Jobs was without a doubt the greatest CEO of our time. He led two different companies, one on the verge of bankruptcy, to become two of the most valuable and most creative organizations that we have seen.
I picked up the book, curious about who this man really was, wondering how he was able to accomplish so much in such a seemingly short period of time.
The book quickly answers the question.
Steve Jobs had vision.
When the Mac was first produced in 1984, it changed the world. Literally.
The Mac was the first computer to utilize a graphical interface. Up to this point you could only type in commands. The Mac set the stage for how we use computers today.
The idea did not originate with Jobs and Apple. He stole it.
Jobs bartered a deal that allowed him to visit the research labs of Xerox. They created the idea first, but their company lacked the vision of what to do with it.
Jobs was blown away by the possibility. He went back to Apple and immediately put his engineers to work to discover how to make it happen. Armed only with a vision, they were able to reproduce the same discoveries on their own.
Jobs himself lacked the knowledge and skill to engineer such a feat. But he had something better, a clear vision of what the computer could be.
The vision of what it is today.
Here are 7 ways that having vision like Steve Jobs can help us lead our teams and ourselves.
1. Leadership. When Jobs set out to make the products he would eventually create, he could not do it on is own. He needed his team. Jobs’ vision for the these products was inspiring. His team made sacrifices to create that vision. If your team doesn’t follow you, maybe it’s because you haven’t given them a clear vision of where you are headed.
2. Craziness. Too often we settle for a dream or a vision that is acceptable. We may not admit it, but we limit ourselves because of fear. Vision helps us to do something crazy. To imagine and then desire something so great that we can’t help but strive towards it. At some point, every remarkable idea is crazy. Want to be remarkable? Be more irrational.
3. Clarity. A clear vision helps you make good decisions. We are constantly being distracted by decisions that would have us focus on anything but our work. If the vision is clear, the decisions to make become clearer. Every step taken will be filled with purpose.
4. Motivation. The dream of creating the Mac wasn’t just clear, it was incredible. Everyone on the team knew it was worth pursuing. That kind of vision keeps us motivated. Engineers were motivated to work long hours and designers to stretch their own limits, all because of the enormity of the vision.
5. Culture. Everyone at Apple knew they were there to change the world. The vision was revolutionary and so everyone who worked on the project viewed themselves as revolutionaries. They made sacrifices that only a revolutionary would make. Is your team seem committed to your cause? If not, maybe you lack a clear, revolutionary vision.
6. Creativity. The vision demanded creativity. It was a new technology. It seemed impossible, but Jobs believed, and so did his team. Their belief in the seemingly impossible lead to the creation of the technology. Hope to do something just as impossible? A clear vision can help stimulate your creativity.
7. Excellence. His vision was so specific that it led to products that were as close to perfect as any product could be. He started with a vision of excellence, not just a vision of good enough. Excellence starts on day one, it is not something we can just add in later. If you lack excellence in your organization, it could be because you lack an excellent vision.
Most of us love strategy. We want to know the next step because it gives us confidence. It makes us feel good about what we are doing.
Strategy without vision is worthless.
We need to know what we want. We need to know where we are headed.
We need to dream a vision that is impossibly large, but will change the world.
Is your vision clear?
How does having a incredible vision help you on a daily basis? Share in the comments.