Pursuit of Excellence

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The Pursuit of Excellence|

Abstract:
Whether you are an athlete, a teacher, or a promising high achiever in another walk of life, you can achieve excellence. At a time when numbers speak, performance is equal to profit and getting through the basic minimum at work is the standard practice, does the urge to set benchmarks of quality and excellence become redundant? How many of us go through life simply trying to fulfill the basics and how many set out to achieve true excellence? Steve Jobs the late CEO from Apple was one of those special few with the talent from the Gods with the determination to drive for excellence. In this paper, I will show how Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple utilized and applied four critical elements to guide him to pursuit of personal excellence: Focus, Innovation, Leadership and Charisma.

The Pursuit Of Excellence: The Payoff
’Excellence’ is defined in the Oxford dictionary as superiority, the quality or state of being outstanding or extremely good (Oxford University Press 2012). What did Steve Jobs, Larry Page & Sergey Brin, Bill Gates and Richard Branson have in common? Their names and faces are linked with their respective companies on leadership, innovation and charisma of its leaders. After all, companies such as Toyota, 3M, Samsung and Logitech are also recognized, but the face to the names like Apple, Google, Microsoft or Virgin regularly are recurring headlines for management and magazines and stories of their symbolic leaders. Whether you are an athlete, a teacher, or a promising high achiever in another walk of life, you can achieve excellence. At a time when numbers speak, performance is equal to profit and getting through the basic minimum at work is the standard practice, does the urge to set benchmarks of quality and excellence become redundant? How many of us go through life simply trying to fulfill the basics and how many set out to achieve true excellence? Steve Jobs, the late CEO from Apple, was one of those special few with the talent from the Gods with the determination to drive for excellence. In this paper I will show how Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, utilized and applied four critical elements to guide him to pursuit of personal excellence: Focus & Vision, Innovation, Leadership and Management & Charisma. FOCUS & VISON

“Focus is the first and most important element of excellence, Focus is the core of excellence, the center of the circle, the hub of the wheel of excellence”, (Orlick, 2008). Steve Jobs realized the great importance of focus and when he returned to lead Apple in 1997, he fixed that company by cutting all except a few core products. His basic focus caused his Apple team to work intensely to perfect and create just a few truly great products. He possessed incredible strength and the full power of focus. Along with his intense focus there was a dedication to simplicity not only in the end-product but also with the team at the home office. Steve Jobs’ products were his motivation. And his motivation was not profit. He demonstrated how to challenge his focus during the development and manufacturing of the Apple computers. Later, this was further emphasized with the development of his team and spearheaded the development of some of the unique electronic products on the planet, such as iMacs, MacBooks, iPhones, iPods and most recently iPad. In addition, many years ahead of its time, his vision and passion for futuristic products, such as making a computer as small as a book, (Isaacson 2011, Chapter 9). INNOVATION

“Some leaders push innovations by being good at the big picture; others do so by mastering the details.  Jobs did both relentlessly.” (Isaacson 2011). When he died on Oct. 5, 2011 at the age of 56, Steve Jobs, co-founder and chief executive officer of Apple, had 241 patents registered in his name or as co-inventor. The most successful and revolutionary of these innovations have become indispensable to millions of people...
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