By John Mattone
He was arguably the greatest CEO of the modern era globally, his vision magically transformed four industries – personal computer, music, movies and mobile. A legend by the age of 30, tons of pages have been written about his creativity, innovation, intensity and focus. Sometimes called a tough manager and unforgiving, but always non-compromising and single-minded about his vision.
A lot can be learned from Steve’s two stints at Apple and his leadership style that turned around a faltering computer maker bordering on closure into the creative powerhouse that became the planet’s most valuable company.
It is indeed humbling to coach a strong personality and a legend like Steve Jobs.
In a moment of self-discovery Steve agreed to take John Mattone’s MLEI assessment and had two subsequent coaching sessions with John.
Here is what can be learned about the great man:
- He was intensely curious to learn more about his leadership style, gaps and to improve himself
- He got together an incredible A-team of leaders
- He was a lot more people-focused
- He was becoming keenly aware of his own limitations
- He built a self-sustaining and winning institution
Unlike some of the popular caricature of Steve Jobs as a difficult manager, he was curious to discover more about himself, how he came across to others and to be more effective as a leader. He was becoming more aware of his style, how it could limit his impact and to make changes.
As a direct outcome of his self-awareness, he put together an amazing A-team of leaders – perhaps a team of incredibly talented and diverse leaders that only he could have led. In each functional area – design, marketing, sales, operations, software, hardware engineering – he brought together people with game changing vision and talent. He served as the glue who brought them together and kept them focused on larger vision, moving ahead relentlessly. Unlike many other leaders, his choices were not compromised by personality, personal preferences or other considerations. He brought together people like Jonathan Ive, Ron Johnson, Tim Cook, Avie Tevanian … indisputably the hottest talent and in turn they delivered.
Steve was a lot more people-focused with a highly nuanced knowledge of motivators and drivers of people and teams. He built reward schemes and constantly egged his teams on for setting highest standards of performance. It was both a great environment for the best talent to thrive as well as relentless focus on excellence – a balance not many are able to strike at such a high level.
This is what shows his evolution as a ground breaking leader. He became aware of his own limitations as a leader and worked with his famous intensity to make progress. He became a better listener, he gave more freedom to others and created multiple projects for his leaders to succeed. All the time he eliminated bureaucracy and anything that came in Apple’s pursuit of its vision.
For the longest time, it seemed as if Apple was Steve Jobs. Articles and analysis were written about how the company could not survive without the vision of its famous co-founder. But Steve proved skeptics wrong by building an enduring institution that bears his innovation DNA and continues to make strides as the world’s premier technology company. He did this by:
- Building a unique culture
- Institutionalizing a process of hiring and rewarding the best talent
- Growing their very own product development process
Here is what John Mattone says about his experience of coaching Steve Jobs:
As a coach who interacted with Steve, I am humbled and feel privileged to have witnessed this amazing turnaround and success story.
What is your own success story?
How will you build your team? How will you become aware of your own unique mix of gifts and improvement areas? How will you prioritize and develop your leverage points?
This post was originally published on Linkedin. John will be speaking at the 11th CFO Strategies Forum in Dubai on November 15th 2017”