Jordan Jason: Never Stop Learning
By Adam Mendler
I recently went one on one with Jordan Jayson. Jordan is the Chairman of the Board and CEO of the U.S. Energy Development Corporation, a diversified exploration & production (E&P) operating firm with assets located across 13 states and multiple oil & natural gas basins.
Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to share your advice. First things first, though, I am sure readers would love to learn more about you. How did you get here? What experiences, failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth?
Jordan: Thank you, Adam! I graduated from Johns Hopkins University and went to work on Wall Street for ten years before moving to London to work for a large financial institution. My parents, who founded U.S. Energy Development Corporation in 1980, called me in 2009 and asked me to join to help lead the family business. I said yes and five years later in 2014, I was named as the second-generation CEO and Chairman of the firm. Today, we have two offices – our headquarters in Arlington, Texas and a second office located in Amherst, New York.
I would say that my upbringing has been extremely impactful in contributing to my growth as a leader. My parents were the two strongest influences in my life. Each began their careers as teachers, so helping others was a part of their DNA. For me, even from an early age, they stressed the importance of a good education, strong relationships and building a competitive drive, which continues to push and motivate me in everything I do today. In every situation, whether it be success or failure, I stop and ask myself what my parents would do. This exercise consistently helps guide my decision-making process.
Adam: What are your best tips on leading a cyclical business?
Jordan: You never know what tomorrow holds, so it’s important to have a plan in place to protect not only your customers but your employees. As a 40-year-old company, we have navigated challenging financial markets, changes in political leadership, as well as commodity price cycles. This wealth of past experience provides an advantage, but it’s critical that leaders supplement the firm’s strengths with the right team. Our devoted and experienced team have provided the opportunity for growth while navigating the recent challenging environments.
Adam: What advice do you have for fellow leaders on how to manage effectively during difficult times?
Jordan: Being a leader does not necessarily mean you have all the answers – sometimes that is the most challenging aspect to overcome. Great leaders need to aggregate all available resources to not just survive but thrive in times of hardship. It is also important for those in leadership to take moments to clear their minds, especially in times of high stress, so they can make difficult decisions with conviction.
Adam: In your experience, what are the key steps to growing and scaling your business?
Jordan: First, truly know and understand the needs of your stakeholders and maintain open lines of communication to further develop those relationships. Second, do not expand your offerings until you are providing top-of-the-line results with your existing products. You will not be able to grow unless your consumer base trusts you and your products.
Adam: What do you believe are the defining qualities of an effective leader?
Jordan: It is crucial for leaders to be able to listen to their respective teams and maintain an open mind. Your people need to know that you not only hear them but are here for them. This establishes open lines of communication and a foundation of mutual respect and trust.
Adam: How can leaders and aspiring leaders take their leadership skills to the next level?
Jordan: Leaders must understand they are never done growing or improving in their own roles. There is nothing people respect more than a humble leader. That being said, a leader asking for feedback and taking the time to reflect on mistakes allows for personal growth while simultaneously providing the opportunity for a better tomorrow.
Adam: What are your three best tips applicable to entrepreneurs, executives and civic leaders?
Listen before you act. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, to be an effective leader you must have the patience and respect to listen to others. Before you make a major decision, consult with trusted advisors or peers. Often, you’ll find that your actions are better because of it.
Don’t be afraid of failure. You will not grow within your role as a leader if you are constantly afraid of not being good enough or letting others down. Sometimes you have to take a risk to reap a reward.
Never stop learning. Whether you take a class, listen to a seminar, or engage in a meaningful conversation, keep absorbing information. You’ll soon realize that knowledge is a powerful tool that connects us as human beings.
Adam: What is your best advice on building, leading and managing teams?
Jordan: You may not always have the luxury to build individual teams within your business. However, if you do, you’ll quickly realize the one foundational element you desire is trust. Trust is a dominant aspect of teamwork that will continue to matter day in and day out. You need to be able to trust your employees, and they need to be able to trust you to deliver. Each department or team is going to be built with people who come from different walks of life with various personalities, preferences, and working styles. If you set the standard of trust between yourself and those teammates, you will see success.
Adam: What are your best tips on the topics of sales, marketing and branding?
Jordan: First, have people on your team that are passionate about these aspects of the business – not everyone is a natural born salesperson or marketer. For success in sales, you must offer products that deliver and don’t fall short of promises made. Marketing and branding initiatives must be cohesive and aligned with your firm’s values and objectives. The culmination of these tools builds trust with your clientele and results in repeat customers.
Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?
Jordan: Never give up and learn from your mistakes – these elements are the keys to becoming a resilient leader.
Adam: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Jordan: Thank you again for having me. If any of your readers would like to follow along with U.S. Energy, we encourage them to visit our website and follow us on LinkedIn.