Leadership lessons by a drug dealer

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A) TRY TO GET THE PEOPLE WORKING FOR YOU TO BE MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN YOU

“I wanted the same for them and for them to even surpass me.”

They might not always take it. But give them the chance to be as successful as you and they will take that example to the people below them.

B) HONESTY

This sounds strange coming from a drug kingpin but there aren’t any lawyers or courts to track down liars. Honesty is the law in that game.

When there are lawyers, people lie and deceive and betray. When everything is based on your word and everyone is carrying guns, honesty is the rule.

“If there was any funny business, I’d rather not deal with them anymore, or be very careful with them in the future.”

C) BE VERY LOW KEY

Nobody ever saw Rick being flashy. He was so low key that even when he was running almost a half billion dollars a year, the police had no idea what he looked like.

Part of this was a decentralized structure. People several layers below him in the organization would not have any contact with him and would have to deal with conflicts at their level.

“I had to show by example how to manage, so the people underneath me would know what to do instead of me being always involved.”

D) ONLY DO THE ESSENTIAL

Rick arranged the top level contacts between his sellers and his buyers. Then he stepped back.

Everything else had to be dealt with by the people who worked for him and the people who worked for them.

“Everyone knew what they had to do.” And if they didn’t, they stopped being part of the food chain.

E) DON’T MAKE IT ABOUT THE MONEY

Again: odd advice from a mega drug lord.

Rick poured many of his profits back into his neighborhood.

This was in part to give back, to contribute. But at the same time, it was strategic.

When he went to jail at one point and his bail was set at over a million dollars the million had to come from legitimate enterprises. So Rick could not supply his own bail.

Instead, every household on the block he grew up on, put up their own homes as bail in order to get Rick out of jail.

When you make it not about the money the benefits never stop since money is only a tiny byproduct of the reasons we live, we do things, we strive for success.

F) REDUCE CONFRONTATIONS

When things have the possibility of getting incredibly violent, reduce confrontation as quickly as possible.

Often Rick would simply pay off or write off any losses on people who were no longer fitting in with the organization, rather than have a confrontation with them.

Violence could bring in a whole new set of problems. Better to take a loss and move on and now worry about it.

G) FREEMIUM

It’s almost a cliche, but Rick told how he went to Cincinnati. Stayed with a friend and told him to invite ten of his friends over.

Then when everyone was there he gave everyone a free supply and told them if they were interested to come back in a week and buy the next batch.

Everyone came back. Sometimes the sooner you charge in a business, the quicker you put a ceiling on your potential for expansion. This is true whether your business is drugs or when Facebook was waiting to charge for ads.

H) ASSUME THE WORST

“I always knew I was going to go to jail,” Rick said.

But he wasn’t going to sit around and wait for it to happen. He owned over a dozen houses so nobody knew where he was.

He barricaded the houses with multiple iron fences so that it would take the police over an hour to smash their way in and by then everyone would be gone.

He would leave town for months at a time. He would put extra profits into “legitimate” businesses like a car parts company and hotels.

He always assumed the worst, so that’s how he was able to diversify all the potential ways he could succeed.

Entrevista a Rick Ross por James Altucher

 

 

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