Whether you loved Steve Jobs or hated him, whether you are a Mac or a PC user, whether you are an iPhone or an Android owner, there is one thing that there’s little doubt about: Steve Jobs was an amazing leader who expected and got the most out of those who worked for him. With his recent passing and the release of his biography, other leaders have gotten a chance to take a closer look at how Steve Jobs lived, thought, and ran his company. It’s an interesting opportunity to look at the inner workings of one of the tech world’s most private men. So what lessons can leaders glean from Steve Jobs? There are too many to choose but here are five of the critical lessons one can learn from Steve Jobs’ life and success. 1. Have strong opinions, just not always your own
Jobs was not known as a man who held weak opinions. He was quick to make decisions and strong in them. He didn’t waffle or waiver, nor did he delegate his decision-making process to others. Jobs realized that, with most decisions, making no decision was as bad as, if not worse than, making the wrong one. He also knew that having one person at the wheel helped maintain a unified vision and direction. However, this doesn’t mean he never changed his mind—just that his reversals were equally decisive and strong. Jobs always encouraged others to challenge his viewpoints and, when he was wrong, would change position and hold to his new one just as strongly. 2. Openness hurts sometimes
Few would have described Steve Jobs as a “nice guy.” He was known for being brutally honest and saying what was on his mind. He even once quipped, “My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better.” Never one for pleasantries or sparing feelings, Jobs was legendarily tough to work for. However, his approach not only pushed people to generate great results, it ensured that the message was never muffled or muddled. Being clear, concise, and direct sometimes doesn’t leave a lot of room for spared feelings. While it doesn’t mean being needlessly cruel, it means recognizing that emotions tend to heal faster than broken projects. 3. Focus, focus, and focus
According to Walter Isaacson, the author of Jobs’ biography, focus was very important to this man, who limited his company to focusing on two or three things at a time. Jobs recognized that it’s much better to do one thing well than to do dozens of things poorly. The more you spread your focus, the less attention you can pay to each item and the more often crucial details begin to slip by. Jobs once famously said that “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,” a philosophy evidenced by Apple’s iPhone and iPad lines, and the limited versions and differences between them. 4. Working in teams means talking
Jobs loved working in teams and loved meetings, but he hated PowerPoint and Keynote presentations. He felt that meetings should be about conversation and dialog, not passive listening. Jobs felt that, in general, teams, especially large groups, made the best decisions and developed the best products—but only if they were leveraged correctly. This is why he favored demo units and other physical objects for visual aids rather than slides on a screen, as Jobs felt these tools got people more engaged. According to Jobs, the purpose of a meeting was to “Get people talking about it (the idea), argue with people about it, get ideas moving among that group of 100 people … and just explore things.” 5. Planning succession
Jobs, especially in his later years, realized he would not be running the company forever and had to make plans for Apple to live on after he left. However, he focused on succession not just by planning for the company after his departure, but focusing on ensuring that he hired the best executives possible. Those executives were then groomed and trained so they were able to take over after his departure. “My job is to make the whole executive team good enough to be successors, so that’s what I...
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