Steve Jobs autobiography is still a bestseller and a lot would be entrepreneurs are reading it like it’s a “how to” manual. This month in Wired Magazine there is a very good article on Steve’s legacy and asks “do you really want to be like Steve Jobs?” It’s an interesting question because Steve could really be an ass to people who worked for him and to people who waited on him. He was not perfect but even with all his imperfections I wonder what the real legacy of Steve Jobs will be 10 years from now ? Continue reading…
The more I read the biography on Steve Jobs the more I am coming to realize that he was damn lucky to be at the right place at the right time with the right ideas. I have no doubt that is Steve Jobs were managed by 90% of today’s managers he would have been fired or at least called in the office and told to “fit in” with everyone else.
I keep hearing about “change” within the workplace but the reality is that most people who try and change things are met with a lot of resistance as in Seth Godin’s book on Linchpins. There are those of us who can quickly look at a situation, think outside the box at a possible solution but then we meet those people who are afraid of change and who give you reasons why you can’t do it rather than why we should do it.
Now I’m not saying that todays middle managers need to come in like a steamroller and change things; what I am saying is that the biggest frustration for a lot of talented business people is that it takes so damn long to get things done and the tons of meeting you need to generate buy-in. I man God forbid that we should go to our manager and present an idea and have them say “go with it”. Today it’s more like “let’s schedule a meeting and present a Power Point”.
Most companies expect you to be in meetings. Calendars need to be decorated with sufficient colourful blocks, to signal over-activity and that you collaborating with other employees but dig a bit deeper and you’ll realize that meetings are a way to diffuse and evade responsibility for decisions. Yes – let’s spend weeks on weeks “reviewing with stakeholders.” It’s so much safer that taking swift decisions ourselves. Companies place no trust on the individual to make the right decision on their own.
Peter Drucker said “meetings are a symptom of a bad organization” and I believe that 100%. So does anyone think that someone like Steve Jobs would have been able to managed by someone who made him schedule lots of meetings and develop endless Power Points ?
If you manage someone like Steve Jobs you need to help them bring innovation to your organization. This means that you need to channel their drive without having them become integrated into the Borg bureaucracy. This is especially true of younger employees who have no need for processes and procedures.
My other advice is that if you every loose someone who is a Linchpin you need to do whatever you can do to get that person back even if it means swallowing your pride and extending that first hand. If you’re willing to let them go than you have started down a path towards mediocrity from which your company could become like thousands of other brands that check off boxes.
One of the quickest ways to find out who really is your friend is to see who extends their help when you’re out of work. I have found that a lot of people are quick to turn your back on you when they find you need their help to network but today that is just par for the course. The best way to get help with your career is to help yourself and don’t rely on anyone else to reach out and do something for you because people like that are far and few between. Continue reading…