Thom Rainer has posted these ten leadership lessons, distilled from his reading of the biography of Steve Jobs.
- The leadership team of an organization must include nothing but all-stars.
- Never stop asking “Why?” or “Why Not?” Jobs was relentless in insisting that the “impossible” could be accomplished.
- Discover your top employees and cultivate them. Don’t assume that the best are always the highest-ranking employees. Jobs often discovered incredible people who were at entry-level positions.
- Continuously ask questions of young leaders. They have much to offer, but are often overlooked because of their age.
- The key brand issue is trust. If customers or constituents lose trust in your services or products or the organization as a whole, nothing good can follow.
- Be a part of an organization that can change the world. As a leader, you must be able to articulate why and how your organization can change the world.
- Too many organizations cut costs and quality. That is short-term thinking that leads to disaster.
- Use meetings exclusively for strategy and brainstorming. Too many meetings include information that can be shared in emails. Also, Jobs hated the use of PowerPoint (or Keynote) in meetings, which he saw as a mental crutch that avoided talking about the important and strategic matters.
- Intuitive decisions have a better track record than extensive approval processes.Jobs noted how many organizations take “forever” to make a decision as they go through several layers of bureaucracy. He saw this process as one that engendered slowness, lack of accountability, and ultimately, bad decisions. To his credit, Jobs’ intuitive and quick decisions were often right decisions.
- Hire only passionate employees. The workers at Apple were not to see their work as mere jobs and a paycheck. They were part of the process to change the world. Jobs was quick to hire passionate employees and just as quick to fire those who weren’t.
The key leaders of the organization set the tone and the level of expectations for everyone else.
Read his other comments here.