Leadership Lessons from Steve Jobs

Last week the world lost a great visionary with the demise of master innovator and a tech wizard par excellence, Steve Jobs.
The co-founder of Apple Inc has left behind a legacy which is undoubtedly unparalleled. He was a man who not only saved the drowning Apple but turned it into an iconic tech company and carved an exclusive niche for it. With his untimely departure, an era has come to an end and it is time for us to reflect upon what we can learn from his leadership style.
Let's see some of his profound leadership mantras:

On Simplifying Things

When iPod was being created, Jobs did not want it have any buttons/keys on it, including the switch on/switch off button. This gave nightmares to the engineers working on the project but Jobs refused to change his mind. The engineers were pushed to the limits of innovation and as a result we now have the touch-based scroll wheel. This is what Jobs used to say about keeping things simple: “that's been one of my mantras -- focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

On Anticipating Things

“You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new,” Jobs was quoted as saying. He always maintained that an innovative marketer should anticipate what his target audience would want when the product will be out in the market. “It's not about pop culture, and it's not about fooling people, and it's not about convincing people that they want something they don't. We figure out what we want,” he had once said.

On Vision

It was Jobs' vision which makes the entire Apple concept so dramatically successful. He was able to create a vision for the company, one that each member can relate with and work towards. His audacious “to start a revolution in the way the average person processes information”, has now taken the form of a multi-million dollar business from a mere idea or wishful thinking. It was his vision which united the teams at Apple to build cutting-edge products like iPod, iPhone and iPad, products which have altered the very lifestyle and thought process of the consumers.

On Innovation

Jobs had a vision which was innovative by default but he knew that the process of innovation must never stop in the face of never-ending competition in the market he operated in. He could have easily rested on his laurels and been content with them but that would not have been 'Steve Jobs' who always wanted to “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.” For him, innovation was something of paramount importance and he placed it much before other things. It was through his innovation approach that we have cult products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad. At the same time he was all for recognizing good ideas propounded by others and then incorporating them into Apple products.

On Following the Heart

Steve was one of those few persons who listened to their heart in the truest sense. “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” Several of his actions as Apple CEO earned him considerable flak but he refused to deter. To do this, Jobs often drew inspiration from death. “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart,” he had told the students of Stanford University at the university's 114th commencement in June 2005.

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