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October 6, 2011

What Steve Jobs Taught Us About Leadership

Last night, I found out – along with the rest of the world – Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, passed away.  I wasn’t watching television, or checking news sites on my computer.  More fitting, I saw the posting from a news application that I accessed on my iPhone.  Like most people my age, my first exposure to Mr. Jobs’ innovative and creative spirit came in the form of the Macintosh, the personal computer he created in the mid-80’s.

Steve Jobs has epitomized creativity and innovation for many of us.  Author of The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs and Forbes contributor Carmine Gallo (view the video here) presented seven lessons we can learn about leadership from Steve Jobs.

Do What You Love – “Do what you believe is great work.  The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle.”

Put a Dent in the Universe – Jobs and Apple created a computer that everyday people would feel comfortable using: the Macintosh.  He changed the way we listen to music (iTunes) and the movies we watch (Pixar) as well.

Connect Things to Spark Your Creativity – After officially dropping out, Jobs studied calligraphy in college.  The course had no practical application, but he was passionate about it.  Ten years later, Apple created the first computer with beautiful fonts and typeface.

Say “No” to 1,000 Things – He was proud of what Apple did, but also of what it chose not to do.  Simplicity is the elimination of clutter.  (One button on the iPad; no keyboard on the iPhone.)

Create Insanely Different Experiences – He innovated the customer’s experience.  Apple stores have 17,000 visitors every week and make more money per square foot than most other retailers.

Master the Message – Jobs was a great “corporate storyteller.”  Think visually – there were often very few words on his presentation slides.  The audience will remember the message if it is connected to a picture, called “picture superiority.”

Sell Dreams, Not Products – When Apple was facing bankruptcy, he reduced the number of products they offered to better match core customers’ needs.  Jobs believed if you make their dreams come true, customers will buy your products.

In 2005, Jobs delivered the commencement address to graduates at Stanford University – 15 minutes of inspiration and a thought-provoking message:

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” Steve Jobs


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