Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a new generation

Steve Jobs – the man that transformed the way we connect, consume and communicate. Having read the book, – The Steve Jobs Way – ildeadership for the next generation, I thought I would share some of the insights into Steve Job’s leadership style and approach. Ask yourself, how can I apply these insights into helping me realise my leadership potential?
The thing that struck me about his approach is that it is simple, common sense based, consistent, contagious and highly effective – the results speak for themselves.

But in real sense rules and regulations that have been stumbling blocks must be removed. Since our school days we are overshadowed by rules and regulations that even for creativity we long for rigid step by step approach.

Rules and regulations that encourage people to concentrate on not making mistakes will lead to confirmity and compliance, and inhibit creativity and stiffle imagination, Rules and regulation that attempt to impose a one-size-fits-all structure will hamper the efforts of breakthrough idea.

We must make inventiveness and out-of-box creativity the expected outcome of our next generation leadership vision. We call this as iLeadership, the next generation leadership. Ideas that we borrow from the founder of Apple.

  • Passion – he valued this trait in people above all others. Given his passion (some would say obsession) with product, he sought people who had a genuine interest in Apple products – those who not only who owned, used but had ideas in how to improve the products.

  • Hand’s on approach: his “hand’s on” was not based upon a controlling paradigm but rather an empowering one. He felt the more he knew about the products, markets, customer needs, financials, the more he could (and did) add value and empower people to think beyond borders and push boundaries.

  • “Why join the Navy when you can become a pirate” – this was Steve’s recruitment philosophy. He was only interested in people who “stood out from the masses”. Pirates, Steve believes, are people who bond and rely on one another and build cohesive teams. Pirates are also free thinkers and are prepared to take risks and above all bring an individual uniqueness. Pirates he felt accept a demand for high standards from their leader and accept a demand for perfection and strive to achieve it.

  • “No “Bozo’s” – only hire people who meet the highest standards – bright, passionate and unique. During a selection process, Steve would drill until he was satisfied he had discovered the person’s unique talents and then create a role that would leverage their talents.

  • “Talent finds talent” – he believes in the following – “great people find great people”, “pirates are a huge multiplier”, “be unencumbered by predetermined opinions and biases about people”, “sometimes there are people who appear to be all “Navy” but when you reach inside you find a “pirate” dying to be released” and an “A-grade person is anyone with REAL talent”

  • One’s workplace is one’s “stage” – he believed that each team members’ workplace is their stage; a place where they create something special. He ensured that seating was arranged as an orchestra so that people could see and interact with each other and easily engage with the leader who was positioned as the conductor.

  • “Reward the pirates” – be believed in “showering others with recognition, appreciation and reward – let people know you know about their greatness”, “real recognition happens face to face”, “encourage the artist in everyone” – he refers to himself as the “Head Artist”. He tells the story that in 1982 he took the Mac team to the Louis Tiffany museum because he regarded Tiffany as an artist who successfully made the shift to mass production.

  • Have very frequent review sessions - he held weekly, what he referred to as, “meat and potatoes” sessions with his team. Where they discussed and mapped progress, celebrated milestones, identified issues, generated ideas and solved problems.