IntroductionIt is not without reason that Apple Computers is the most innovative organization in the world. Steve Jobs was synonymous with Apple Computers.
Years after his death, Steve magic lives on. We now have many books written on him. A few significant lessons from his life have been well explained in the Outlook Business magazine, dated October 29,2011, and these are worth emulating at anyone at any time, anywhere in the world. The six major lessons mentioned in this report, (pages 75-78) are a) Be Pragmatic b) Take responsibility c) Set High Benchmarks d) Believe in yourself e) Pay attention to detail and e) Be excited by what you do
Be PragmaticThis is an important lesson that is relevant for any of us. We should develop on our own and for our development, we need not spoil anyone's career or his or her career ambitions either. This holds good for companies too. Though Microsoft was a big rival, Steve Jobs sold 5% of the company to Bill Gates and infused that money into Apple. Here is his quote: "The era of us thinking that we compete with Microsoft is over. We have to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. We need to embrace a notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job" ( page 75).
Today, we all need to be as pragmatic as ever. Our skill-sets need to be quickly re-aligned to work towards what is really needed by modern organizations. If not, we are gone and we will become noncompetitive. This is also true of any organization.
Take responsibilityThis is another important lesson. Today's work environments are those that demand far more than mere results pertaining to a single job. We need to become multi-taskers. Mechanical engineers, for example, are also required to become supply chain management specialists to ensure just-in-time supply of raw materials and zero inventory of finished goods at any point in time. This positively requires a good deal of co-operation and co-ordination with the Marketing Department. More so, in the FMCG companies. We need to understand this fact like never before.
Set High Benchmarks"The coolest thing about the iPod is that your whole music library fits into your pocket"(page 76). Yes, the iPod was one product that was clearly ahead of its time. Yet, today, this product has made the innovation of hundreds of new products that were not even thought possible. Miniaturization is the new name of the game. It is clear that the iPod marked the beginning of a new revolution.
Today, the iPod is available in the newer versions. It is always the case that millions junk the one they already have to buy new versions of the product, thanks to the innovative incremental features that they have. This is also just about true of any product. Kia was a stupendous success as it was able to offer superb benefits at a lower price. Such benchmarks will always continue. It is also relevant to our lives. We need to set high benchmarks for ourselves. This is exactly what every organization strives to do too. For instance, Hero Motorcorp comes out with new products that give true value for money to any customer at any point in time.
Believe in yourselfSteve Jobs clearly believed in himself. Various accounts of whatever he did at any stage of his career, was a testimony to this fact. He was ousted from Apple. But he came back with a vengeance and created a revolution. He created such a wonderful global corporation that is now the best in the world in terms of innovation and new products.
Similarly, the trick today is to believe in ourselves. Spot new opportunities as they come and then grab them. For example, anyone trained in machine learning and cloud computing is bound to land up in the best of jobs. One has to just believe in himself or herself and then systematically plan how to set right his or her career. We need to do this urgently and in double-quick time. This is all the more so, as the world has changed so fast and will continue to change even faster. Advanced technology will continue to impact our lives more than ever before.
Pay attention to detail Steve Jobs got Google to change the yellow gradient in the second "O" in the Google logo printed on the iPhone. Steve Jobs cared about the shades of yellow on a Sunday.
How often do we just relax on a Sunday and do nothing about it? Instead, Sundays could always be a time to relax, think about all that we had done or not done in the past one week and then systematically plan how to get things better. For example, it could simply mean a better way of organizing our vital Income-tax related papers in one file. If we do it right now by paying to this small detail, we do not need to work overtime to search for all papers at the last minute to beat the deadline in the month of July. The trick is to pay attention to such small details.
Be excited by what you doHere is one memorable quote from the same report. "The biggest management lesson that one can learn from Jobs is to love what you do and be excited about it. Jobs loved designing new products. Whether it was his own products or someone else's, he was excited about it. In several Apple product launches, Jobs said, "I couldn't sleep last night, I was so excited about it".
The aforesaid lesson is true of some great CEOs in modern India as well. Even when Infosys Technologies was growing to become a top-of-mind recall company that every young man or woman craved to work for, Mr. Narayanamurthy, its iconic founder, would be the first to enter the office and the last to leave his office as well. He did this systematically, day after day, for several years. He was a true motivator. His personal honesty and integrity only added value to his greatness. Another example. It is not without reason that Mr. A.M. Naik, who still continues to guide Larsen and Toubro, is counted as one leader who never ever relaxed a bit on making Larsen & Toubro the global giant that it now is.
In our individual lives, it is possible to observe this quality in infants and then get excited too. We need a child-like passion to succeed in life. We need something to develop into far better professionals, but doing all things right. We might have to take a few risks but these risks are worth taking. We need to be tuned to doing what is best. And being excited about such initiatives is an integral part of the process.
ConclusionThe more we read about the late Steve Jobs, the more we learn what to do. We also learn the small things that we urgently need to do in order to make our lives that much better. The aforesaid discussion sought to highlight some vital points for consideration and action.