These leadership tips explain why Steve Jobs was the world’s best CEO

By , Apr 3, 2012

Steve Jobs used to be frequently named the world’s best CEO – and for a number of reasons, too. Apple’s co-founder was (in)famous for his unique corporate style that flies against just about every conventional management lesson taught at universities. Indeed, one could learn a lot about business and life in general from Steve.

If you feel like expanding your horizons today, you should check out this collection of memorable business tips from Steve’s authorized biographer Walter Isaacson and Ken Segall, the marketing wizard and author of a new book titled “Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success”.

Ken Segall, the man who dreamed up the iMac name, worked closely with Jobs on advertising concepts at both NeXT and Apple. He was also on the TBWA\Chiat\Day team credited with Apple’s famous Think Different campaign.

Segall compiled his years-long experiences working alongside Jobs in a book that promises to offer an insight at what makes Apple tick. It’s entitled “Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success” and slated for release on April 26, 2012.

Forbes (via MacWorld UK) read through the whole thing and highlighted these eight leadership lessons Segall learned from Jobs.

Simpler is always better: Jobs’ advice: “One product, one box”.

Blunt communication works: Bluntness leaves no room for confusion, distraction or complexity.

Good leaders can compartmentalize: Jobs compartmentalized criticism so he could move towards his goals.

Small groups work better: Restrict meetings to people who would be discussing the topic at hand.

Keep things minimal and move quickly: Apple campaigns are put out within a month.

Simple names are superior: Apple does not hire naming experts, it relies on a small internal team and a group of advertising consultants.

Simplicity is human: Not a five-gigabyte drive on an iPod, but a “thousand songs in your pocket”.

Simplicity even works in retail: Focus on quality, uncluttered and inviting design and fantastic customer service.

As for the tips from Walter Isaacson authorized Steve Jobs bio book, this Harvard Business Review article list Isaacson’s pick of the thirteen most important leadership lessons of Steve Jobs…

Simplify: Eliminating the on/off button on the iPod showed Jobs’ Zen simplicity. The iPhone does not need a user’s manual.

Take responsibility: Everything is tightly linked, Apple takes full responsibility for the user experience.

Leapfrog: You don’t have to be a pioneer, just innovate to solve problems a different way.

Product before profit: Focus on making the product great and the profits will follow.

Don’t use focus groups: “Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page”.

Bend reality: The Reality-Distortion Field let Jobs convince people that they could produce great work in days rather than months. For example, telling the company behind Gorilla glass that they could create it in weeks.

Impute: Make a box where the unpacking is part of the glory of the product.

Push for perfection: Jobs pushed his team to achieve perfection and be proud of it. “Real artists sign their work”, he said.

Tolerate only “A” players: Jobs had a desire to work with the best. He didn’t want to work with any “bozos”.

Engage face-to-face: Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings – if a building didn’t encourage innovation, you lose the magic sparked by serendipity.

Know both the big picture and the details: Jobs’ passion was applied to issues both large and small. Including the vision that the PC should become a hub for managing all of a user’s content, and that that hub would become the cloud.

Combine the humanities with the sciences: No one else in our era could better wire together poetry and processors in a way that jolted innovation.

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish: As Jobs said in his Stanford address: follow your own dreams, don’t live someone else’s life.

My personal favorite? None of the above, but this one.

And this one.

What’s yours?

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  • http://twitter.com/GreggKwey Gregg Kwey

    This personal favrite of yours: “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I’m of what we do” was said by Confucius about 2500 years ago in Chinese as “君子有所为有所不为”

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501160319 Eric Constantinides

      Good artists copy; great artists steal.

  • Anonymous

    and if you read about him when he was working for / owning pixar i think he was a complete ass to everyone

  • Anonymous

    I like quotes by Woody Allen more:

    “Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand.”

    “Don’t knock masturbation — it’s sex with someone I love.”

    • http://twitter.com/fr8cture Eric

      Are you kidding me? Were talking about things that made him a good CEO and things you could follow by and you bring up some immature bullshit quotes….are you 5?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1564264750 Wolf Wolfinger

        No, 12!

  • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

    Great article.

    Thanks for consolidating these quotes in to one article.

    I’m now compelled to pick up the Book when it comes on sale later this month. And ironically, I’ll buy it from iTunes and read it on my iPhone & iPad when I get time. Thanks Steve Jobs! :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zeljko-Nikolic/1646404156 Zeljko Nikolic

    Because he is like me he is the best

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000122495675 Ali Aledany

    i like that “Simplicity is human” one

  • USPTO

    Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL; formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) is an American multinational corporation that designs and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company’s best-known hardware products are the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.

  • http://www.pmhut.com/ PM Hut

    Hi,

    Because of my role at running a project management website, I have read many posts about Steve Jobs’ leadership style. Most of these posts do not agree with the post above.

    Quick thing: Working only with the best means isolating a lot of other, supposedly bad, employees. There is one thing to remember here, there is never a bad employee. The management style is what makes an employee good or bad.