S2Ep25: Be A Leader, Not An Expert

In today’s episode, Allan welcomes writer and leadership expert, Andrew Ryder. Andrew and Allan discuss what it means to be a leader versus an expert. Leaders are clear with casting their vision in what they do, and why it matters. The vision that leaders create, is also used to help grow and motivate their people. Leaders have true success when they help others become successful.

For more information about Andrew, he can be reached via his website at https://www.andrewbryder.com/

Allan has started and grown several multi million dollar businesses, his mission is to help you do the same. Welcome to the Business Growth Pod, building the future one entrepreneur at a time.

Regardless of where you’re at, even if you’re just wanting to start a business, you’re the leader of yourself. And self leadership, as I call it is is critical. I believe that in order to be able to properly lead other people, you have to be able to lead yourself first.

Hey, everyone, welcome to the show. I’m Allan. I’m a family man and attorney and an entrepreneur. Each week, we provide resources and advice to help build your business. Are you ready? Then let’s go.

Everyone, welcome to the show. Today, I’ve got a great guest, we’re going to talk a lot about business, we are going to talk a lot about leadership. I love learning about leadership. I love the personal development principles that come from talking about leadership. Today, my guest is Andrew Ryder, check this out, guys, let me read you a little bit from his bio. He’s an author, he’s a process engineer, we’re gonna have to figure out exactly what that is a former competitive distance runner, that’s very cool. His writing focuses on the ethics and leadership problems in online businesses. We’re excited to have you today. Andrew, tell us a little bit more about yourself. And welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me on. I’m excited to be here. And I love talking about leadership and personal development stuff too. So it’s gonna be a lot of fun. Awesome.

So tell us a little bit about your background, tell us about kind of where you grew up, and how you got into this space of, it seems like this mixed world between online businesses and leadership.

As humans, we’re all sort of wired for this mimicking process where we start out as babies, and the first thing you do is you watch your parents, and you mimic them, you learn to walk like them, and talk like them, and do all the things that they do. And then you carry that habit forward into all the things you do in your life. And in today’s hyper connected online world, we tend to mimic whatever seems successful, whatever seems to be popular or valuable. And personally, for me, and I see this with a lot of other people, too, is that the, the values and the habits, and the tactics and things that we mimic, from other people online, are not the best habits or tactics or values, they’re not. Like, for me personally, when I got started in online business, I spent a lot of time trying to do things that I thought were gonna make me successful things that I saw that other people were doing, hustling and grinding it out. And what I realized was that, if I did all of those things, and it works, if if I put in all the work, and made it happen, what I was actually building wasn’t something that I wanted, it wasn’t didn’t fit with my definition of success. You know, success, to me is not just making money, but it’s family, it’s relationships. It’s my physical and mental health. It’s all of those other things that sort of went by the wayside when I was just really focused on the working really, really hard. And I had adopted all of these values that I thought were important, I thought were critical to success in any endeavor, not necessarily online business, but you see this in the productivity space, or you see it in health and fitness everywhere online, where we adopt these values, that one we don’t even know if they work, and to even if they do work, are they going to take you where you want to go with your life? And so I learned that the hard way through making a bunch of mistakes and burning myself out and and forcing myself to take a step back and think, what do I actually want to do? What do I want to spend my time doing? And in that I sort of drew this distinction between what a lot of people try to do online is is to become an expert, to try to gain status or money or followers, or testimonials or all of these sort of social capital things that elevate their standing in the online world or in whatever space that they inhabit. But really what, where I tried to draw that distinction. And where I define leadership is in the ability to step beyond that. And to figure out what you want what you value, not based on what other people say is important, or what other people have found is important for them. But to take the initiative and take the, to lead yourself, first, figure out what you want, and then build the lifestyle around that.

So this is an interesting point. And I see 100%, what you’re saying about building kind of this online status, we’re in a world where there’s so much information, and there’s so many gurus out there, and there’s so many experts, then in order to compete with them. In order to get a foothold in the industry, whatever industry that we’re in, we have to hold ourselves out or attempt to become experts. So what what’s the process? If you’re saying like, Hey, don’t worry about how many followers you have, don’t worry about, you know, holding yourself out as an expert. What’s the process? What do people do in order to stand out in their industry? Or are you saying there’s sort of a mix, or it’s okay to go after those things? What kind of is your point about and I get it 100%? You know, I think I’ve said this over and over, people need to create a vision for their company for what they’re trying to produce, what they’re trying to build early, early on, so that the big decisions that they make down the road are consistent with that long term vision, and not just what happens to be cool or trending at the moment.

There’s a lot of factors that go into, for example, follower count. And I think that, that one of the things that maybe we can, we can point out here, and really focus in on is that a lot of the biggest people in whatever industry are leaders, you know, a lot of people don’t even use leadership as a term that’s in their lexicon, right, it’s more of a leadership is more of a term, that’s kind of a mid level management in a corporation, or it’s a executive position in a large company, right. But as a, as a solo entrepreneur, or as a small business owner. I don’t think a lot of people think of themselves as leaders. But when you take a look at the language we use, right followers, if you have anyone, in your audience, on your social media on your email list, listening to your show, if they’re following you, that makes you the leader, but I would take it even one step further than that. And I would say, regardless of where you’re at, even if you’re just wanting to start a business, you’re the leader of yourself. And self leadership, as I call it is critical. I believe that in order to be able to properly lead other people, you have to be able to lead yourself first. And so if we come back to the sort of bigger question here, by first leading yourself, and by being consistent, being able to focus, being able to execute on the things that that you say you’re going to do, and to do that, you know, consistently over the long term, instead of jumping around trying to do what’s hot, what’s trending right now, whatever the gurus are saying to do, right now, when you become the type of person that gets the results that you want other people to get with your programs, or is the ideal client for your business, when you really embody that person, and become that person that sets the example for the people who are following you, and it encourages more people to jump in and to follow you. So that’s where I sort of draw the distinction between expert and leader. And instead of sort of playing the games of status and followers, and trying to focus on those metrics that you don’t really control. I like to focus on really becoming that person who, setting that example so that my clients or my prospective clients can see me living the lifestyle that I want for them and can see how it plays out and and how it would look for them to do that as well.

Yeah, I like that. To summarize what you just said, If I understand what you’re saying, is to be a leader, you first have to be the type of person that people want to follow. Yeah, in order to be a leader, you you want to be somebody that, that encourages people that attracts people, not just start with, hey, I’m an expert in this category. Look at all my, you know, online followers or whatever, my social media followers, but to actually be a leader, right? Is that kind of what you’re getting at and it’s true, like I see People with hundreds of 1000s of followers that I’m surprised that they’re in that position, and a lot of times they get there through alternative means, right? It’s not necessarily. They’re the best person in that space. They’re just maybe the best marketer.

Yeah, yeah, you’re definitely right. And there’s a lot of things that go into it too. And one of the things that it’s challenging to deal with is that a lot of, we sort of use virality as a surrogate for value. And so by that, I mean that the most popular things are assumed to be the best or the highest, yeah, 100%. And that’s not always a one to one relationship. And oftentimes, I really like the steam to labs, books about anti fragile, or the Black Swan, are really great books. And he has this idea called the Lindy effect, which is named after a restaurant. And basically, the idea is that things that are considered to be Lindy are things that age backwards. So the longer that they are around, the longer their future lifespan is. So for example, books are a great example of this. You take a classic book, world renowned book for let’s say, 50 years, the Lindy effect would say that, okay, that book is going to be around for at least another 50 years from now into the future. And so every year that goes by that that book is still a valuable resource in that particular field, it gains two years of life expectancy because you get the one year that’s this year, plus you get an extra year tacked on to the end of that future expectancy. And that’s definitely holds true in books as a primary example. A lot of the best information in marketing or business or health and fitness, productivity. This stuff hasn’t changed from a lot of the stuff that was read, you know, you look at you read a good advertising book from Jean Schwartz, or Ogilvy or somebody, you’re going to learn the best stuff, right? A lot of the new things that come out that are sort of tactical. And there’s sort of a breakdown of strategies that have already been set forth by experts that came before. And so when you compare these two things, a book that’s been around for 3040 years compared to a book that’s been around for, say, six months, and it just hit the New York Times bestseller list, and everybody’s talking about it, and they’re on the podcast circuit, you know, it’s really easy to go to that new popular book that everybody’s reading right now. because nobody’s talking about Ogilvy, right, but you’re likely to get more value out of reading. Ogilvy.

Yeah, that’s an interesting point. I wanted to shift gears just a little bit, I read some of your blog articles. And in one of them, you wrote this, leaders seek to build relationships, followers seek to make transactions, what does that mean, man,

that’s really important to me, it really hits home with just every aspect of my experience in online business, because early on in my, my business journey, I got lied to and ripped off and spent a lot of money and and to be completely fair, a lot of that was my fault. And that’s why I’m such a big proponent of self leadership is because I wasn’t the person that I needed to be in order to see through the lies or to even take advantage of the valuable material that I could have gotten from a lot of those programs. And I think there’s responsibility on both sides when it comes to that. But there is a growing momentum in the online business space about building funnels, and making more transactions and getting more conversions, higher conversion rates, better, more opt ins, all of these numbers related things. And I think that’s really short sighted, you know, obviously, you want higher conversions. Obviously, you want more clients, you know, you want those things for sure. But you don’t want to do them at the expense of building a relationship, a real relationship with the person, you have to keep in mind that they’re not just numbers, it’s not just a 100 conversions and a zero wonder exits or whatever, OPT outs, and so it’s real people that are on the other end of this. And over the long term, if you’re thinking about your business, in terms of 510 years or beyond, you really want to, I mean, it’s gonna be better for your clients if you are marketing to them honestly, and ethically. And not only that, but then offering them opportunities to continue to work with you in the future. You know, one of the most popular things right now is a coaching or course business. And a lot of these coaching programs that teach you how to start coaching businesses, or course businesses really miss a really important piece of business. That is, it’s important in every other type of business that’s just not really in this realm. And that’s continuity, having some sort of recurring monthly income is vital for your business. Yeah. And not only that, but your prospects and your clients are going to want to keep working with you, if you do a good job for them. If you go to bat for them, you get them a great result. That’s where all your testimonials are going to come from, that’s where your referrals are going to come from. And that’s where your stability and having that monthly recurring income is going to come from.

I love that. So my audience, they’re entrepreneurs, they’re people that are trying to improve their businesses, they’re trying to improve personally, how do they sift through all of these online courses and books and all this information that’s out there? To find the stuff that’s actually going to help them? What do you recommend? How do they get to that information that’s going to, you know, trigger a thought or an idea that’s really going to make a difference in their personal lives and in their businesses?

There’s certainly you know, we’ve talked a lot about the negatives, but there’s certainly honest, ethical, you know, really good people to learn from out there, I think the first place to start is really getting clear in what the next step is, for you, in your business or in your personal life. What are you stuck on right now, I am strongly opposed to just scrolling on Instagram and looking for business tips, or YouTube or Twitter or whatever social media flavor you prefer. It’s just not a good, reliable way to find relevant information to the problem you’re trying to solve. And there’s definitely a point in your business career, if you’re just getting started, you want to understand everything and get a high level overview of, of whatever industry you’re getting into, it’s probably great to check out a whole bunch of podcasts and read a bunch of Instagram posts and watching YouTube videos. But once you get into it, you want to identify what the next hurdle is. And then you want to seek out very specific solutions to that problem. And, you know, I found that the further along that I progress in my own journey in business, in health and fitness, or in any other area, the narrower the focuses of the courses and the products that I purchased. When I was just getting started out, I would buy, you know how to start a business and it takes you everywhere from defining your market, to the first direct outreach to building a product to getting testimonies, you know, the whole everything from A to Z. I don’t buy any products like that anymore. I buy very, very specific content for SEO, or SEO for content for your boss, right?

If I have a you know, let’s say I have listeners, and they’re having issues with, they’re having a really hard time trying to find the right personnel to hire. It’s it’s actually a really tough market right now. Getting good help. It’s crazy, because unemployment is higher than was projected. I think there are some unemployment benefits that has led to this interesting market right now. But are you saying that, hey, if you have an issue with finding good people, you should go looking for information that’s directly related to that one practical thing, that you’re working on that hurdle that you’re trying to overcome? Right now versus reading a book about general entrepreneurship? Is that what you’re saying? Get really granular get really specific with the information that you’re looking for?

Yeah, absolutely. I have not hired anyone Personally, I work on this by myself. But so I can’t speak to that example, in particular, but if I was looking to hire someone, you know, I’d be looking very specifically into where can I find high quality candidates? Where can I find candidates that are, you know, not only qualified, but are in a place in their, their career in the right mindset to do the type of work that I’m working on? And I would, you know, maybe you can branch that out to a general sort of management type of book, but I wouldn’t go any broader than that.

Yeah, I liked that. I liked that idea. Because that’s really where the rubber meets the road for an entrepreneur. And there’s so many resources out there. There’s so many books, there’s so many podcasts, the business slash entrepreneurs space is so large, that I feel like you know, people can get lost in the weeds a little bit, especially if they’re, they need a solution to their current issue their current problem or opportunity. Andrew, why don’t you talk a little bit about the importance of leadership in being an entrepreneur? Why does this even matter? If I’m starting a business? Why should I be focused more on things like cash management or product development? What’s this role of leadership for an entrepreneur.

So where leadership meets the intersects your business, in my mind, it’s really the the relationship that you have with your customer. leadership can focus on yourself, it can focus on your relationships, your customer, or can focus on the relationship you have with your employees. And all of those are similar and yet different, right? For me, it’s about the customer, ultimately, because if you don’t have customers, you don’t really have a business. It’s more of a hobby, right. And like he said, that quote from the blog, it’s about building relationships, not about building transactions. And there’s this analogy that I really like that I think can illustrate this well, because there’s sort of two options with how you’re going to lead in the example that you’re going to set. And so this is, comes from one of my favorite leadership movies of all time. 300. And it’s the story about 2500 years ago, the story of the Spartan army that defends against the invading Persian army. And the two different factions are led by very opposite leaders. You know, there’s for Persia, they’re led by Xerxes, who is depicted as this seven foot tall, God King, who sits on a 30 foot tall pyramid that’s carried by his slaves, and he’s paraded into the battle and he’s worshipped. And then on the other side of that the Spartans are led by the Unitas, who is standing shoulder to shoulder with his brothers, he is holding a shield, he’s holding a spear, he’s ready to fight. And he’s in that phalanx. He’s at the front of the battle, just ready to get in there and to to lead from the frontlines, as opposed to Xerxes who is commanding his warriors to go into battle. And to die to expand his empire is to really faced with these two models of leadership, you can lead from the back, you can lead from the top. And even the metaphor goes, as far as the pyramid is, you know, Xerxes sits at the top of the pyramid, right? In all of his followers. If you think about a typical org chart or a hierarchy, the CEO sits at the top right, and then everyone else files in underneath that. But what you notice then, on the flip side, with Lee Unitas, he’s at the front of the phalanx. And so that is also a triangular shape, but it’s inverted. And still, the Unitas is at the bottom, and he supports all of his organization from the bottom right. That difference, you know, we can take bits and pieces of that analogy in in every direction. That’s how I think about leadership. And that’s how I think about stepping into that relationship with the customer. And leading them from the front of the phalanx as opposed to commanding them to buy my products.

Yeah, I really liked that analogy. And it’s really cliche to say, you know, lead from the front, and it’s super important. Now, how does somebody that’s building a business, know when he should be leading from the front, right, when you should be boots on the ground, be shoulder to shoulder with, you know, with his team, versus doing things that are required of a business owner and entrepreneur to grow the business? Honestly, it’s really tough in a lot of the businesses that I have, for me to be able to get kind of a larger perspective, to see several years down the road. If I’m doing the day to day, what do you recommend in terms of good leadership advice for a CEO for an entrepreneur that’s trying to grow the company while at the same time leading from the front.

So all of the businesses I work with are smaller, just preface this advice with with that statement, so I think that a big opportunity is to cast the vision for your organization for the people who work for you, but also for the people who are prospective clients. Casting that vision is going to be the difference between your employees working hard or not hard, right, but also the difference between getting people on board with your movement or not. So casting the vision, getting really clear on where you’re taking them and why you’re taking them there, why they need to be a part of this movement, and the benefits to them, or the benefits to their, their life, their business, whatever it is that you’re selling, right. The other big opportunity, I would say is in your content creation strategy. I think a lot of people operate in a very mechanical sort of content creation, where they’re looking for hot topics on social media, or they’re trying to pick up ideas from from other people. And they’re missing out on an opportunity to explain to you, that’s where you can cast your vision. That’s where you can reveal your personality, act like a human being, you know, that’s the at the end of the day, regardless of the size of your organization. You’re doing business with other people. Yeah. And I think the bigger you grow, the easier it is to forget that the person that you’re speaking to, or I’m in, I’m in b2b, so I deal with businesses, right? But even if you are in b2b, it’s a person on the other end of that transaction on the other end of that deal, that is ultimately going to be saying yes, or saying no. And so the content you create, also gives you that opportunity to build that relationship to help people understand what you do and why it matters.

Yeah, this is fantastic. I actually, I’ve never thought of that before. And I’m a huge proponent of vision. I talk about it quite a bit on this show with with my business partners. But that is a really great point. And I want to make sure the listeners caught that. So he is saying that the way that we can lead from the front, while keeping kind of this entrepreneurial CEO role is by casting that vision, right? I think we’re your words, that’s fantastic. That the way we do it is, Hey, guys, this is how we do it. And this is why we do it. This is our vision, this is the direction we’re headed for the company. These are the all the reasons why, you know, you want to attach yourself to this company and help us grow and develop and just use that vision to motivate people. That’s fantastic. Andrew, where do people find out more information about you and all the great things that you’re doing right now?

Yeah, you can find me at Andrewbryder.com. And I read a daily column about leadership, about all the things we just talked about. If you want to learn more, you want to cast a better vision, and inspire your followers to join you on that mission. You can find me at Andrew, be writer calm.

Love it. Andrew, this has been a real great pleasure. For me. I love talking about vision. I love talking about leadership. And you really, I mean, there’s a lot of great information in there. And you did mention something about how you don’t necessarily work with the largest companies. I honestly think that advice, especially about casting the vision for your people in terms of being able to lead them from the front. I think that applies to no matter how large an organization gets. So absolutely, you know, great pleasure. Thanks for joining us today. Thanks a lot, a lot of fun.

If you’ve enjoyed today’s podcast, please leave us a rating and for daily inspiration and business tips follow Allan on Instagram. Until next time, remember we build the future one entrepreneur at a time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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