In a talk with Eddie Turner, Ramon Ray talks about two crucial tasks leaders must do, taking businesses to the next level, the importance of being ready, and why leaders must focus on community building
Ramon Ray knows success, but even he is still learning all the time.
On a recent chat on Keep Leading Live, he tells Eddie Turner that only recently has he realized his leadership journey and had thought more deeply about discovering what it truly means to be a leader.
That’s after his successes so far in his career. In business, he started four enterprises and sold two. As a speaker, he has been on stage around the world. He has even written multiple books.
He says there are two crucial tasks leaders must do, which are:
- Inspire people, and
- ensure that the right people are doing the right things at the right time.
You don’t have to be smart to inspire people, Ramon says. And ensuring that the right people are working on the right tasks at the right time is about effectively delegating to make sure that the team is functioning well.
Taking It to the Next Level
As Ramon points out, we can find success and not really be the best leader out there. This is why a fundamental change in the way we operate can yield fantastic results.
He says that taking it to the next level can be summed up in two changes we can make. He says we must:
- Develop a leadership framework, and
- Value our potential.
Ramon says that a leadership framework doesn’t have to be complex. It can be as simple as choosing what tasks we should be doing to effectively lead our teams. For example, does that involve regular team meetings or checking in with team members to see how their doing? What tasks are there to do that helps us become the best leader for our teams?
As for potential, Eddie asks Ramon about only recently feeling like a success. Ramon says that in the past, he didn’t realize the potential that he had. He has recently been contemplating about what could have happened if he had decades ago the kind of knowledge he has now, he adds.
To level up, we must understand that we have more potential than we may initially think, says Ramon. As he builds Smart Hustle, his fourth company, he shares that he has visions of team and leadership. That’s beyond technicalities like using the right technology.
Ramon says that he has contemplated what he must do for Smart Hustle to be more successful than his previous ventures. That includes maybe selling it one day, how he can be less stressed while doing even bigger things through leadership, and how he can build a better and more effectively managed company.
Knowing What Makes Us Happy
Asked what made him start Smart Hustle Media, Ramon tells Eddie that it was all about following what makes him happy.
He says that in his previous business, he realized that he was most moved by one portion of his work, which was interviewing entrepreneurs.
“I think the world of entrepreneurship is so broad and I have much more joy to interview smart hustlers [and] other people and find that about their journey, whether very small ones, or people like Daymond John or Sara Blakely or whoever it may be,” he says.
Personal branding and being ready
Ramon also reveals to Eddie how his personal branding and how always being ready landed him exciting opportunities over the years.
Around 2015, as President Barrack Obama was wrapping up his term, his staff were looking to build their brand whether they stay in office or not. Through his content online, Ramon says he was chosen to give a three-hour seminar at the Executive Office of the President, and experience he says he will never forget.
Ramon also shares that being invited to be an expert witness in Congress was made possible by one of his relationships and by being ready for the opportunity. Marcus Lemonis was set to be on the panel but couldn’t make it, he says, and when they asked him if he could contribute, Ramon was ready to answer yes.
Ramon also explains that his historic interview of President Obama at the start of his term was because of his personal branding and being always ready. He says he went through a whole process of numerous interviews, voting, and selection rounds.
Later on, he and Eddie also talk about Ramon going with Ivanka Trump to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India. Ramon says that in personal branding, it’s all about the small things that add credibility and cachet to what we do.
Focus on Community Building and Long-term Rewards
“Sometimes we want short-term gains at the risk of long-term rewards,” Ramon tells Eddie, when asked about a frequent mantra he has.
That mantra is “Ask for a smile, not a sale when working in business,” which Ramon says should be something leaders carefully consider.
He says that he thinks sales are important. After all, without a sale, leaders have no businesses. Just focusing on selling and asking customers “Can you buy it?” leads to just the binary answer of “yes or no.” However, if leaders focused on building connections, we build communities in addition to sales funnels.
“If you’re just trying to make money and ask for sales, that’s fleeting. It goes and comes. But if you’re my friend first…if I can know, like, and trust you…that, I think, is the most powerful experience,” Ramon says.
The same concept can be applied to leadership, he says. Leaders may sometimes be too focused on squeezing the most out of their team, that they neglect to take enough time to get to know them personally and whether they are even given the right responsibilities in the company.
Or there are some leaders who lead by dominance. They get their teams to finish tasks because of threats like not being paid or promoted.
“That’s one way to get somebody to do what you want,” he explains. “But how much better is it that when you the boss, the leader come into the office [and] people feel great. They don’t feel that when you leave the room, they have to take a shower. When you call them to the office, they don’t feel like ‘Oh no! Why?’”
And why does it pay to be a leader that focuses on community building? Ramon says it all comes down to sustainability and client buy-in.
“Community building is very important because you’ll find that if you build a community; if you build a tribe, as Seth Godin talks about; if you build a fanbase, as Gary Vaynerchuk and others talk about; it’s much more sustainable,” Ramon stresses. “That locks you in.”
He says that leaders doing business just transactionally could be successful, but they’re leaving a lot on the table.
“If you’re selling something just transactionally, just based on money, it’s okay. You’ll make some money there,” Ramon tells Eddie. “But how much better if Eddie Turner is buying it because he’s a raving fan?”
View Ramon’s and Eddie’s full conversation here.