iEnvy this man. iRespect this man.

I envy this man. I respect this man. And this admiration and respect is based upon some of the facts I got to learn about him recently. He is the curator of his company – which is now 35 years old. In spite of being 35 years old, his company doesn’t behave like ‘that-mature-company-which-has-seen-a-thousand-suns-in-the-silicon-valley’. He is credited to consciously put up a start-up like atmosphere in his company. Following are 5 things I love about this man. I hope to practice it in some form or the other in my corporate life.

1. Know what you are doing. The world need not know what you are doing.

Currently Steve Jobs is on his third medical leave in seven years. Still he is heavily involved with his company. He makes every critical decision for his company – however small or big they may be. From the design of the shuttle buses that ferry Apple employees to and from San Fransisco to what food will be served in cafeteria. I’m sure he doesn’t choose the dustbins for his company because he really doesn’t need to. But the man must have clearly identified what are the things he ought to do and doesn’t necessarily reveal it to the world. This, in strange contrast to a world where everyone (myself included) would like to believe that we need to constantly tell the word that we are doing ‘important’ things at work. Ask a person who just updated his/her Facebook status as “in a strategic meeting, solving business problems” an important question like ‘what exactly are you doing?’ – chances are that he/she might be totally clueless.

2. Simplicity breeds clarity. And clarity results in profits. Consistently.

According to an interview with Forbes in 2008, Steve Jobs says, “Every Monday we review the whole business. We look at every single product under development. I put out an agenda. Eighty percent is the same as it was last week, and we just walk down it every single week. We don’t have a lot of processes at Apple, but that’s one of the few things we do just to all stay on the same page”.

3. He believes in training his people.

Whatever business you are in, its always important to train your people. And this training can happen in cliched corporate ways or something as different and simple as what Jobs does. There is a group of people at Apple called the ‘Top 100′. Every year Jobs gathers these select few people for an intense three-day strategy session at a secure undisclosed location. He has only two requirements for such meetings – good food and no golf course. To be selected for the Top 100 is an honor – as if the person is anointed by Jobs. And the best part? This group is not based on ranks. This breeds performance based on accountability and not politics. For some people, the Top 100 might turn to be horrific. For most it turns out to be the best days of their lives.

4. He believes in leaving a legacy.

Steve Jobs hired Joel Podolny, dean of the Yale School of Management, to head something called as Apple University. It seems that Podolny is working on a project that deals with the delicate topic of life at Apple after Jobs. At Jobs’ instruction, Podolny has hired renowned Harvard veteran Richard Tedlow. All of them together are working on internal case studies on significant decisions in Apple’s recent history. It is exactly the sort of thing that major business schools do, except the fact that Apple’s case studies are for an Apple only audience. And one of those key decisions includes the decision of Apple to consolidate iPhone manufacturing around a single factory in China and the establishment of Apple’s stores. What a great way for the employees to learn!

5. He likes to trust his guts once in a while.

And thanks to that, we’ve got the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Rest is history. Respect.


~ by rb on June 8, 2011.

2 Responses to “iEnvy this man. iRespect this man.”

  1. Well put together Rohan. I do look upto Jobs as well. There are a lot of stories doing the rounds as to what a control freak he is. But alas what is visible to the world is an epitome of “Learning Organization”. Creative and Innovative at its core. World Class….!

    • Absolutely Rohan! Good to know that you liked it. Creating an enterprise and successfully running the show is a daunting task. Jobs’ approach and life is really something to learn from.

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