More Than Words: Finding a Mentor

Seek out business mentors, not just commentators

from daveramsey.com on 01 Feb 2012
 

Football commentators have a great job. During football season, they gather once a week on a snazzy studio set in their sharpest suits and talk about the one subject they are most passionate about—football. And, whether you agree with everything they say or have to fight the urge to hit the mute button, a commentator's ability to speak with authority about building a winning NFL team will certainly grab your attention.

But if you wanted to learn how to lead a winning NFL team, would you want the advice of a commentator, or a coach of a successful team? A coach doesn't wear an expensive suit or sit in a flashy television studio delivering snappy one-liners to make his living. He is on the practice field with his team. He studies the competition and works long hours to cut a path for his team's victory.

Commentator vs. Mentor

The business world has its own commentators—people with catchy book titles and witty words that may not be backed up by real-world experience. As a business leader, you need a mentor. Someone who has been in the trenches of business leadership and will share lessons they've learned.

Dave himself might have been just another guy working through bankruptcy if he had not followed Larry Burkett's advice about becoming and living debt-free.

Now, as Dave's company grows and enters new phases, he regularly seeks advice from business owners like Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-Fil-A. He meets them armed with a yellow pad for taking notes and a willingness to shut up and listen.

This principle is the foundation of EntreLeadership. As Dave's company grew, he knew he needed to train his leadership team to be able to act for him. To do that, he had to mentor his team so they would understand why he conducts business the way he does. Now, through his EntreLeadership live events, Dave extends that mentorship to business leaders outside his company.

Build A High-Power Relationship

Having a mentor sounds easy, but there are a few keys to making the relationship a real benefit instead of just another schmooze session.

Choose wisely – The goal of this relationship is to make your habits and values better as you become like the people you spend time with. Your mentor can be someone you know personally or someone you've never met as long as you learn valuable lessons from their example.

Take action – If all you do is meet with your mentor or study about him in books, you're not going to get much from the relationship. Even the best mentoring relationship is a failure if you don't follow through and act on what you've learned.

Change it up – You may find, as Dave has, that you need different mentors for different areas of your business. Someone who walked with you as you built the vision for your business might not have the best advice about budgeting or back-office issues.

One last thought: Mentoring is a cycle. Keep it going and return the favor of all the wisdom you received from your mentor by becoming a mentor yourself.

The EntreLeadership Podcast is your resource for lessons from Dave Ramsey on business, team building and leadership. Hosted by one of Dave's leading business speakers, Chris LoCurto, each podcast is loaded with insight and ideas featuring expert guests such as Tony Hsieh, Simon Sinek and Dan Cathy, as well as key leaders from Dave's company, and of course, Dave himself.

In 20 years, Dave has grown his company to a national winning brand with more than 300 team members who have impacted millions of lives. His company has been named one of the “Best Places to Work in Nashville” four years in a row. EntreLeadership is how he’s done it. Get your copy of the new book now!

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