of dialogue beyond the class room time. Several members of Dave Ramsey’s Leadership Council join us for the week, just to be available for 1-on-1 coaching.

Our leaders are the embodiment of the EntreLeadership content

Dave Ramsey never wanted employees.  In his mind, “Employees were just people who came in late, left early, and stole from you while they’re at work”.  Instead, Dave set up the organization to bring on team members, other entreprenuers who could come in and run profit centers as their own micro business within the company.  Today we have 14 different P & L leaders, and over 300 team members who are passionate about our mission, and to this day, we still don’t have a single ’employee’.

I’m pumped that Debbie LoCurto’s here this week!

Debbie LoCurto runs one of the largest P & L departments in our company, Financial Peace University Church.  I caught her in the lobby last night on the way to dinner…she had about 7 seconds warning that I was doing this:

During this event, our attendees get access to some of the sharpest business minds I’ve ever known.  Everyone’s business is different, so we do our best to spend time with them throughout the week to help tailor fit the content to tier particular business model.  It’s not uncommon for someone to tell us they received as much value from interacting with our team as they did from the general session time.

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Welcome to EMS: Atlantis!

Posted in Business by elephanthunters on April 25, 2010

This week we’re going to do things a little bit different…

I’m going to give you a backstage pass into my world during one of the greatest weeks of my entire year.  Each day I’m going to be blogging on site from the Atlantis Resort, where we’re hosting our EntreLeadership Master Series event.  Dave Ramsey personally teaches this event twice each year to small business owners and leaders who join us from all across the country.

I have an incredible job!

  • I get to work with one of the greatest leaders and speakers on the planet: Dave Ramsey
  • I work along side a gifted team of event coordinators and marketing minds, many of whom I am hoping to introduce you to this week
  • My product, EntreLeadership, is hands down the greatest practical leadership event taught by an actual small business leader.   (Sorry for the commercial, but frankly I wouldn’t be promoting this event if this part wasn’t true).
  • My clients are some of the brightest, most creative entrepreneurs our country has to offer.  Their stories are amazing.
  • I get to travel to some sick destinations for our events, and bring my wife, Emily, along for the ride.

The Goal:

Since I’m kind of on the fly here, things will be a little less polished than my usual approach. Please forgive the ‘cameo style’ on everything.  My hope is that you will get to learn more about the event that our team works so hard to build, and more importantly that you’ll benifit from getting a peak behind the curtain on some of the information that is presented here this week.

So thanks for joining me for the trip!

Let me know what you’d like to see some footage of, and I’ll do my best to work it in throughout the week.

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Make time for connecting in person

Posted in Personal Development by elephanthunters on April 23, 2010


Yesterday Jack Groot and his wife came by the office for an impromptu visit. Jack owns JP’s Coffee & Espresso Bar in Holland, MI, and he’s a huge Dave Ramsey fan.  I visited with Jack a few months back about our EntreLeadership Master Series event, and I mentioned to him that if he’s ever in the Nashville area, I’d love to show him around the place.

Well, Jack decided to take me up on the offer.  He sent me an email yesterday morning saying he’s in town and he asked if they could swing by for a tour.


I’d like to say that I replied immediately saying “Sure! Stop by whenever it’s convenient for you today…I’ll make the time.”

I didn’t do this.  I waited.  I stalled, semi-unconsciously hoping that I could divert the inconvenience, and still somehow save face with Jack.

I accidentally listened to the resistance. My lizard brain (selfish & scared) told me that I was too busy:

Daniel, you don’t have time.  They’ll understand. They probably knew it was a long shot anyway being so last minute and all.  You have obligations.  This is one of the busiest weeks of your whole year right before your really big, important, complicated event.  You have plenty of legitimate excuses, so just tell them that you hope to catch them next time.

See, that’s the only thing the lizard brain offers:

  • Excuses
  • Reasons to not
  • Places to hide

I decided to punch the lizard brain in the face:

“I’m making this way to complicated”, I thought. “These guys are here all the way from Michigan!  Who am I to tell them I don’t have time for a short tour?” I adjusted my schedule, and arranged to host Jack and his wife.

I used to give tours more often, but now our company is big enough that we have official ‘tour people’ so I haven’t given one in a while.

But, at one o’clock I met Jack and his wife in the lobby, and what started out as another task on my list for the day, quickly became an energizing experience for me.  As I told the stories about everything we’re doing around here, my emotions caught up with my brain, and I felt a new sense of pride in my work.  This is my team.  These are the guys I fight with.  Here is what we do, and here is why it matters.  For a solid 45 minutes I found myself selling 2 strangers on why our company is awesome.

Connection happens in person

I sit at a desk with a keyboard and a phone most of the time.  So there’s something magical about face to face connection with your customers.  I’m really glad I decided to make time for my new friends.  Are they going to buy my product now?  I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that I got to spend quality time engaging two other fabulous human beings who have their own story to tell.  I can’t put a price on the time spent with them, and I wouldn’t sell it if I could.

Can I suggest something? Give tours!

Make your people give tours.  Tell the story.  Whatever this means in your company, find out a way to show people what you’re doing.  It doesn’t’ matter if you have 2 people or 200, if you work in an office building or on a construction site, if you work in accounting or in sales:

Just tell the story, and don’t ever assume they know what you’re doing.

Doing this will keep you connected to the mission like nothing else can.

My new goal:

Give a tour at least once a month.  I’m going to make time to show people around the office whether it ties in with a deal I’m working or not.  It does something for me that is too valuable to miss out on.

How do tours work at your place?  What do they look like?  What do people tend to comment on when you give them?  I’d love to hear about it!