5 LEADERSHIP TRAITS OF STEVE JOBS
How hard do you think your life would be right now if you never experienced the iPhone or the iPad?
Have you ever wondered where we would be NOW if we hadn’t experienced products such as the Pixar, iTunes, MacBook or the APP store?
I am taking it for granted that everyone knows who Steve Jobs is. Just incase you don’t know or have forgotten who he is; he is the founder of Apple and Pixar. He was an iconic leader who invented the Macintosh computer, a PC for the masses.
Jobs was an exceptionally gifted person. He achieved incredible things as he managed and led Apple to become the world’s most valuable company.
Remarkably, this all happened in two relatively short periods between 1976 and 1985 (9 years) and from 1995 to 2011 (14 years) during which time he was booted out of the company but then brought back to resurrect and save it. A lot of this had to do with his leadership and management styles.
Not bad for a college dropout! So, what are some of the lessons you can draw from all this? See below to read more about his leadership traits.
Steve Jobs was famous for his laser-like focus. Shortly before his death, Larry Page, Google’s co-founder visited Jobs to ask for advice. Jobs told him to figure out the top five products Google should focus on and “get rid of the rest, because they’re dragging you down”.
Page followed his advice, announcing to Google employees in January 2012 that they would “focus on just a few priorities, and make them “beautiful,” the way Jobs would have done. Jobs was a master at implementing Zen Philosophy “deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do”.
Jobs’s Zenlike ability to focus was accompanied by the related instinct to simplify things by zeroing in on their essence and eliminating unnecessary components. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” declared Apple’s first marketing brochure.
To see what that means, compare any Apple software with, say, Microsoft Word, which keeps getting uglier and more cluttered with non-intuitive navigational ribbons and intrusive features.
Jobs learned to admire simplicity when he was working the night shift at Atari as a college dropout. Atari’s games came with no manual and needed to be uncomplicated enough that a child could figure them out.
- Control the Experience
Apple took full responsibility for the product from end-to-end. Every aspect of the hardware was analysed carefully, from each component to the overall look.
Likewise, he considered the user experience in every line of code and each salesperson in the Apple stores. Jobs’ obsession with “the whole widget” reflected his passion for perfection. He used his powerful magnetic personality to motivate thousands.
Apple’s model of a closed and proprietary system was consistent with his controlling personality and set Apple apart from open-source competitors.
- When you are behind or challenged, don’t simply compete, leapfrog
When Jobs achieved success with a product he spent little time relishing that success. He was always thinking ahead about how to stay ahead and not just catch up but also leapfrog the competition.
A classic example of ongoing analysis ”“ being aware when products were reaching maturity or decline and looking for ways to start afresh and energise them. A graphic example is the constant evolution of products such as the iPhone and iPad.
- Ignore Reality
Jobs’ ability to push the impossible was called his Reality Distortion Field, after an episode of Star Trek in which aliens create an alternative reality through sheer will.
An early example was when Jobs was on the night shift at Atari and pushed Steve Wozniak to create a game called Breakout. Woz said it would take months, but Jobs stared at him and insisted he could do it in four days. Woz ended up doing it.
Have you ever wondered what you could achieve ?
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