Tuesday, December 20, 2011

STEVE JOBS: a vision bigger than life itself!

Steve Jobs is a transformational business leader. He has personal characteristics of charismatic leaders:  he is a man of vision and a risk taker to achieve that vision. He is  sensitive to follower needs and has  exhibited extraordinary behaviors.
Steve Job’s personality traits:
  1. vision and articulation, has a vision-expressed as an idealized goal that proposes a future better than the status quo; and is able to clarify the importance of the vision in terms that are understandable to others.
  2. personal risk, willing to take on high personal risk, incur high costs and engage in self sacrifice to achieve the vision.
  3. sensitivity to follower needs, perceptive of others' abilities and responsive to their needs and feelings.
  4. unconventional behaviour, engages in behaviours that are perceived as novel and counter to norms.

Steve Jobs is a transformational, innovative and charismatic business leader. His personal traits are characteristics of charismatic leaders: he is a man of vision and a risk taker to achieve that vision. He is sensitive to follower needs and has exhibited extraordinary behaviors. He has a vision-expressed as an idealized goal that proposes a future better than the status quo; and is able to clarify the importance of the vision in terms that are understandable to others. He is also a risk taker, willing to take on high personal risk, incur high costs and engage in self sacrifice to achieve the vision.
Steve Jobs is sensitivity to follower needs, perceptive of others' abilities and responsive to their needs and feelings and has demonstrated unconventional behavior, engages in behaviors that are perceived as novel and counter to norms.


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“After character, the ability to create, articulate, evangelize, and execute on your vision is what will make or break you as a leader.”

- Mike Myatt

Clarity is often a term associated with Diamonds and the clarity chart describes the presence, or absence, of flaws within the diamond , any flow has the potential to disrupt its passthrough light, thereby losing the reflected light and losing its clarity.

One of the qualities of an exceptional great leader is not only to have a vision, but to have it with a degree of clarity that is unparalleled and not umbigous. Stve Jobs was such leader known for his highest degree of clarity in percieved vision. Walter Isaacson’s biography of Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs: The exclusive biography"  describes Jobs as as an obssessively detail-oriented man who got obessesed with the details of " the design of the case for the Apple II, the shape of the windows on the Mac’s GUI, the colour of iMac blue in its first ad campaign, the machine having a CD slot not a tray, and the lighting at his launch keynotes"

Isaacson also describes how the original iPhone was revised at the last minute, delaying its shipping date, because Jobs decided he was not 100 per cent happy with the design – telling his design chief Jony Ive: “I didn’t sleep last night because I realised that I just don’t love it.” Jobs then asked the iPhone team to work nights and weekends to accommodate the last-minute redesign.

Des Walsh in his vision clarity exercise defines it “a state of being free from doubt or confusion, able to see without darkness or obscurity”  and he offers the following three stages as a way to bring these principles into a practical business application, core questions, tracking questions, and review questions.

Core Questions

• what was the vision I had when I started this business, this project?
• what is the vision I would have if /when I dare to be great
• where do I want my business to be in 5 years time?

Tracking Questions
• What is the success or otherwise of my business now? (Use some measurements
such as annual turnover, percentage growth in sales, profitability)
• How did I/we get here?
• Am I closer to realizing my dream? Further away?
• What have I done to move towards the vision?
• What have I done/not done to slow the progress or fall away?
• How keen or otherwise am I to have a clear, compelling vision of the future?
• What can I say, positive or negative, about “the vision thing” from my point of
view? (be really honest with yourself here – a lot of people lose sight of their vision:
the underlying, game-changing question is, do you still have and love that vision or
is it time for a new one?)

Review Questions
· Is my vision crystal clear?
· Do I see myself clearly moving towards my vision, standing still or slipping back?
· Am I really clear about the issues and challenges I'm addressing or need to
· Do I have support or obstruction from my own thoughts and feelings?
· Do I have support or obstruction from the external environment?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Steve Jobs

Malcolm S. Forbes
The best vision is insight

According to Merriam Webster dictionary Clarity is defined as "the quality or state of being clear" and vision is defined as " a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination, and Steve Jobs leadership style as much an outlier as it might have been, it was a classic example of how natural leaders and their instinctual vision are interconnected". Steve Jobs had one of the most extraordinary gifts to know what he wants, and envisions it to the last particle.
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Leadership is a mobilization process, a gathering of followers in such a way that determines movement toward a delineated and accepted objective.

Apple Vision Statement

Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.

Steve Jobs is innovative; he also recognizes that people are human: they have rational, cultural, and emotional dimensions. Customers do not buy Apple's product simply because of utility or functionality; people are even prone to forgive some of Apple's technical limitations in exchange for great design — and identity. For Jobs, design was not only beauty, but creating new meanings for users. Jobs was constantly driven by the search for products that made more sense to people. And Apple has been a champion in creating new product meanings: the iMac G3, released in 1998, with his colorful translucent materials inspired by modern households products, changed the meaning of computers from office objects to home devices; the iPod plus the iTunes application and store created a new meaning in the world of music — accessibility — by making it easier to search, discover, buy, listen to, and organize music wherever a customer was; the iPhone turned the meaning of smart phones from objects for business to objects of social entertainment. These products where not necessarily best in class in terms of performance, but they were more meaningful to users.
Jobs also offered meaning to his employees. It is known that Apple's employees worked hard on visionary projects, striving to meet targets and to satisfy their leader's maniacal attention to detail. Jobs infused them with a sense of mission. Apple had to leave a mark in the world of computing, improve people's lives, be bold and, of course, "think different." Jobs showed that business and culture are not in contradiction, but rather they sustain each other.

Leadership qualities entail being able to manage one's human capital by example. Job’s capacity to imagine the potential of business, significantly affected the conduct and performance of the human capital in his organization. In short, handling the human capital becomes critical for the leadership in managing the strategy of an organization in the 21st century.

He managed its intellectual capital. How did he do that? For him managing the intellectual capital involved the capability to give proper direction to the knowledge assimilated in the organization in order to generate innovative ideas and develop them into final products.

For Steve Jobs the competency of leadership in strategic management involved another important element, which was his ability to understand the stakeholders. He made it abundantly clear that besides human capital, suppliers and customers were also stakeholders in an organization. At the core of the relationship between strategic management and leadership was his capacity to introduce value-adding activities in an effective manner and uphold improved performance over a long period. With environmental dynamism becoming more complex, he was well aware that leadership has to act and react appropriately and swiftly alter strategies when necessary.  Jobs knew that as a leader he should be able to establish methods to manage circumstances involving complex strategic changes. His style is a proven example of the fact that the effectiveness of leadership in managing strategy depends on its readiness to create forthright and brave strategic choices.

One aspect that Jobs seriously focused upon was the strategic choices taken up by Apple, which were absolutely practical even if they may have been difficult to achieve. Jobs was capable of comprehending and visualizing the impact of the strategic vision on the internal functions of the organization. He showed that the leadership should own this vision and motivate the human capital to fulfill the vision. By developing like-minded partners both internally and externally, the leadership should make possible the implementation of the strategic vision a reality.