Real leadership lessons from Steve Jobs

Steve JOBS 1955-2011

Nothing really new to add to the massive number of articles and tributes written about Steve Jobs, however I just got a chance to re-read and ponder this great HBR blog post by Walter Isaacson, who of course wrote the recent biography of Mr. Jobs. If you haven’t yet read Mr. Isaacson’s book you should really read his HBR blog post and mull over the many lessons presented. I’ve presented just the paragraph headers below — which are a great summary and takeaways about a great man — however I definitely recommend you do read the whole article….

The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs

by Walter Isaacson

“In the months since my biography of Jobs came out, countless commentators have tried to draw management lessons from it. Some of those readers have been insightful, but I think that many of them (especially those with no experience in entrepreneurship) fixate too much on the rough edges of his personality. The essence of Jobs, I think, is that his personality was integral to his way of doing business. He acted as if the normal rules didn’t apply to him, and the passion, intensity, and extreme emotionalism he brought to everyday life were things he also poured into the products he made. His petulance and impatience were part and parcel of his perfectionism…. I think the real lessons from Steve Jobs have to be drawn from looking at what he actually accomplished. I once asked him what he thought was his most important creation… he said it was Apple the company. Making an enduring company, he said, was both far harder and more important than making a great product. How did he do it? Business schools will be studying that question a century from now. Here are what I consider the keys to his success.”

  • Focus
  • Simplify
  • Take Responsibility End to End
  • When Behind, Leapfrog
  • Put Products Before Profits
  • Don’t Be a Slave To Focus Groups
  • Bend Reality
  • Impute
  • Push for Perfection
  • Tolerate Only “A” Players
  • Engage Face-to-Face
  • Know Both the Big Picture and the Details
  • Combine the Humanities with the Sciences
  • Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”


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