As President & CEO for Ricoh North America, Carsten Bruhn leads the information management and digital services company.
In business, there are leaders who instruct and leaders who teach; there are those who give directives and those who inspire — those who stay at the top and those who participate.
In business, there are leaders who instruct and leaders
The innovation premium methodology, developed by Hal Gregersen and Jeff Dyer, is the proportion of a company’s market value that cannot be accounted for in the net value of cash flows from current products in the market. Gregersen and Dyer found that the innovation premium is often tied to the vision of the company’s leader.
In my experience, and backed by thinkers like Gregersen and Dyer, leaders who embrace premium thinking tend to be those who take a servant leadership approach, encourage out-of-the-box thinking and educate as much as they lead.
There are many ways to begin your journey to servant leadership. The first and very important step is to realize that the transformation will not take place overnight. Many premium thinkers and servant leaders are born with the traits that make them such. This transformation, as is any change, is a process. Realize there may be missteps, but don’t shy away from them. Embrace them and evaluate them. And then adapt.
Other steps include:
• Participate: Spend time out in the field, in the lab or with customers. Ideate, ask questions and listen.
• Evaluate: Innovative thinking should not just occur in a leadership team, but it should take place across all levels of an organization. A great way to encourage this is to allow time for your teams to experiment.
• Be brave: Stick to your vision and believe in your innovative path, even if others do not. This will require you to take risks and recognize that mistakes and failures will happen. Know it’s a part of the process and it’s meant to help you adapt.
These steps will help inspire premium thinking and a servant leadership approach, both of which I believe are good for innovative businesses. Exceptional leaders are the ones who have the courage and compassion to allow themselves to be vulnerable. Leaders who see failure as a part of learning and lead by connecting the organization and recognizing diverse perspectives are the true leaders of the future who will have the highest innovation premiums.