Book extract from “Leading Apple with Steve Jobs by Jay Elliot”

The month of chaitra is considered Holy and people devote them selves into the worship of Goddess during the month and specially for the first nine days, also known as Chaitri navaratri. These days have very high Spiritual significance and Hindus throughout the India do “Anushthan” during Chaitri navratri. Basic meaning of “Anushthan” is to devote the time to the upliftment of human in terms of spiritual power, knowledge and health. I was thinking about a way to do Anushthan and later decided to takeup a book and finish it in 9 days. This tradition is very common in India since ages and people even works on epics like Ramayan and Mahabharat during these 9 days. I encouraged all my fellow colleagues at Indies to do Anushthan and 22 of theme took a book on diverse subject and did anushthan for 9 days.

I took up a book written by Jay Elliot titled “Leading apple with Steve jobs”. The 160 pages of work habits of is worth reading for new and young force of managers, those who are starting their career yet. Here are he key learning lessons of the book.

Work Culture Vision and Values

  • Process should not block the road of innovation
  • Achieving goals are important, but we are equally concerned with the way we reach there. Values = Culture. When helm of the organization forgets the values, the organization collapses.
  • Values should be guiding light for all operations of the company.
  • It is important that culture of the company you are acquiring matches with your culture.
  • A made in USA and mac driven factory, that was the dream of Steve.
  • Ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.
  • Secrecy is a prime concern at apple. Even they wear t-shirts with a line – I visited apple campus, that is all what i am allowed to say.

Leader is one who changes how the world live.

  • Innovation Checklist.
  • Innovation should be promoted at all level and not only for Employees. It starts from CEO, VP and team leaders.
  • Have right people.
  • Monitor the team.
  • Be strategic and focused.
  • Have absolute commitment to product.

Rudeness of Steve

  • Nobody wanted to use elevators to avoid question asked by Steve very frequently. “What have you done today to earn what I am paying for?”. And there are cases when employees have been fired if could not answered satisfactorily.
  • The employees were habituate to listen answers like this from Steve: Sentence Tell me something to make me change my mind or else shut up and stop wasting my time.
  • Steve has been criticized a lot for not participating in any charity activities and using huge fortune for betterment of society.
  • The biggest lesson we can learn is You need to know how to digest success. Steve could not and got thrown out of his own company.

Products and customers

  • Design is not how it looks, but how it reflects complete product. OR not how it looks but how it works
  • Creating products so great that they can change the society, doesn’t start with product development, it starts with a vision
  • Create a product that satisfies you first and then your customers.
  • Steve had a nice habit of explaining the product as like he was telling a story
  • Expand your vision and motivate your vendors as well. Not only to employees
  • Great products rarely get created in a bureaucratic environment
  • Starting point of a product is not a chip or design, it is the question, “what would be user experience”?
  • He wanted to create a Product focused and not sales focused company
  • Don’t forget your customers has a dream of having a better life, don’t move products instead enrich life

Work Habits

  • Attention to smallest detail. He explained about washing machine for 15 minutes to a washing machine engineer and the engineer was not known to almost anything of that.
  • As deadline of product launch neared, there were many day whole staff of 40 never went to home and had not full night sleep
  • Zero tolerance to quality, values and time line.
  • He dropped iPod in a fish tank to prove there is scope of improvement in this product. Desire to build product of utmost quality.

People selection and HR

  • Select people whose wavelength matches with your’s
  • Middle managers and middle men always want continuity. They want things not change because it forces them to change and creates risks. Idea of thinkers and designers never gets implemented because of these middle managers who see a risk for themselves.
  • Fire up the team with a long term vision and not short term goals as like John Kenedy said “We are going to put a man on the moon”. That excited the crowd
  • Job of a leader is to push the staff to achieve the best.
  • Most important ingredient of a successful executive is not an MBA but Passion and Vision
  • Give team a vision, motivation and a special identity
  • Find best people, cream of the cream, they must be extra ordinary people, first 10 people decides whether the company will succeed or no.
  • Ways to hire good people
  • Define requirements but don’t be rigid
  • Make the whole team part of hiring process
  • Don’t limit the search to usual methods
  • Effective organization structure is one where departure of a head has less impact on team and organization effectiveness.
  • Jonathan Ive is now Sir Jonathan. It is an achievement for company and leadership that an employee of company is getting knighthood by queen of England for designs he created at apple

You are suggested to discuss and brainstorm on these points and you would definitely come to some real conclusion for your work.