The passing of Steve Jobs was an unfortunate event that we all knew was imminent. What he and his teams did for modern society is unequaled worldwide and arguably through history.
Jobs was a genius at determining the extent at what price people would pay for in terms of convenience or the latest electronic toy. But he didn’t do it alone. While he had a vision for making life easy for the common person for their personal and business lives, he had some incredibly talented people working with him and for him to find those solutions to meet his extremely demanding ways.
How can we learn from his amazing success over the years? One thing that Jobs understood was that he created a brand that everyone respected and wanted to work for. He wanted to hire people that were passionate about the products and the company. If you feel that your company doesn’t have ‘exciting’ or ‘pretty’ products or if you feel that your wholesale house is just another distributor, think about how Steve Jobs would have created a campaign that would showcase what you have, and what you are building for
the future. It starts with your team.
Jobs created a company culture that few companies emulate. He fostered a team environment, which allowed unbridled respect between all employees; from engineers to product managers. It was because of this mutual esteem between groups that allowed a freer way of thinking and therefore more ideas were brought out into the open and discussed, considered and eventually placed into production in one way or another.
It was this sense of friendly internal competition that nurtured and helped create some of the most innovative technological inventions over the past 10 years.
Jobs realized that if he gave his employees the freedom to actually think and take ownership of a product or project those employees would take great pride and would defend fiercely their actions on any particular aspect of their assignment. We can do the same with our employees. Give them the responsibility of something important. Let them take ownership of that. If something needs to get fixed, let them do it. Jobs did and his team loved the independence to explore what worked and what didn’t work. Assign something that could be mission critical to the business or something less important but allocate the task. You may be amazed at the results.
Steve Jobs was always looking towards the future. But he was always adamant about deadlines. Apple as a whole had absolute deadlines, and not so amazingly, they never missed them. Cost-cutting was never an option. It was all about quality and Jobs wouldn’t manufacturer anything that didn’t meet his high standards.
The last thing that Jobs engrained into his employees was that he really didn’t care about the competition. He didn’t want his teams to worry about what the other companies were doing. He felt that if they were already on the right track, focusing on the mission or project at hand was paramount. Trying to compare his products or company to others in the industry just wasn’t important to him. He challenged his team to come up with new and original ideas that would put the competition to shame. He did that on a routine
While we can’t ignore what’s going on with others in our business, we can train and hire people who have the same level of commitment to our company. Try to find ways to increase retention and loyalty. Look at the spontaneous memorials around the world. Who would have thought that any one rich business person in the world would have strangers leaving notes and flowers at a retail store to honor them? That’s the legacy that Steve Jobs left behind. You need to have the right team in place. Ask yourself, do you
have that team now?