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BLOG: Lessons from Steve Jobs

Ryan Faas | Oct. 10, 2011
Steve Jobs left behind some prescient lessons that CEOs and managers in all sectors and in companies of all shapes and sizes can learn from. Columnist Ryan Faas explains.

Inspire those around you - One of my favorite anecdotes about the original development of the Mac was Jobs' insistence that the team could put a dent in universe. That's a tall order (though you can easily argue that they succeeded), but it inspired a team that worked as much as 90-plus hours a week. Inspiration is a powerful force and one that every CEO or manager should strive to master in his or her own way.

When you get knocked down, get back up - This should be obvious, but Jobs really exhibited that spirit. After being forced out of Apple in the mid-1980s, he could've retired, spent his considerable fortune any way he chose, and rested on some sizeable laurels. Instead, he went on to found another computer company. NeXT never achieved the status of Apple - at least not until 1997, when Apple bought it. That led to Jobs' amazing return to Apple and the transformation of the company that followed.

Changing the world once is never enough - One of the most amazing things about Jobs is that he revolutionized several industries and literally changed the world multiple times: he helped usher in the PC era with the Apple II; made GUI computers marketable; created the first MP3 player to gain mass market appeal; oversaw the digital distribution of music and other media through iTunes; created the first all-touch screen smartphone and helped build a new software distribution method for it (and for desktop computers); and he took the concept of a tablet computer from niche product to mainstream must-have.

We may not all be able to change the world, but real leaders strive to do as much as they can. That's the difference between being a leader and simply being a manager or boss.

While the world today seems a smaller and less-inspired place with Steve Jobs gone, perhaps one tribute we can all give him (particularly those of us in leadership positions) is to take some inspiration from the way he lived and apply that to our own lives and work.



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