Steve Jobs, the Apple founder and former CEO who invented and masterfully marketed ever-sleeker gadgets that transformed everyday technology, from the personal computer to the iPod and iPhone. He was 56 when he died.
One of his thousands of tributes was from California Governor Jerry Brown who said, “Steve Jobs was a great California innovator who demonstrated what a totally independent and creative mind can accomplish. Few people have made such a powerful and elegant imprint on our lives.”
Indeed, Jobs led an extraordinary life. He was a genius, an innovator, a visionary.
Above all titles bestowed on him, the greatest of which refers to his leadership of Apple Inc.
He led the company’s success by making ideas marketable and universal. For example, Apple Inc wasn’t the first company to think of the elements that make up the personal computer. Xerox PARC did, but Apple Inc put the pieces together with the right design touches to make the first marketable personal computer.
Here is how the leadership of Steve Jobs helped Apple:
Innovative leadership. Jobs showed how innovation can change lives. Innovation doesn’t mean being the first to come up with the idea. Apple didn’t invent the first PDA, mobile phone or Smartphone. Other companies like IBM and Nokia were first, but through Jobs’ leadership, iPhone redefined what a phone should be. Jobs once said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
Attention to detail. Little is known about Apple’s internal design process. Whatever has leaked out to the media about Apple’s designs reflect Jobs’ fanatical attention to detail. For instance, Google executive Vic Gundotra tells of the time that they were partnering with Apple to put Google maps on the iPhone. Mr Gundotra received a personal call from Jobs on a weekend, expressing displeasure that the second letter “o” was the wrong shade of color.
Setting high standards. Jobs said, “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” He believes that if you come up with great products, customers will continue to come to you. During the time the economy wasn’t doing well, Apple Inc still continued delivering quality products. Jobs said, “A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.”
Relying on his instincts. Contrary to other marketing experts, Jobs was not a fan of market research. He said, “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” Instead, he relied on his instinct for refining existing technologies, developing new products and packaging them the way people would want to use them.
Inspiring others. Thousands of entrepreneurs consider Jobs as an inspiration. This is reflective of how Apple has helped fuel thousands of other businesses as well. Although Jobs is notorious for being a stubborn micromanager, Jobs steered Apple to direction of excellence. Countless of other technology firms have come up with ancillary products—from iPhone battery-life extenders to hardware accessories to game applications.
All things considered, Steve Jobs was a transformational leader. He is passionate and enthusiastic; creating visions and injecting energy and motivation to his Apple team. He has consistently proven that dramatic turnarounds are possible. From Jobs, we learn that entrepreneurs must have clarity of purpose, discipline and consistency. Jobs is a touch act to emulate, but nothing is impossible, as he has shown the world through his life and works.