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7 Questions with J Rick Cusick
7 Questions with J Rick Cusick
Name: J Rick Cusick
Current title: Managing Partner
Current organisation: CATALYST BRANDS
Entrepreneur, Innovator & Senior Executive with expertise in E-Commerce, Digital Marketing, Social Media, Business Development and All Things Amazon.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
One significant challenge for every SME is to manage human and financial resources. There are typically no shortage of opportunities that present themselves to an SME, so sharpening your focus to optimize the impact of your cash flow and team members is an ever-present challenge.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
After years of leadership with larger multi-national and international companies, I decided to pivot to an SME for two reasons. First, I knew my experience would enable me to add value day one with an SME, and second, I was passionate about being able to more directly impact the hour-to-hour decisions that deliver success.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I am up very early. My first action of the day is meditation. This sets the tone for the day. Then I have coffee and spend an hour actioning my inbox to get questions asked and answered. My mid-morning to early afternoon are then dedicated to virtual and in-person meetings. Then most importantly, by 4PM, having worked for 9-10 hours already, I carve out to time to get sweaty and commit to something active for an hour or so. I have learned if you begin your day with meditation, and end it with a workout, all the important action in the middle is greatly enhanced.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
The people you hire will be the single greatest determinant to your success. Hire people who want it more than you, who will push and challenge you, who will jump in the foxhole with you and who you enjoy on a personal level, and love spending a lot of time with.
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?
Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal. It is a provocative book about harnessing your highest performance potential through alternative states of consciousness.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
Keep the line moving! Capacity is a function of inflow and outflow. I think a common mistake may SMEs make is a delay in decision making. Stagnation and delay are potentially fatal to SMEs. As the inflow opportunities and challenges present themselves, assess them, deliberate them, weigh options, make a decision and move on. Decisions, right or wrong, are rarely fatal. Decision DELAY is almost always fatal.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
Don't ever give up and don't ever put limits on your opportunity. We were assessing our business on Amazon, and our research pointed to an opportunity to 10X our business over the next 36 months. We decided to get after it. We worked it hard, every day, every week. We committed to success. As the flywheel began to spin, we continued to feed it with more product and funding. Fast forward three years, we had grown our business 30X! Had we put a 10X limit on ourselves in the beginning, we might only have achieved that.