Steve Jobs Biographer on the Real Leadership Lessons of His Book
Walter Isaacson penned one of the most popular books of the year, Steve Jobs. After much speculation and interpretation of his widely-read book, Isaacson has come back with a big article in The Harvard Business Review, outlining what he believes are the real lessons (we’ve included the first ten):
1. Focus – Concentrate on a few things and do them very well. He gave the advice to Larry Page before he took over Google. “‘Page followed the advice. In January 2012 he told employees to focus on just a few priorities, such as Android and Google+, and to make them ‘beautiful,’ the way Jobs would have done.'”
2. Simplify – Cut the clutter. During the iPod design, Jobs wanted everything to be accessible in 3 clicks. He even got rid of the on/off button.
3. Take Responsibility End to End – At Apple, the company is involved in everything from the processor to customer service.
4. When Behind, Leapfrog – Apple may have not been the first to invent smartphones, but when it decided to design them, it lept ahead of the competition.
5. Put Products Before Profits – When Jobs took over the company for the second time, writes Isaacson, he shifted priority away from marketing and onto product.
6. Don’t Be a Slave To Focus Groups – Jobs once said, “customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them.”
7. Bend Reality – Jobs, he writes, would often push people to accomplish things they thought were impossible.
8. Impute – People do judge a book by its cover, so presentation is very important.
9. Push for Perfection – Jobs was infamous for demanding perfection in products, if for parts of the machine that might not be seen by most customers.
10. Tolerate Only “A” Players – “I’ve learned over the years that when you have really good people, you don’t have to baby them,” Jobs said.