Steve Jobs gave Walter Isaacson complete control to construct an unfiltered view of ‘who was Steve Jobs?’, and ‘why was he worth studying?’ in his biography. There are several teachable moments in this book even though Jobs was a person with many character traits that people disliked.
I’ve identified three aspects to his leadership and business acumen that make his impact and his legacy huge for leaders everywhere. They include:
1. Create a brand built on the special qualities you and your business can offer. Jobs was an artist, a minimalist design freak, and a marketing-roll-out genius. Jobs called Apple ‘the intersection of technology and liberal arts’. His primary passion was to make products that were designed well, that were cool to use, that were, in a word, artful. Jobs created an Apple-user experience that was special.
Teachable moment: as a business leader or business owner, what makes your business special, different, captivating to your customers? How do you brand yourself that will cause your customer to want to knock your door down to do business with you?
2. Think beyond the possible to create something special. Jobs colleagues called it Steve’s ‘Reality Distortion Field.’ He developed impossible visions for where the next products would differentiate in conjunction with some very smart people he brought to the Apple team. This visionary instinct, which struck a lot of people as odd, crazy perfectionism led to some amazing accomplishments. One small example was the gorilla glass on the iPhone, strong and resistant to scratches, yet light and easy to hold. Had to have it, yet nobody could do it, until he found John Weeks of Corning Glass who could pull it off. It was the ‘reality distortion field’ where he would not accept ‘can’t do it.’
Teachable moment: Create a big vision, that sounds too big, and then continually push yourself and your team; that vision will galvanize people, and attract the best.
3. Establish relationships built on one-to-one face-time. Jobs had a way of solving design issues or negotiating major deals or planning future projects: ‘Let’s go for a walk.’ He lived in a pretty basic middle-class home, sparsely decorated and simple. He would invite team members or negotiating partners to his house for a modest healthy dinner, which always led to a walk. His way of hearing others and sharing his perspective was to go for walks. This relationship-building habit, born of a counter-cultural passion for Eastern listening habits and appreciating simple things, like walking, served him well. He could have monumental disagreements with partners, and the way he talked it through was by literally walking with them.
Teachable moment: How do you build relationships with the key people in your life? Do you have a habit that allows you to have regular critical conversations with key people? Do you give them undivided one-on-one time very often? That time will lead to doing some amazing things.
So there are three business-leadership-tips from the biography of Steve Jobs. How can we help you with your talent acquisition strategies? Want to go for a walk? Let’s start with a phone call, and coffee.
For more information, visit my website at Dan Toussant.
Read 3 Business Leadership Tips from the Steve Jobs Story and the other informative articles in this issue of Soar to Success magazine.