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7 Questions with JM Ryerson
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7 Questions with JM Ryerson
Name: JM Ryerson
Current title: CEO - Author - Mindset Coach
Current organisation: Let's Go Win
JM is an entrepreneur and Mindset Coach who has been building companies and leading sales teams for over 20 years. JM is the co-founder and CEO of Let's Go Win whose mission is to increase leadership, enhance culture and help teams achieve peak performance.
JM believes that everything rises and falls on leadership. Based on this belief, he has spent his career focused on enriching the lives of others while continuing to educate himself on best practices in leadership, vulnerability and teamwork. His ability to impart some of this knowledge to you might be his greatest contribution to you and your team's success.
JM’s great passions are helping team members lead a life of fulfillment and become vulnerable and open to what life has in store for them. His ultimate goal is to give others the tools that will allow them to transcend their self-limiting beliefs. There is nothing more inspiring than to watch someone achieve more than they could ever imagine. That is why JM considers it a real privilege to be a part of other people's incredible journeys.
JM was raised in Montana and lives in Boca Raton, Florida, with his wife Lisa and their two amazing boys.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
I have found keeping the goals simple and keeping everyone focused to be the most challenging aspect of my role. Every time you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to something else. I love that our team continuously wants to help others grow and get better every day but we need to stay clear on what our intention is. I am guilty of making this mistake, so it's something I'm continuously working on and will continue to do.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
It was a series of events that have led me to this point. This is my fourth company that I have had the pleasure of being a part of the building process. The first company was the smallest and each company has grown in size and influence since then. The size of the company has never been a focal point for me but rather the influence and service that we provide to the world. It sounds like a cliche' but if you love what you do then the size of the company is irrelevant. I would say that the more people you can impact the greater the accomplishment.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I am a huge fan of routines and find that I'm most effective when following those routines. In the morning I take care of my mind, body and soul to make sure I'm ready to show up as the best version of myself. Once that is accomplished and the kids are off to school, then it's time to be 100% present with whatever work project I'm working on. The idea of being 100% present and engaged has greatly increased my efficiency. That is true with work and with family time. In my first company I was "multi-tasking" when it came to work and family time. The problem is that if you aren't giving 100% of you, that's not fair to anyone.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I can't say that it's the most recent but it's certainly the most profound. That is to be completely vulnerable and authentic. I talk about this in the first chapter of my book, Let's Go Win: The Keys to Living Your Best Life, because it truly has made business more enjoyable and profitable. When I was first in a "leadership" role as CEO, I thought I had to look a certain way. I would wear a suit and tie every single day because I thought that was what a leader was supposed to do. If wearing a suit and tie is what you enjoy then you should do it but it just wasn't me and that was the first of the metaphorical masks that I put on. My goal is for my team to operate with radical transparency and in order to have that, I have to be willing to be completely open and vulnerable.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
There are so many great leadership books but if I had to choose one it would be Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. I realize that is not a "leadership" book necessarily but the lessons in that book have and will forever shape my perspective in life and in leadership. It is not an easy read in terms of the content but it truly is impactful. One of the things I say to my team frequently is that you have complete control over two things, attitude and activity. How's yours today? I believe that book really brought that idea to life for me.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
To build leadership capacity you have to genuinely care about your people. A quote that has shaped my actions on leadership is "People don't care what you know, until they know that you care". My goal is to take my ego out of it and remind myself that "it's not about me". We often forget how important recognition and praise is for our teammates. It's really interesting because it's free and yet so often we forget to show our appreciation. Every week I want to make sure that I encourage, praise and recognize (EPR) my team for what an amazing job they have done.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
We do leadership trips every quarter or at least we did prior to the pandemic. The late night conversations with my teammates is my favorite story. To pick one would be too challenging but I would say all of the nights when you are surrounded by those "work family" members around the fire pit. Reminiscing about previous trips, laughing until your stomach hurts and sharing your dreams with people that support you. These fire pits have been all over the world from Jamaica to Wisconsin to parts of Europe. What's interesting is that it was never the location but rather the people that made those moments so memorable.