Ryan Vestby, CEO of CompuVision, shares how out of the box thinking gives you an advantage both in business and leadership. From his early days in a hard rock band to stepping up during his company’s times of need, Ryan has learned that problem solving requires innovation.
Think Outside The Box
Picture the 90s: Concert-goers were paying for merchandise and drinks in cash, rock bands threw whiskey-filled pill bottles to fans, and Ryan saw a big opportunity to set his band apart. His ideas took off, out-selling his competition and increasing his band’s ticket sales. How did he do it? By implementing portable credit card machines and securing an incredibly creative sponsorship with Jack Daniels.
Ryan says that few experiences have impacted his leadership more than his rock band days. Today, he and his team pride themselves on their ability to look at problems from different perspectives. There are many ways to be creative in your business that aren’t written in a textbook. Ryan demonstrates that strong leaders seek out new ideas and try creative approaches to reach success.
View Your Career As A Stock
Ryan started at CompuVision when he was 21 and admits he had few relevant technical skills. However, his boss spotted his exceptional ability for building relationships early on and committed to teaching him the skills he needed to be successful. Leaders recognize that you can teach employees technical skills, but you can’t teach them how to have a good attitude.
During his first years at the company, Ryan says he volunteered for everything. If there was a need, his hand went up to help.
[9:22] “I always have viewed my career like a stock. And either I can do things to increase the value of it, or I can do things to decrease the value of it. But regardless, I have control over this.”
By the time he was 23, Ryan knew he wanted to be the next CEO. He communicated that goal, his career stock steadily increased in value, and when he was 33 he attained his goal.
Cling To Curiosity
In his late teens, Ryan worked at a gas station. Ryan says his former manager set an example of good leadership that has impacted his own style. He respected his employees, held them accountable, and communicated graciously, even when he was calling someone out.
Ryan encourages leaders to remember what it is like to be an employee. This will help you shape how you:
- Respond to and empower your employees
- Develop your team’s skills and sense of ownership
- Interpret conflicts and focus on the intent rather than the emotional response they induce
Teams thrive when leaders retain their drive while enjoying current success. Ego is valuable but it must be balanced with vulnerability and gratitude.
Ryan encourages young entrepreneurs to be curious. Always ask if there’s a better way to solve or look at problems and be willing to adapt.
Sometimes even the best leaders can feel insufficient or experience imposter syndrome. Ryan highlights that no matter what, no one can ever take away your mind, curiosity, and intellect.
Also Mentioned In This Episode:
- Enneagram personality test