Monday, January 24, 2011

The 7 Success Principles of Steve Jobs - Forbes

The 7 Success Principles of Steve Jobs - Carmine Gallo - Your Communications Coach - Forbes

I find it interesting that so many different people idolize Steve Jobs. Don't get me wrong, he is a marvel; but a lot of the principles he espouses are often found in many of the very leadership/management books so many of us run to for guidance. I guess his is an example of how to enact the things that so many of us read about.

1. Do What You Love - How many places have you seen this one? It appears on twitter, in books, magazines, newspapers and blogs; it is the one thing that apparently is easy to say but hard to do. Office Space had a question where whatever you answered, that was supposed to be your career. "What would you do if you had $1m?" One of the programmers came back saying it was a BS question because if everyone did what they wanted, then nobody would be a janitor. True statement; but maybe it is the ones who do what they love that can truly be leaders and the envy of the rest of us.

2. Put a Dent in the Universe - Passion is fantastic, but what about direction? If you don't know where you are going, what the goal is, then how do you know when you get there? You can be a great manager, helping move effectively and efficiently; but how can you be a leader if you don't know where you are going. Your final goal should be to kick a dent in the side door of the car of the universe (or at least huck a rock and nick it).

3. Kick Start Your Brain -There is a fantastic quote in The Game of Thrones by George R R Martin (yes it is a fantasy novel, deal with it). "A brain needs books like a sword needs a wetstone." That isn't the exact quote, I am paraphrasing, but the statement is no less true. If you are going to succeed, then you need to grow, which means getting out of your comfort zone. You do that by reading, and by experiencing life; by doing and seeing new things. If you don't then your mind will become like a sword over the mantel, once keen but now only decorative and dull. Stephen Covey talks about it in 7 Habits (Sharpening the saw, anyone?) This is actually one of the dangers of the Internet. All this information is available, but it is too easy to go to the same pages constantly, to chat with the same people, and eventually to find yourself surrounded by objects that you are way way too familiar with. Go out, experience new things, and then look for how those new experiences can benefit your goal.

4. Sell Dreams, Not Products - This is almost like what a successful salesman needs to do. The answer is sell the solution to a problem, not the product (can anyone tell me a book on sales that doesn't sell this concept?). In fact, every time you're interviewing or networking, then you are should be selling. How do you see yourself? Your staff? Your customers? As a leader you should be enabling those dreams/solutions; not boxing them in.

5. Say No to 1,000 Things - What this really is: the hedgehog concept. Once you have your goal established, pursue it with everything you have. BUT, don't swerve off course with a great new idea that goes against that concept. Both The Goal and Good to Great talk about this idea (in different terms, but it's there). If you aren't advancing your goal, vision, concept, whatever, then you are only wasting effort.

6. Create Insanely Great Experiences - One that I can't think of an immediate example from a book or movie. I can think of the anti-this. All you have to do is look at Bill Lumberge and Initech from Office Space. Honestly, this shouldn't apply to just customers. Think about it, if you as a leader can create great experiences for your team, don't you think your team will come together quicker, work together longer, and for that matter better? These experiences can be company retreats, an afternoon team building exercise, or for that matter a team lunch to show your appreciation.

7. Master the Message - When you think of Steve Jobs, you probably think of a black turtleneck and glasses, with a short haircut, holding the latest piece of revolutionary Apple hardware in front of a captive audience. He gets people EXCITED, not by his presence, but by his message. He has done the other 6 steps to build to this one. BUT, if you can't deliver a precise, on target, message then how do you keep the team, customers, whoever interested in your great work, goal or concept? Just think of all the websites, blogs, books that espouse brand management? What else is Brand Management or than Mastering the Message?

I love the first line from the last paragraph of this article: "Simply put, innovation is a new way of doing things that results in positive change." As leaders you need to constantly innovate. If you stand behind the concept of "that's the way we always do it" then you are missing something. No system is perfect. But you shouldn't stop striving for it. Just look at what Steve Jobs continues to accomplish!

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