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The late Steve Jobs: co-founder, chairman, and former CEO of Apple once said: "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected. There continues to be a lot to be gained from such profound thinking in today’s world and much we can apply to our own businesses. Let’s take a look at what some of the key elements of Jobs vision for Apple.
Have a ‘big vision’ is the first element. They didn’t just try to build a better mousetrap at Apple. Jobs and Woz set out to change the world — literally — and they did. When Steve Jobs invited John Sculley, the then CEO of Pepsi, to come on board with Apple Computer (as the company was called then), his now-famous challenge to Sculley was “Do you want to just continue to sell sugar water, or do you want to change the world?” For you and me we have to have that same “fire in the belly” in order to keep going through the inevitable challenges. Keep that “eye of the tiger” — and never let it go.
Create “insanely great” products. Too many people have tried to produce junk (Steve Jobs would use another word here) but he kept pushing Apple to produce high-quality products that people would go nuts over using. I’ll admit that I have moved from the Windows side to now having 2 MacBook Pros, an iPod, 2 iPhones and my beloved iPad. Think about it? There is a reason that so many users of Apple products are heard to say “I love my... (Enter your Apple iPod, MacBook, iPad or other Apple product here).” It’s because Apple takes the time and effort to produce products that people want. They do their homework and is not afraid to try - and sometimes fail (anybody remember in the Lisa computer?).
Create magnetic customer service. Ever been to an Apple store? Then you know what I mean. Those bastions of technology and fun are usually packed with devoted fans clambering to buy the products that are from Apple. Why? Well, those stores are more than just another retail store. Being there is an experience where you get to learn about new technology that really makes your life better. For me, I love the practical, bottom-line business benefits I get from visiting the Apple store. Think about how you can create a powerful experience in your own “store” however you define that in your work.
Continue to amaze. Apple has never rested on its laurels. Yes, Apple has been great - insanely great is the term often used for them. Each new product announcement brings a crowd of devoted fans around the world to see the next Apple product that they ‘must have’. Therefore try and inject a bit of that passion into your business and keep the flame burning with a continual stream of dazzling new products and services.
Never be afraid to follow your dreams is a typical Jobs quote. And it was the dream of Jobs and Woz in their Silicon Valley garage to create a real personal computer. They did it at a time when they were looked down upon by the “grown-ups” in the computer industry. Nevertheless, they pressed through, even in the face of hardship and difficulty, to become a company which is admired world-wide.
Steve Jobs was a great business leader. He was also gifted with great vision. However, you too probably know a similar person in your life. They are one who has something profound, enlightening, and interesting to say just about every time he or she speaks. People always want to be around that person. And that person's success and wealth probably match his or her incredible gift of communication.
Do you see yourself as that person?
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