There’s a lot that goes into being a good leader. If your team isn’t confident in you, if they feel they can’t rely on you or trust you, you will not be a success. Ryan Eudy, CEO at ej4, believes that good leaders need to continue developing themselves and challenging themselves, so they can continue to be a success. Being observant and a good listener is another aspect that defines a leader. According to Ryan, you need to know what’s going on in your organization before you make reactionary decisions without all of the facts.
Starting as an Account Manager at ej4, Ryan was one of the first employees in the company. Ryan took a risk with leaving the job he knew and was successful at to try something new: a startup. What really convinced Ryan was the product and the confidence of the owner. When they started in 2004, delivery of video over the Internet was a complicated process. Bandwidth wasn’t as readily available as it is today. Hence, for the business to be successful, they had to come up with a solution to get their product to market and grow their business. It was exciting times for the company, being the trailblazers. As the Internet evolves, ej4 works to stay ahead of changes in the technology.
Strong Belief in His Values
Being involved in every decision is not realistic for Ryan. He understands that his ability to lead the organization impacts the customers, partners, employees, and their families. Ryan believes his team is empowered to make business decisions on a daily basis and they know when to ask for his input. Ryan found that the key is to have a strong belief in your values and to focus on everyone’s best interest that are involved.
Video-based eLearning Platform
ej4 was founded to replace expensive, long, and ineffective leader-led training with short, tactical video-based e-Learning that could be viewed any time at any place. The company focused on the four “j’s” (just as needed, just enough, just in time, and just right). Since then, ej4 has transformed into an e-Learning powerhouse, creating over 500 videos per year through customer projects and consistent updates of their off-the-shelf library.
ej4 has been growing every year, through the hard work and dedication of the employees, growing their business substantially. Currently, their turnover is low, and together they are working towards the same goal, to continue their growth because everyone is an integral part of this organization and takes pride in their jobs and ej4 products.
Empowering His Employees
Having held every position in the company, Ryan has an understanding of his employee’s day-to-day activities, that helps him to connect with them on a personal and professional level. Ryan likes to lead by example and empower employees to make their own decisions. Ryan says, “ My employees know that I’m not asking them to do anything I wouldn’t be willing to do myself.”
Inspired by His Father
Like many kids, Ryan looked up to his dad for inspiration, which he still does. He says, “My father was a hard worker and had a great work ethic that he instilled in me. Growing up, he always worked hard to make sure we were happy and healthy.” It wasn’t until Ryan grew older and had kids of his own that he realized all the sacrifices his father made for him and his family. Ryan still drives himself to make his father proud and live up to his legacy while providing for his family and ej4’s employees.
Continually Growing Himself
Growing himself to become a better leader, Ryan thinks that continued development is important. One of the activities he participates is in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). Through EO Ryan meet with a group of diverse business leaders monthly, and shares experiences on personal and business matters. Having the ear of other like-minded individuals helps Ryan continue to grow and think of solutions that are outside the box.
Hiring the Right People
To keep employees in an organization inspired and moving forward, Ryan believes in hiring the right people with right attitude and aptitude. He thinks what inspires one might not inspire another. As ej4 has had rapid growth, with it comes confusion and ambiguity. Hence, this year the company has implemented scorecards for each department. By defining roles and responsibilities and outlining what success looks like, their employees are empowered to make decisions that will lead to their growth and ej4’s simultaneously. Ryan’s job as a leader is to set realistic goals, give them the tools and resources they need to be successful, and then get out of their way. Ryan strives to make ej4 a place where people want to work.
According to Ryan, the most pressing challenges the industry is facing is talent management, recruiting top talent, developing employees, and creating a succession plan. The economy has changed a lot in the last 10 years, and the demand is higher than the supply. So attracting and retaining the right people is a big challenge.
Counseling those Who Are Beginning Leadership Roles
Ryan thinks that there’s a lot of emotion involved when people first get into leadership. For most people, this is what they’ve been working for throughout their career. People get caught up in that and think they have to act a certain way or show their authority. What they’ve forgotten is that it was all the years of hard work that got them to this point. They know what to do, they just forget. Ryan suggests taking it easy. He says,“Mistakes will happen! Not everything will run as smoothly as you envisioned. Always listen to your people.”
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