Linked In Leadership: An Exchange with Cyril Rayan

You know I meet a number of interesting people through blogging and other social media. The diversity of backgrounds and perspectives never ceases to impress me. Invariably when you really consider what others are saying you can find common ground and find ways to agree. Our next guest fits this sentiment to a T. Cyril Rayan is an author, entrepreneur, and professor from San Francisco. We will get to his response on leadership development in a moment but I first wanted to share that Cyril recently wrote a book on leadership that frankly I want to read. He calls his book Moving From Vision To Reality

I cannot tell you much about it yet but I plan to get a hold of it and review it for our audience here at develop a leader dot com. Cyril also maintains a leadership blog you might want to check out over at
It seems that Cyril is picking up on the conversation over at his blog and has expanded on his original answer to the linked in question. I love it when things spiral upward into meaningful conversation.

So what advice did Cyril offer?

Rather than give it to you verbatim, I would like to pick up on the themes he offers as I found them highly appropriate to our conversation.


“Read leadership books”

Cyril offers the advice of reading leadership books. This coupled with practical application is a powerful method of developing yourself as a leader. Do not forget about the application part though. Many people read books talk about them for a while and then that’s it… Somehow some way they magically turn into a great leader, or at least that is what their actions suggest. The benefit of any knowledge is in the application. The part where book smarts become grounded personal experience. Cyril reiterates this point later in his advice when he shares; “Listen to great speeches, Do public speaking.” Great advice actually. A leader must have the ability to clearly communicate, this is a core aspect of their ability to persuade and convince others.


Now comes the advice that compelled me to ask Cyril if I could quote him.

“Persevere through whatever challenges you are facing”


Here at develop a leader dot com and the partner blog material leadership we have talked a lot about perseverance and its close cousin resilience. I was very excited to see this theme come to light. This is arguably one of the lesser known attributes of effective leaders. Those of us who live the reality of making “mistakes” and dealing with adversity have learned to embrace this contrarian friend. Leaders who get this advice are wiser and ultimately more successful than those who do not. So lean into adversity not away from it and learn to persevere in its face.


Cyril offered two other pieces of advice that it nicely together into a theme of relating to others. He suggests that we develop strong relationships and through them find mentors to teach you. Mentors as we have discussed can be powerful allies for our growth and ultimately our ability to get through closed doors. The other advice Cyril offers was,

“Solve not only your problems but also others problems”

I love this advice. When we add value to others it will inevitably help us as well. So give of yourself to others, add value, solve problems. When you make yourself a value adding problem solving machine your ability to lead others will grow not only in the sense of your technical ability but also in your selflessness, a true leadership trait.

Thanks Cyril! Great advice and well taken

Don’t forget to check out Cyril’s blog and book at his website.

Lead well


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Posted in leadership development, New Leader Training
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