CXO

Ten leadership lessons from the Steve Jobs school of management

What Walter Isaacson's biography of Apple's co-founder can teach about doing business the right way...
Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs' business strategy and management style made Apple the huge success it is todayPhoto: Apple

Walter Isaacson's biography of Apple's co-founder, Steve Jobs: The exclusive biography, tells the story of Jobs' life - from his rebellious teenage years and growing hippy leanings to his passion for tinkering with electronics and the friendship with Steve Wozniak that ultimately led to the founding of Apple in Jobs' parents' garage.

Isaacson also reveals the evolution of the Apple boss' business strategy, which enabled him to make his second term at Apple even more successful than his first - and to push the company to heights few would have thought possible years earlier.

How did Jobs do it? His leadership, management style and business sense were as distinctive as his personality - here are 10 lessons drawn from Isaacson's biography on doing business, Steve Jobs-style.

1. Decisions: Don't sit on the fence

Jobs was not a man to dither over decisions. He believed in listening to instinct and rarely lacked an opinion. He knew where he wanted to get to - and more often than not how to get there too.

Having a strong opinion meant the people around Jobs either bought into his vision or, if they opposed his view, were forced to defend an alternative position - building a powerful enough case to sway Jobs and proving the worth of their idea in the process.

Jobs was not above U-turning on his opinions or adopting someone else's position as his own, frequently, as Isaacson tells it, without giving them credit for the original idea - so while he had strong opinions he was not closed-minded to good alternatives. The strength of the idea was what mattered.

But even Jobs' U-turns were muscular and decisive; he did not flip-flop or vacillate. The result was that Apple under Jobs never lacked focus and its products reflected Jobs' strong sense of purpose.

2. Communications: Cut to the chase

Jobs did not worry about offending people - either indirectly with his opinions or directly thanks to his often salty language. If he thought an idea was awful he would say so, and in no uncertain terms. His communication style is best described as abrasive - indeed, he actively encouraged people to...

0 comments