I just finished the biography Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I always seem to learn something from a biography, and this one was no exception.
The former CEO of Apple was a true innovator, finding and sometimes creating trends that influenced entire industries…technology, music, films. If any recent technology leader can be referred to as a creative genius, Steve Jobs certainly fits that description.
His ability to lead his organization to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks was legendary, but of course, so was his poor treatment of employees. His narcissistic personality prompted him to consider only his goals, completely disregarding the feelings and aspirations of others. An extremely successful organization might be able to drive their employees to some successes using this technique, but it’s not a great long-term strategy for any organization.
The primary lesson from Job’s tenure at Apple, however, might be his amazing ability to focus his efforts and those of his organization on a few, important projects with the intent of doing a few things really well. When he returned to Apple and ultimately took over the reins, he literally stopped several ongoing projects to focus on just the most compelling ones, like iPod, iPhone and iPad. Not a bad strategy!
As we enter a new year, this might be a good time to evaluate our organizations’ programs
Are they all contributing to our mission?
Are they the absolute best use of our resources?
Are we focusing on several programs to the detriment of the few most important?
Best of luck to you in 2012!