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Steve Jobs has died. That it such a cold and unwanted fact about a man that has warmed the hearts of millions with his joyful, beautiful and super-functional technology. I wrote a blog at the end of August when Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO. Everything I wrote then communicates my feelings about Steve today. And anyway Steve Jobs lives on in the hearts of most Apple product users (and who isn’t?) with an appreciation for his knowing what we wanted without us even asking for it. So here is the blog I shared on August 28th…
Does Steve Jobs have a magic wand? With the news that Steve Jobs is stepping down as APPLE CEO, journalists and business bloggers, like me, are commenting in droves about the magic he created at APPLE. It does seem like Jobs has supernatural powers to be able transform an entrepreneurial venture into the number one brand in the world, producing products that have changed our lives dramatically. Few BIG brands can claim that today - not IBM, AT&T or GE, to mention some of the biggest companies in the world.
In fact, today APPLE is the number one most successful brand and corporation in the world. And better yet, APPLE is one of the few companies that is creating jobs, instead of cutting them, in this recession.
So what makes Steve Jobs the super hero of business? First off, let's face it, Jobs is a true visionary. He envisions brilliant products and creates and markets them beyond effectively. Second, he is a perfectionist when it comes to both engineering and design. He settles for nothing less than the best, including making his products, marketing, packaging etc. aesthetically beautiful with cutting edge design and international appeal. He also has recruited a team of top notch engineers, designers and marketers who can bring his genius to life. But no matter how smart and talented they are, Jobs is the final decisionmaker. He doesn't worry about others' hurt feelings, disagreements with him or whether they will leave. He is the decider. And most of them have accepted this.
Finally, he doesn't believe in research. He says, he knows what consumers want. And he is creating it for them. And he has been right 100% of the time - MacBooks, ipods, ipads, itunes. You name it and we want it. And we want it BAD!! Steve Jobs KNOWS and is totally confident in creating innovative break-through products and making the final decisions regarding them. In other words, he trusts his gut...his intuition...his inner knowing.
So what can we learn from Jobs? He's not the perfect leader per the book. His collaborative and listening skills may be weak. He may not have all the qualities we like best from our leaders, but the skills he practices outshine everyone else on the block. I give him an A plus on: (1) Vision, (2) Communication (3) Courage and (4) Confidence.
Steve Jobs' extraordinary success is a great lesson for us all. While none of us are perfect leaders, we can be authentic leaders - honing our inner leadership skills, and not second guessing ourselves. Steve Jobs will be in a new role as Chair of the Board of APPLE. And I for one, plan to continue to watch every move he makes. My fingers are crossed that he will be back to being CEO again in the near future. (This isn't the first time he has stepped away.) I can't wait to see what Jobs and APPLE does in the next decade! Afterall, he knows what you and I want before we do.......
Addendum: On Steve Job’s passing on October 5th, 2011, we now know he’s not returning to APPLE, as so many of had anticipated. Our hope is that his legacy at APPLE continues, inspiring his successor and his successors of the future to continue the innovative products and spirit which Steve instilled in the company. And most of all, I hope that young people will pursue the opportunities that technology provide us to continue to create products that connect humanity presented in beautiful design that delights the senses….
Leslie Grossman, Cofounder, Women's Leadership Exchange; President, Leslie Grossman Leadership
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