Jobs the movie

In October 2001 the original iPod came out. The critics made fun of it. They said it was an acronym for “idiots price our devices”. They said no one would pay $400 for a little device where you had to install the music. Turns out they were wrong.

Every review I read about “Jobs the movie” was negative. Every single one. I just saw it, and I really, really enjoyed it. It took on the impossible task of capturing Steve Jobs’s life from 1974 to 2001, which was a pretty amazing slice of his life, and put it into a two-hour film. And I think they really did a great job. So I give the movie a thumbs up. I hope you enjoy it. Jobs was both the best and the worst of what is needed in a business leader, and this movie shows both sides very well.

The Teacher

When a business leader acts as The Teacher, he or she breaks down a complicated process or idea into small, understandable parts and then explains how those pieces fit together to produce something really special. When the employees, suppliers, and/or customers understand the process or idea better, they are able to support it and move forward with greater confidence, efficiency, and effectiveness.

Two Questions for The Teacher Approach to Leadership:

  1. What is something complicated that you understand, but that your employees, suppliers, and/or customers are struggling to comprehend?
  2. How can you break the process or idea down into smaller, more understandable pieces that you can explain so that the pieces individually and collectively make more sense to these people?

The Calm Observer

The Calm Observer is the leader who can join a meeting of ten people and just listen for the first thirty minutes. Then he or she will raise his or her hand and ask to get in line to share input. Then this person will start to quote other people in the room so that everyone knows that he or she was really listening to what was said. Then this person offers a perspective in a calm, clear manner. The Calm Observer uses this approach whether he or she is in charge of the group or is the newest person to the group.

The Calm Observer can apply this approach toward improving day-to-day operations as well improving the approach the organization takes toward improving results for its marketplace. By staying calm, this person doesn’t get caught up in the drama of the discussion, but rather can see useful tendencies and can address them.

Two Questions for The Calm Observer Approach to Leadership:

  1. After you observe for thirty minutes, what stands out to you in terms of behaviors you’ve seen or comments you’ve heard?
  2. How can you calmly share your insights in ways that can improve performance either on a day-to-day basis or in the way the organization adds value to its marketplace?

The Example

Starting with this blog, I’m going to explain 15 leadership approaches for influencing how people think so they make decisions that improve results in a sustainable way.

The Example is the leader who demonstrates by his or her behavior the behaviors that he or she wants to see from other people in the organization.

Two Questions for The Example Approach to Leadership:

Can you think of a leader you admire who is The Example? What behavior has he or she influenced you to use?

What behaviors do you want to see from your employees? How can you consistently demonstrate those behaviors to them?

Be a Leader of Leaders

Leadership means influencing how other people think so they make decisions that improve results in a sustainable way.

Look across your organization including your key suppliers and customers and potential customers and those people who influence your customers and potential customers. Identify the Top 10 leaders from this group of people.

Then focus your efforts on influencing how those ten people think so they will make decisions that improve results for your organization in a sustainable way. By concentrating your attention on those ten people, you can dramatically increase the impact of your time and effort because those ten people will have a tremendous influence and impact on the rest of the people connected to your organization.

Leadership Thinking Exercises

I’m reading a book called “The Spiritual Exercises” by Ignatius of Loyola. It was written in 1524, almost 500 years ago. In the first set of exercises, the emphasis is on thinking back over the previous twelve hours of the day and determining what you did well and what you did not do well in order to perform better in the future. The recommendation is to set aside time to think once in the morning and once in the evening and discern what can be learned from those twelve hours in order to improve your behavior in the next twelve hours.

Think, act, reflect, discern, think, act, …

What a powerful sequence for all business leaders. Take time in the morning to reflect on the previous evening. What did you do well, what did you do poorly, and what did you learn from your evening activities whether you were with business associates, family members or friends that you can use to improve your thoughts, words, and actions over the next twelve hours? Then take time in the evening to reflect on the previous morning and afternoon. What did you do well, what did you do poorly, and what did you learn from those previous twelve hours?

These simple periods of reflection and discernment can help us stay focused throughout the day and allow us to intentionally improve our performance as leaders day after day.