E17 – Situational Leadership with Jay Raham – Expert interview

 
 
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E17 – Situational Leadership: Interview With ‘The Magician’, Jay Raham

In this episode, I interview Jay Raham. Jay is an award-winning lecturer, consultant, and public speaker. With a vision to enhance the practice of leadership at a global level, so far he’s worked with 7000+ aspiring managers in Mauritius, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Morocco. He refers to himself as ‘The Magician’, creating magical moments impacting innovation, creativity, and sustainability. Recently, Jay has been pushing what he sees as ‘professional excellence’ to another level; achieving 5 Fellowships, a unique accomplishment taking his skill set to a new level and helping others to think outside of the box. Here, we discuss situational leadership.

Situational Leadership, Jay Raham

You Can Read the Transcript of Our Interview Below:

Nathan Simmonds:

Welcome to Sticky Interviews. I’m Nathan Simmonds, Senior Leadership Coach and Trainer for MBM, Making Business Matter, the home of Sticky Learning. We are the provider of leadership development and soft skills training to the grocery and manufacturing industry. The idea of these interviews is to share great ideas, great concepts and great ways these skills are being used to help you be the best version of you in the work that you do. Welcome to the show.

Nathan Simmonds:

We’re digging into some different territory with this next conversation. So I’ve got the pleasure of speaking to Jay Raham. We’ve had a bit of a conversation to and fro through LinkedIn. We’ve had a little bit of a look at each other’s leadership aspirations and we are both super-enthusiastic about leadership as a whole and have big visions about what we want to create and what, but I’m not going to spoil that part yet until we get into that. I’ll let Jay share that one.

Nathan Simmonds:

First of all, let me introduce him completely by some of his accolades and his current celebratory points along his journey. So he’s an award-winning lecturer, consultant and public speaker. He has the vision to enhance the practice of leadership at a global level and he’s already doing this through his training of aspiring managers in Mauritius, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Morocco which, in itself, is pretty astounding for any leadership trainer. In fact, he’s already clocking up over 7,000 leaders so far that he has supported, guided and mentored. Amongst all this, he’s also achieved five fellowships which, in itself, is a unique accomplishment. And one of the interesting places that he likes to start his conversations is about how he likes to introduce himself as the magician. But we’re going to get into that in a minute. We’re not going to cover that yet.

Nathan Simmonds:

But first of all, Jay, I just want to say a massive thank you for being here. Really appreciate you taking the time to have this conversation with us and develop up some of these ideas for the listeners. Thank you very much.

Nathan Simmonds:

So why do they call you, they don’t call you, I don’t think they call, I think you started this somewhere. Why do you call yourself the magician?

Jay Raham:

Before I got into that Nathan, I just want to say thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to come on the show and it’s always great to work with like-minded professionals and I appreciate you taking the time out and making this happen, so thank you.

Jay Raham:

So, going back to your question if you like Nathan and why I like to introduce myself as the magician. Sounds weird, bizarre, strange. People have said things in the past. But there’s a reason behind it; there’s an explanation behind it. And yes, it is part of my personal branding. And I believe it presents me in the best possible way. So the reason why I consider myself a magician, so with all my clients, it might be individuals I have developed from the leadership program over the years, what I like to do is create moments that allow them to find that inner voice, that confidence boost and then take that away with them to their office and experience those magical moments where they are able to inspire the team members, they are able to take them on an inspiring journey.

Jay Raham:

And also connect with their clients, their customers. So that is my explanation why I like to introduce myself as the magician. So if you ask me, I do like to create those moments where everyone in the session or an individual level, they feel there’s a positive energy to work with and there’s something to take away.

Nathan Simmonds:

That’s amazing. How much do you know about the Jungian archetypes?

Jay Raham:

Sorry, just say again, please?

Nathan Simmonds:

How much do you know about the Jung archetypes?

Jay Raham:

Not much.

Nathan Simmonds:

Good. So this is the interesting part of it, is Jung says there are four kinds of main archetypes. It’s the warrior, the king, the magician and the lover. And actually the magician is the creative energy. He comes up with new solutions, new ideas. He comes with that sort of energy. So even without you realizing it, you say you like to introduce yourself as a magician because you like to create these magic moments, but it is about that creation. So you’re channelling that inner-magician which, as you know, is a really nice thing. Whether you’re doing it consciously or subconsciously doesn’t matter. Because it’s all about the people in the room experiencing that, then carrying it and going and doing something different.

Nathan Simmonds:

And I also know about you is that you pride yourself on thinking outside of the box.

Jay Raham:

Yeah.

Nathan Simmonds:

Now, again, it’s that magician energy, that magician archetype that creates the new solutions of being outside of the box. That’s super important. So it’s really nice that you introduce yourself that way because it then sets kind of, not a precedent, you’re setting an intention about what you’re going to bring to that room, what you’re going to bring to your clients and what those people are going to carry when they walk out of that room as well. So that’s super important, I like that a lot.

Jay Raham:

Thank you for that. Something I have experienced with my interaction with my clients and learners and all the rest; it’s important to set the boundaries; it’s important to set the scene. And from my perspective, it’s always beneficial when I can share a little bit about my success, what I have achieved with regard to my journey and I do believe there is still so much more I would like to do and achieve over the years. But it’s a great way to get a reaction. I’ve had so many people asking, Jay, why do you call yourself the magician and I’m like, “Give me a minute and I’ll explain myself.”

Jay Raham:

And it’s interesting, once I’ve had the chance to explain and go over it, often people would approach me and say we really admire your confidence level. We admire the way you present yourself. And it makes sense. So it’s just a cliché. It is a part of me.

Nathan Simmonds:

Absolutely that. And I think it’s when you’re setting that intention as a trainer. And for us, it’s all about behavioural change and we’ll get into that later on. When we, as trainers and consultants, as speakers, walk into a room, we come with a reason. We come with a sense of purpose. We have our own internal dialogue. And when we walk into that room, we are going to do a certain kind of thing, in that space, based on what we’re bringing. That’s the reason why we were invited to that room. That’s why companies pay us, that’s why people invite us to speak and that do the thing, because we come with that reason.

Nathan Simmonds:

For me, my purpose, when I articulate, is I am challenging people’s thinking so they can become more incredible than yesterday. That’s the first words that come out of my mouth every morning and it’s the reason I get up. So when I walk into a training room and I tell people, I am going to challenge your thinking so that you can become more incredible than yesterday. And people look at me like, who’s this madman?

Nathan Simmonds:

And then, you can see some of the people, they’re like that. Oh, not sure about this fellow, what’s going on. And then I ask them, is it okay that I challenge your thinking so that you can become more incredible than yesterday. You know what, it’s a loaded question. I know what the answer’s going to be. If you say no, then you’re in the wrong room. But by doing that, you already prepare the room. You’re already creating that atmosphere, that ambience as you as the speaker and the trainer. So people can decide whether they’re going to buy into it. And then you go in because you’ve always set your bar, your expectation, you deliver your content and you want to bring people to that level, to that bar.

Jay Raham:

Absolutely.

Nathan Simmonds:

So when you turn up as the magician, you’re there to create magic. Do you know that? I love it. I think it’s genius.

Jay Raham:

It hasn’t let me down. It’s been with me for the last seven years.

Nathan Simmonds:

Nice.

Jay Raham:

And initially when I considered it, yes, it made me feel uncomfortable and I wasn’t too sure about myself. And I was on an interesting journey, partially I was developing myself and also looking at ways to enhance my brand, achieve awards and also build my credibility. But the last two years have been absolutely amazing with regard to achieving the fellowships. I believe I’m the only one in the UK who’s achieved five and my target is seven, so I’ve got two more I’m working towards.

Jay Raham:

So it’s been an interesting journey and over the years I’ve found greater confidence in the brand and why it’s become a part of me. So, yeah, it’s been an interesting journey.

Nathan Simmonds:

I think you have to discover who you are, almost. You have to go into that self-reflection. Who is it I’m bringing and what’s the reason I’m bringing it. But I think because we unlearn; we unlearn who we actually are through a course of time, through our experiences. And then it takes a little bit of getting used to step back into that power and own it and then go and do that thing. So, as you say, it’s a bit of a journey, it took me maybe two years to get really comfortable to say to people. And people say what do you do for a job. I help people become more incredible than yesterday. And they’re like oh oh.

Nathan Simmonds:

But you say it with such confidence that people go, “Ah, I’d like to do that as a job”. And they have no idea what you do. Because you come with that confidence, it’s almost like you’re taking off the jacket of the labels of other people and just being you. And being responsible in that.

Nathan Simmonds:

So, yes, it takes time to get comfortable with it, but the more people that get comfortable in that kind of understanding of themselves, the more incredible the world becomes.

Jay Raham:

Also, Nathan, on my part, I think it’s fair for me to thank my previous employers, so particularly the Royal Bank of Scotland. When I first moved into banking, my background prior to moving into learning and development was banking, and I worked with the Royal Bank of Scotland for ten years. As a young person, I didn’t have much confidence; I struggled with presentations; I struggled to interact with my clients, customers. It was great so an individual saw potential in me and decided to invest in me as a professional. They enhanced my communication skills. They gave me the exposure to work with clients on various projects and it’s an amazing journey. And going through that whole journey if you like, it gave me the opportunity to self-reflect and understand a lot more about myself as a person, as a professional.

Jay Raham:

And what I found, I loved working with individuals. I’m not someone who can be locked in an office and work on my own. Even with this whole lock-down, I’m struggling, because I love being around people. I love inspiring people. I love bringing the best out of people. That’s my style. That’s my approach.

Jay Raham:

But yeah, without the training, the guidance, the support, there’s no way I would be doing what I am doing with confidence and passion if it was not for that initial journey. So I am grateful to my previous employer, the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Nathan Simmonds:

Do you know what, unfortunately for me, it’s novel to hear that, that people say these sorts of things? You were in the right place, right people, the right environment and that were the Royal Bank of Scotland. Phenomenal. And you’ve had the right conversations. And I don’t think that sort of environment is that common. I don’t think it’s that regular from my viewpoint of it. Which is probably why you do what you and it’s why I do what I do. And I’ve said this to you previously. I came from the flip side of it. Yes, I was in banking; yes, I’ve been in lots of other businesses. But I had some of probably the worst managers and leaders and the worst environments. And it was frustrating. It was painful. I didn’t enjoy the process.

But at the same time, I’m 100% grateful for the experiences that I got from those people because I learned some of the most valuable leadership lessons from the most damaging leaders and managers. Because I had that ability to self-reflect myself. For me, that’s one of the key traits of a good leader or someone that is working in leadership, is that ability to reflect and develop from that. Super important. And it’s nice and novel and refreshing to hear that you’ve had that growth and that potential seen in you early on as well.

Jay Raham:

Yeah, and also the clients, or the customers, they played a massive part. I can look back and reflect on situations where a customer would just walk in on a Monday morning. Jay, how’s your weekend? We just want to have a chat with you. It’s bizarre considering someone would come in just to see you as a person, just to see your face. And there have been situations where clients have opened up about their own vulnerabilities and I had to push them back and say, “I’m really sorry, I’m not a qualified counsellor. We shouldn’t really be having these discussions. I’m here to try to sell you some financial products”. This is not part of the package if you like.

Jay Raham:

And yeah, it’s just been interesting and I’m just excited in terms of what’s ahead for me with my vision and what I would like to do. It’s been a great journey for me, the last 27 years.

Nathan Simmonds:

But even in you saying that there are, not red flags is wrong, there are alarm bells that are ringing, or people are asking you this stuff and approaching you with this stuff. For me, that’s kind of tell-tale signs that there is a direction that you’re designed to be going when people start sharing that sort of thing with you, that you’re propagating this skill set where you magnetize people to you because they need that support, that guidance, that magic energy or whatever.

Nathan Simmonds:

The other point I think, as a leader, as a manager, maybe people only see that in reflection. But as another element of the leadership, and we’ll talk about this in a minute, is being able to see that in your people and understanding actually, let’s see what that skills. Let’s see what their unique superpower is, their USP, and help them to foster and develop that for them as an individual. Yes, inside our business but also for them and their long term growth which may be outside of this organization and doing something completely different, rather than trying to keep them in this team and stifled and suffocated.

Jay Raham:

Yeah, and you have made a very valuable point Nathan. Something I like to do with my clients; I promote this concept around the dream team. So it’s not just developing a team, it’s developing the dream team, a team that looks out for the organization’s best interests. A team that’s eager to move their organization forward. And often management or leaders would say there’s a lot of work that needs to go into it and we need to invest in training and all the rest, but actually it’s not true.

What’s important is respect. It’s making a team feel valued. It’s making the team members feel appreciated and also every now and then, just saying appreciate your work, thank you very much for helping me out and it’s great to have you as part of the team. That’s all it is. It’s creating this atmosphere where people feel this sense of belonging. We feel we’re family. We’re one unit.

Jay Raham:

It’s something we Brits lack is creating this atmosphere around families. If you think about the American companies, they’re very passionate when it comes to creating this whole environment where everyone feels they’re part of the unit, part of the family, there’s a purpose, a sense of belonging. It’s amazing. It fascinates me. And there’s just so much scope in terms of developing professionals and helping them up their game. It’s amazing in terms of opportunities.

Nathan Simmonds:

It is. And you talk about the family thing and I talk about this, I’m not sure with you, but [inaudible 00:17:00] when I’m training; is when I’m leading a team, I treat the people in my team like they are my children, not like a child. Now, this is your work family and they could be… I’ve worked with people that are 66, 67 years old and they are still my work children. I look after them and nurture them because I want them to develop. I get the same sense of parental pride when they succeed and they go and do something.

The same sense of parental shame when they make a mistake or make an error to a customer. I get that same sensation. We spend more time at work than we do perhaps at home with our real families. So these are the people that you need to be building bonds with and relating with and getting excited about. Because we don’t go home and talk about the number of toilet rolls we sold or the number of burgers. We don’t though do we? Instead, we talk about the conversations we have with people. Talk about what Bob did or what Jane did or how you helped a customer overcome the problem because they were stuck roadside. Whatever. That’s what you talk about. It’s the relationships that we build and that’s-

Jay Raham:

Absolutely.

Nathan Simmonds:

Look, we’re going in 15 different ways from Sunday on this, so look, I’m keen to get more of this information but let’s make it really pinpointed and focused. For you, what is the greatest quality a leader needs to develop?

Jay Raham:

Emotional intelligence.

Nathan Simmonds:

Boom. Okay, go. Tell me more.

Jay Raham:

See, what I’ve found from my own research, when it comes to managers, almost 80% of managers lack emotional intelligence. And what that basically means is, having the ability to read your own vulnerabilities and appreciate how your behaviour could impact everyone around you, so effectively, your team members. And if we consider the current situation with the whole Corona Virus outbreak, there’s a good possibility once we’re able to deal with this and get through the process, remote working would take off. That’s my belief.

That’s what I passionately think or believe will happen. And there’ll be a bigger emphasis on connecting digitally with our colleagues, our team members, so for example, WebEx, Zoom and all the rest. It’s absolutely necessary for managers and leaders to be aware of how their behaviour could impact. If you’re in a business environment, it’s very easy for you to assess your own behaviour, for example, our body language. If someone reacts or demonstrates confusion, it creates the opportunity for us to challenge our behaviour, but when it’s all digital, there’s no webcam or camera involved, we’re not necessarily aware of our behaviour.

Jay Raham:

So for me, emotional intelligence plays a big part. It’s also looking at how we develop our relationships with everyone around us. Not just work colleagues and family and friends, but everyone. We’re human. Everyone that allow us to progress and become who we are. So, for me, it’s about taking ownership. It’s about appreciating our own vulnerabilities. There’s room for improvement regardless of how established we are in our careers, our job, our profession. There’s always the gap we need to explore.

Jay Raham:

So yeah, for me, it’s the most important aspect of leadership that needs to be developed, emotional intelligence.

Nathan Simmonds:

And it’s interesting you talk about the gap. And I think there is, when we’re goal setting, if I set my goal for three, five, 10 years or whatever and I start to evolve as a person, because it’s not about achieving the goal, it’s about the person you have to become in order to make the goal a reality. But as you start to evolve, so does your goal. So in truth, yes you do achieve the goal, but you don’t because your goal is on this conveyor belt which is constantly in front of you. And it’s not that there’s a gap, it’s just that you’re developing as an individual so there is always that one degree of improvement, that one percent change that you can make that gets a better result. There is the word that you could change, the approach that you could use.

Nathan Simmonds:

And it’s having the ability, that self-reflection that you mentioned earlier, being emotionally savvy. How did I feel when I had this conversation with that person? What emotions came up for me when I said that? Oh, I saw they weren’t happy. I didn’t feel good. Having that ability to see and to feel yourself and it’s going to be conscious of what and who you’re bringing to that conversation and then go and do the reflection piece. Then go and make the improvement if you need to apologize, apologize. Hold your hands up and say, “I made a mistake”. Ask them how you could make it better for the next time.

Jay Raham:

Yep. Absolutely. Also, 2018, the Chartered Management Institute carried out research on the competencies of management and management figures. What they found, which inspired me at the time, more than 80% of managers are accidental managers. And often when I share this topic with my clients, my learners, people react very negatively. Jay, we’ve worked very hard to get to where we are. We believe we’re good managers and all the rest. And it motivates me just to demonstrate some weaknesses within their own behaviour, the abilities. But this research, I found it inspiring and it encouraged me to push myself, to do a lot more, hence I decided to develop myself at the highest possible level so recently I’ve completed my level seven Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership with the Chartered Management Institute.

Jay Raham:

I’ll be starting my Masters in September. So I’ll be doing that in Leadership and Management. And my long term goal is to achieve my PhD in management so in leadership. So, again, it’s having that visibility and pushing yourself.

Nathan Simmonds:

Yep, agreed.

Nathan Simmonds:

For me when I did my coaching degree, I knew that technically you don’t need a degree. You’ve got a qualification in coaching. There were plenty of coaches out there that say I’m a coach. Some of them do a good job. Some of them do a debatable job. But for me, it’s the process of going through the qualification that made the difference. For me it was doing the research and writing the essays and reflecting on what I thought I knew, what I didn’t know and breaking some of those disbeliefs, those misnomers down.

Nathan Simmonds:

But then also going through the process of doing the coaching hours. So going and documenting a hundred hours of coaching, reflecting on it, refining it, seeing what. And again, it comes back to that reflection. That emotional intelligence piece. I didn’t need to do the qualification, but as a result of doing the qualification, I am fundamentally a different kind of person, a genetic level, as a result of going through that process.

Nathan Simmonds:

So when you talk about you’re going to do a PhD in this, the level of depth you go into, the understanding that you get out of that, the opportunity to break theories down and come at things from different angles and shift other people’s perspectives, while you’re going through that process, is phenomenally powerful.

Jay Raham:

Something I’ll quickly share. It’s just a quote I work with a lot. And I just can’t remember the name of the gentleman now, it’s Arnold something. Apologies but it’s just gone now. But all it is, it’s just a minor quote. And it says a good leader is someone who is willing to take responsibility when things are not going well and also not always looking at taking the credits. So it’s more about the team as opposed to the leader. I’m sure his name will come back to me; it’s just gone now. Ah, that’s it. Arnold Glasow.

Nathan Simmonds:

Nice. And it’s not about being self-deprecating. It comes back to that Newton quote, about being the giant. The only reason I could see so far is that I stood on the shoulder of giants. As a leader, it’s about being the giant, yes, but enabling people to climb up on your shoulders so that can see further than you ever did. And I say this a million times when you have children, no parent in their right mind wants their child to be equal to or less than them. No way, shape or form. You want your children to supersede you. You want them to have a bigger house than you. To be more successful than you and have a bigger impact. All of that stuff.

Nathan Simmonds:

And it’s the same when we’re as leaders when we suddenly get out of our own way and get out of our own ego and go, “Do you know what, there’s a set of shoulders here, climb up, let’s see how far you want to go”.

Jay Raham:

Yep, makes sense. Valuable. Absolutely.

Nathan Simmonds:

Yeah. I love your thinking and I love the depth at which you’re willing to go. The depth at which you’re willing to go with your time to invest in this subject for so many people. Because that’s what makes the difference.

Jay Raham:

There are also other motives behind that. There are motives behind, for example, my vision which I’ll share when you would like me to share.

Nathan Simmonds:

You share when it’s appropriate for you.

Jay Raham:

Well, my vision is, in the next seven years, I would like to reach seven million leaders across the world. And I am working on an exciting project at the moment that would allow me to connect with my, not clients, but with the professionals in terms of developing them. And I am confident, I’m not going to talk too much about my concept, I’m still working on it. But in terms of what I have in mind, it would be a unique concept and the reason why I’ve given myself seven years, I would like to achieve a Professor’s title before I roll out the program. For me, it’s important to have that credential, the reputation behind the program, the process and all the rest.

Jay Raham:

So effectively, it would be a digital platform. It would be very different to what we know. And I am excited about the scope. I am confident I’ll hit my mark. Seven years, seven million clients across the world. No big deal. We’ll get there. That’s my vision, that’s my thinking.

Nathan Simmonds:

And for me when I talk to people about goal setting, is the only difference between a small idea and a big idea, is the limit to which you apply in your own head. And then it’s understanding well, it’s not the goal, it’s about the person I have to become. It’s not the goal, it’s about the emotions I want to feel when I get to there and then you start to build those emotions now, which turns you into that person from the inside out, so it makes the goal a reality.

Jay Raham:

Absolutely. And it just means, sorry, it just means I can more passionately go around promoting the whole concept around being a magician.

Nathan Simmonds:

Yeah. And for me, I talk about setting big goals and stuff, but in truth, even if you didn’t hit seven million people, for whatever reason in the next seven years, and you fell short and you only got 50% and you only got to 3.5 million, would the world be a better place as a result?

Jay Raham:

100%.

Nathan Simmonds:

So you’d be crazy not to aim for seven million. If you aim for 3.5 million, maybe you only get one. You aim for the seven, maybe you’re still head and shoulders above where anywhere you were previously.

Jay Raham:

Yeah, yeah. The reason why I am feeling confident, so over the last few weeks, a lot of professionals have approached me and we’ve had discussions around developing individuals and some of the ideas I’ve shared, people have come back and said “Oh Jay, this is amazing. It’s so simple yet it’s amazing”. And my argument is its simplicity that’s the most effective. It’s not important to make it all fancy and complicated. It’s simplicity. For me, it’s the mass market. It’s targeting effectively everyone, not just being specific. And therefore the process I have in mind. It’s a very simple concept but it would just change the landscape.

Nathan Simmonds:

Nice.

Jay Raham:

I wish I could share a lot more with you, but because I’m also trying to keep it as protected as possible, but as the years progress, yes, it will become more visible in terms of sharing it with the wider audience.

Nathan Simmonds:

And I hope so too. And why? Because I look at the concept that, you know, there’s 95% of the world probably have no idea that they have a sense of purpose, let alone know where they’re going. And even if you know, with 95/98%, even if you could shift that by 1%, how different would the world be? How different would civilization be, humanity be?

Nathan Simmonds:

When you’re aiming at, say, seven million people, what happens when you raise their consciousness? And you may do this as well, but I talk about internal leadership as well as external leadership. If you cannot lead yourself, you cannot lead anybody. If you cannot take the lead on an interview, you’re not going to get promoted and if you’re not going to get promoted, you’re not… And it’s just changing these dynamics one step at a time.

Nathan Simmonds:

So we are all visionary leaders if we choose to tap into it. At some point, we have the skill set. So the more people that you can get to to get this internal view, this internal dialogue, the more people raise their game, civilization changes as a whole. And I don’t think that’s too big an ask to be honest.

Jay Raham:

No, and also, just relating back to what you’ve just said, Nathan. It’s also important for us to become role models. So if I’m not able to inspire myself, how can I possibly inspire the people around me.

Nathan Simmonds:

Hell yes.

Jay Raham:

And for me, when I talk about inspiring, and I appreciate different individuals have different goals, different definition around success, my motive is not to make money or become a millionaire or anything like that. It’s just to make this world a better place from a leadership perspective. And when we talk about connecting with our team members, our fellow colleagues, like you said earlier on, we spend so much time with them, why not make their existence purposeful? Why not make it fun for them? So they look back and they say, “Jay, I’ve got your back”.

Nathan Simmonds:

And for me, when you look at the size of that goal, for me my goal is big. I’ve said a hundred million people. I’m not just saying this kind of to… You’ve got seven years. My life goal is a hundred million people, to positively and successfully influence the growth and development of one hundred million people, through my coaching and training.

The reason I share this part, is I had aspirations to be walking on stage, I could see the vision, me walking on stage, audience of 15,000 people, having this… I found that my kind of goal has changed shape, the more that I’ve evolved, the more that my thinking has shifted. And actually I see myself in front of an audience of 15 people. And that audience of 15 people are people that think radically different that have big goals that I can then work with that helps them to go and impact the millions of people.

Jay Raham:

Absolutely. Sounds good.

Nathan Simmonds:

But like you say, that impact of one person could mean something totally different to someone else. Their vehicle to make it happen as well is completely different. For some it’s a coach, for some it’s a hairdresser. Different worlds.

Jay Raham:

Also, for me Nathan, it’s important to give the individuals, and when I say the individuals, the managers, the leaders, the confidence to go on and achieve greater success. So just to give you an example. Someone I worked with for the last three years in terms of developing this individual, working on the confidence level.

So this individual was someone who was relatively new to management, considering it’s been a three years’ journey, this individual has moved into a senior position with a reputable company. And, for me, the passion, the excitement, the buzz you feel, you can’t put a financial value to it. As a banker, there was a stage where I cared about just bonuses. It was about hitting the targets and it was about having that lifestyle, this dreamy lifestyle. You go on holidays and you drive a nice car. You do what was required at the time. Going to expensive bars and all the rest.

Jay Raham:

And yes, I have had the opportunity to live that life. But what matters to me the most is the influence, the impact, the vision how I can change the world as a wider community. And also, make the commercial environment more feasible, going forward.

Nathan Simmonds:

It’s helping build too to plug into that internal leadership, so they go and excel. It’s commercially viable for them. They can create their own business, their own impact. And again, as leaders and coaches and trainers or whatever, we get them to plug in that so then we can do more of that. And get that loop or that commercial loop of reciprocity that keeps it going so you can impact and connect with more people.

Nathan Simmonds:

I want to continue that train of thought, so for you, and I know we touched on a couple previously, what are the top three traits for leadership?

Jay Raham:

Well the first one for me is having a vision or someone who’s visionary. And with visionary, comes the whole aspect around inspiring the people around you. So naturally, when we’re in difficult situations, we look for opportunities to admire someone who would just stand out from the crowd and take us on an interesting journey; help us achieve our goals.

Jay Raham:

So for me the first one is someone who’s visionary. When I say visionary, they need to have the emotional intelligence to appreciate the wider picture and also the wider audience and be prepared to take responsibility. So if things don’t go well, it’s important to put your hand up and say, actually, this is not working, it just means we need to re-evaluate our strategy, come up with a new game plan and move in the right direction. So the first one, having the vision or being visionary.

Jay Raham:

The second one for me is communication. And without communication, as a team, as a business, as an organization, we cannot progress. For me, it’s keeping it simple. And that means to avoid using business jargon. Sometimes as managers, as leaders, we emphasize keywords or buzz words. But we need to think about the wider audience. And it’s also going back to the emotional intelligence piece, what impact will this have, my behavior, on everyone around me. So that’s the second one for me.

Jay Raham:

And then the last one is accountability. As managers, as leaders, we need to be able to take a step back and appreciate when our own vulnerabilities, our mistakes, and also approach our team members for help. We can’t possibly have answers to every possible question. It just makes it more exciting and more rewarding when we work as part of a team.

Jay Raham:

So just to give you an example, if someone’s developing an idea, let’s not knock their confidence. Let’s give them the motivation to develop this idea. What’s your thinking? What’s your rationale? Tell me a little bit more. What is the impact behind your thinking? So we don’t necessarily need to take away the concept, it’s just enhancing the discussions.

Nathan Simmonds:

Absolutely, yes. And it would be remiss of me not to mention that now in the interview, is asking the right questions. And at MBM, we’ve created some new coaching cards. One is the coaching deck, so you’ve got core coaching questions from the GROW coaching model. And we’ve also got a leadership deck that I put together which helps you to do the self-reflection, helps you to see where you’re going, helps you to see what the obstacles are that are going to come downstream. But then also create solutions with your team, with yourself. Who to ask questions for, who to bring into. Because as a leader, we’re not designed to have all the answers.

Nathan Simmonds:

Now good leadership is about making sure you’ve got the people with the right capabilities when you don’t have the answers and making those people feel included and bringing them in. And then also helping them with those coaching questions, to challenge in the right way, so that the person can see maybe the gaps in thinking because they haven’t had that level of learning yet. And then they can develop the thinking themselves, come up with their own solutions. It’s still their idea. It’s your responsibility as a leader to remove the obstacles by asking the right questions so that person finds a solution for themselves. And then they will go on to do greater things than you do. That is phenomenally powerful. Vision, responsibility; I’ve put responsibility down there as well. And communication. And accountability. Huge. They’re absolutely vital. Good.

Jay Raham:

Yeah. It’s just what I believe in as a professional and also I’ve seen the impact it has had on me as a professional. So it’s always beneficial and valuable when I can share my experiences with my audience, the clients, the learners and demonstrate how my vulnerabilities have guided me to achieve greater success. So appreciate my vulnerabilities. Developing a strategy to overcome that and then looking at the impact with regard to the journey.

Jay Raham:

We have to be realistic as professionals. I’m not trying to create this unrealistic dream, vision, ideas. We need to keep it real.

Nathan Simmonds:

For me, there’s two elements. One is, I learnt this a few years ago, the thing that you lack is the thing that you’re meant to give. So the thing that I always lacked was actually someone to challenge back. So I was there, the very strong character, always pushing and I wanted someone to push back, within the right assertion to challenge my thinking, to help me become more incredible. I never had that. I was always seeking it.

Nathan Simmonds:

And from the other side of your story. You saw the benefits, you got exactly what you needed. Potentially, there may have been a lack of that elsewhere. You got that from that environment and it’s just nurtured you to step up into that and move that forward. And I think that, in itself, is powerful because then you can see how important it is. For me, I see how important challenge is. Challenge is absolutely necessary to thrive. You can’t do anything without that friction, without that positive friction. But like you say, for yourself, is looking at that, having that vision, having that communication, having that accountability, being able to bring that up.

Nathan Simmonds:

I think with the goal side of things for me is, I think people do need the big goals and I think they do need a certain level of tension. But they also need to have an understanding. They also need to have the comprehension of themselves, how they just take the steps and how they keep moving towards it, and how they build it.

Jay Raham:

Yeah, absolutely.

Nathan Simmonds:

And for me with a leader, it’s that leadership by proximity. It’s that being there, catching them getting it right, saying thank you at the right time. As you said before, that appreciation. Nurturing their ideas and nurturing them. So that they feel like they can go and do something different as a result of your relationship.

Nathan Simmonds:

For me, listening to your story, had you not had those things, or you had the opposite, it could have been a very different journey.

Nathan Simmonds:

What makes a true leader?

Jay Raham:

For me, it’s respect. For me that’s the key word. When you treat everyone as people, as humans around you and demonstrate genuine respect, not just from a business perspective, but just on a social level, just being friendly, open-minded, willing to listen to what people would like to share.

Jay Raham:

So for me, it’s creating those moments, the opportunity. I had my moment with these individuals, these professionals and it’s amazing what I have achieved over the last 27 years. So for me, it’s having that quality moment with your team members where you demonstrate you are genuinely interested in their well-being. Not just from a business perspective, but also on a personal level. And to me, that says respect.

Nathan Simmonds:

I’m going to put you on the spot. What’s the one thing that you remember one of your mentors/guides saying that you still remember now to this date.

Jay Raham:

Learning is a never-ending journey and there’s always room for improvement. Hence I love pushing myself. Last two years I’ve completed 15 professional qualifications. And between now and the next seven years, I’ve got 27 courses in mind. I have pencilled out. So for me, it’s that piece. Learning is a never-ending journey and the more I’m able to acquire just means the more I’m able to share with my audience, my learners, my clients. So, yeah, I still remember. And it was actually Mr Brankin who said that, my English teacher. He said, “Jay, learning is a never-ending”. So yeah, it’s bizarre I still remember.

Nathan Simmonds:

And there was a reason why I say that. Talking about what makes a true leader. It’s being aware, for me, that there are things that people who are listening to this are saying today that will be repeated in 20 years’ time. And having the comprehension of how powerful your own words are when you’re sharing them with someone else. And the imprint and the impact that it makes on that person.

Nathan Simmonds:

And it’s curious you say that. You say about the number of qualifications. You say about the professorship. The fellowships that go with that. And that’s the one quote you remember. So, for me, that massively hyper-punctuates the whole Jay experience.

Jay Raham:

I remind myself and I have tried to reach out to this individual, just to show how much I love this person as a human being. If it was not for this individual not being in my life at that point, clearly, it would have been different.

I have also gone back to my school and have asked the headteacher if I could possibly have access to the email address and because of data protection and all the rest, they said, “Jay, it’s not something we can share”. I’ve also tried to reach out to this individual on Facebook, Twitter. Haven’t had any success. But I just want to remember him for what he has done for me as a person. And he has inspired me to push my boundaries and convince myself if you have vision, if you have a strategy, that there’s nothing to stop you from living your dream or your dreams.

Jay Raham:

And for me, it’s a never-ending journey. And also the reason why I said respect if you Google the subject, there are various concepts that come up. But for me, it’s for my own perspective, based on my own experiences and what I have found, when you demonstrate respect to the audience around you, it’s amazing what you can, in terms of the reaction you get. So that’s my buzz word, my key word.

Nathan Simmonds:

As I say, it’s not even a buzz word. You know what. These buzz words, they come and go. At the same time, respect is absolutely vital, critical and very necessary in everything that we do. Respecting people for taking the time to invest in sharing their time with you, because time is one of the most valuable commodities we have. For the respect in them for engaging with you and giving you their attention. And also for helping you carry that message because the more respect we give to them for that, the more likely they are to carry that message out and go and touch somebody else with it.

Jay Raham:

Absolutely.

Nathan Simmonds:

And I think failure to capture that as a thought leader, even as a trainer or coach, or even just a leader in a team, because your audience is your team, you’re going to miss out, massively.

Jay Raham:

Something else I’ll quickly add with regard to my personal branding. I also had something else in mind which was a Messiah. And the reason why I haven’t used it as actively as I wanted to is the risk of offending people. But if we put religion to aside and if we just look at the concept as it is, the Messiah is an individual who’s knowledgeable and is someone who guides people to choose between the good and the bad. And as a professional, that’s exactly what I do. That’s exactly what I do.

I did a workshop in Singapore and I introduced myself as the Messiah of leadership. And quite a few people reacted negatively and challenged me. Again, it got me excited. And then I explained my vision, my way of doing things. And it’s really bizarre. By the end of it, I had 57 aspiring managers and leaders in this workshop, and again, it was while I was on holiday. They all stayed back after and asked me if they could have my email and my LinkedIn profile. And it’s amazing. But for me, magician is the safe option. I don’t want to offend anyone.

Nathan Simmonds:

For sure. But then, again, it comes back to those archetypes. Actually when they talk about Messiah, and it’s Robert Moore. You would love this book by the way. If you haven’t read this you need to get into the book. The audio is on YouTube free so I think the book’s quite old now. It’s called The King, The Warrior, The Magician, The Lover, something along those lines. And it talks about when you get into the depth of the king, he talks about the Messiah.

He talks about Christo in a Christian archetypes and ideas and stuff. And add to that Messiah, I think when he breaks down the definition of it, it means king. It doesn’t mean as in Christ, it actually means the king archetype, the king energy. So getting into that personification. But it’s the connotation that people apply to this stuff that causes power. You could flip that on its head and go completely controversial and say Adolf Hitler was a great leader. He was phenomenal at creating a movement and inspiring people to move. Doesn’t make him mentally sound or a nice person. Leadership capacity, phenomenally powerful.

Nathan Simmonds:

Again, it comes to that connotation that goes with those moments and making sure that we’re tailoring that response and gearing people up. Yeah, I want to create a challenge. I want to create friction. And in doing so, I know where that’s going to go to. There’ll be a couple of bumps and there’ll be a couple of people that don’t like it at the start. But then you start to get that engagement of people within that space. Ah.

Nathan Simmonds:

Loving this conversation Jay. Look, penultimate question.

Jay Raham:

Yeah.

Nathan Simmonds:

How-

Jay Raham:

Go easy on me. Don’t put me on the spot now, go easy on me.

Nathan Simmonds:

How do you make a behavioral change stick?

Jay Raham:

My vision.

Nathan Simmonds:

Nice.

Jay Raham:

So, for me, and it’s not just my vision, but for anyone, if you have a vision in mind you realize you constantly have to challenge your behaviour. And because of this concept, this philosophy, it stays with you. I have met a lot of individuals, professionals too, have said we don’t like change and we’re very set in our own ways and all the rest. But let’s just take this COVID-19 for example.

If we look at the nation as a whole, there are so many professionals working from home, given a choice, maybe six months back, it would have been a no-go area, something there’s no way we would consider, but environments force us to change our behaviour to try new things, to adapt. It’s about survival. So, for me, it’s my vision. Personally, for me, from my perspective, it’s my vision. From an audience’s perspective, it’s what motivates them. It’s the end goal that’s attached to the vision, the dream, the objectives, the SMART objective, whatever that it is. That’s what drives it for me. The vision.

Nathan Simmonds:

It’s having that stake in the ground. It’s having a flag. You create an idea and it’s then having the flexibility and resourcefulness that sometimes when you want to get there, maybe the river turns left when you thought you were going to go right, but you still know where you’re going. You still have an understanding that there’s going to be a flow, that there’s going to be something that happens. Oh, this curve means that now I can actually incorporate this. And I can include this. But you’ve got the flag in the sand; you know where you’re going and you move to it. And people will make a decision. I believe in Jay, I’m going to help him get there. I don’t believe in Jay; Or, I think he’s full of something and I’m not going to go with him.

Nathan Simmonds:

But you give people the opportunity to make that decision and then through that conviction, through that energy, through that ownership of who you are when you come to that equation, boom. Then people can make a decision. And more people will make a decision to go with you based on that if you know who you are as that leader.

Jay Raham:

Yeah, absolutely. And I get excited when people challenge me. It’s an opportunity for me to demonstrate how good I am and how I can inspire them. I’ve been in situations where people have said, “Jay, how can you be so arrogant”. And I will say I’m not arrogant, I’m confident. There’s a difference. Because of my success, because of what I have done, if I never had this self-confidence, this self-belief, there’s no way I would have achieved a quarter of what I have achieved. And I’m not just talking from a financial perspective.

I’m talking about my own personal development, fellowships, education. Also the impact I’ve had on so many professional clients. Every workshop, there’s always some learners who stay back and say, “Jay, I just want to say you’ve been great, you inspire me, you motivate me”. And I’ll say “Oh, just put in an email to my line manager. Who knows, I might get a pay rise out of this”. So let’s just be creative. But again, it’s having that vision, having that self-belief. Otherwise, what is the point of doing what we do if we can’t achieve success if we can’t help people progress and become a better version of a professional figure?

Nathan Simmonds:

Hm-mm-hmm (affirmative). Agreed, on so many different points.

Nathan Simmonds:

Jay, last question. This is the easy one. And you’ll definitely, and I would hope you definitely have the answers to this one.

Nathan Simmonds:

Where can people find you?

Jay Raham:

LinkedIn. Moybur Raham 2020.

Nathan Simmonds:

Wonderful. We’ll get that in the credits underneath so you can see, you get the LinkedIn details and the connection details to Jay. And people call him Jay, his real name is Moybur Raham. Everyone calls him Jay. I get to call him a friend now because this is just phenomenal. We’re having a lot of fun doing this. This is amazing. Thank you.

Jay Raham:

Thank you.

Nathan Simmonds:

Thank you, Jay.

Jay Raham:

No, thank you. Honestly, it’s been a pleasure for me and I think it’s great we both have bounced off each other and for me that’s inspiring. It just demonstrates we both are heading in the right direction professionally. From a leadership perspective, there’s also that social connection. If you’re not able to connect with your audience, how do you move forward? So I just want to say thank you for the opportunity, Nathan. It’s been great to come on and talk about what I love doing, my passion.

Nathan Simmonds:

I was going to say, it’s hard life isn’t it, talking about what you love doing.

Nathan Simmonds:

So look, for the people listening to this, I just want to say thank you very much for your time. I and we respect you taking the time to listen to this interview. Deeply appreciate it. Go and dig in. Have a look at the work of what Jay’s doing. Go and find out about the fellowships that he’s involved in. Look at the research that he’s doing. Invest some of your time into your own development to be in his space. And go and ask him some questions. This man is curious about his own abilities and his own beliefs and his own capabilities in the leadership domain. And with that in mind, he wants people to be curious about theirs with him as well.

Nathan Simmonds:

So I encourage you, connect, speak, ask questions. See what’s going on. And learn from this fountain of knowledge that’s going to help you be a better leader. Get some of that magic energy. Go and experience what the magician’s got to do because I’m sure he’s pulling more than birds out of his top hat, okay?

Nathan Simmonds:

We’re having fun. It’s good. Jay, look, thanks very much for today. Everybody, thanks very much for your time. We’ll see you at the next interview.

Nathan Simmonds:

Firstly, massive thank you from the MBM team for tuning into this Sticky Interview. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to click subscribe and stay up to date with our new training videos and great interviews. And secondly, if you want to learn more about the skills we’ve been talking about in this episode, click the link and take a look at the MBM virtual classrooms. They’re there to help you be the best version of you in the work that you do. Until next time, see you soon.


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