“There is no greatness without a passion to be great, whether it’s the aspiration of an athlete or an artist, a scientist, a parent, or a businessperson.” – Tony Robbins
“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” – Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch
“One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.” – E. M. Forster
“As far as customers are concerned you are the company. This is not a burden, but the core of your job. You hold in your hands the power to keep customers coming back, perhaps even to make or break the company.” – Unknown
I write this week’s leadership message as I sit in a sidewalk café in Paris people watching and passing the time with my family. A once-in-a-lifetime vacation, I was able to bring my wife, daughter, and father- and mother-in-law with me on a tour through Europe. First Spain – to visit the home of my wife’s ancestors. Then Rome – to honor their Catholic upbringing and welcome in the new Pope. And finally Paris – a chance to see the city of love. One of the most beautiful cities in the world. And since my in-laws speak fluent French (at least the “Cajun” kind), this was an opportunity for them to ‘speak the local language’ in a foreign country. For them, this is a trip they would never have imagined taking. But thanks to my frequent flier miles and a bit of saving, my wife and I were able to treat them to this ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trip. Continue reading
For this week’s Leadership Thought, I thought we might pay tribute to one of the world’s greatest innovators, Steve Jobs. With his recent passing, much has been said and written about the power of his leadership and his relentless focus on innovation. The following article from Carmine Gallo provides a great summary of what he calls Steve Jobs‘ seven rules of success. It’s worth a read:
STEVE JOBS AND THE SEVEN RULES OF SUCCESS, BY CARMINE GALLO | October 14, 2011
Steve Jobs’ impact on your life cannot be overestimated. His innovations have likely touched nearly every aspect — computers, movies, music and mobile. As a communications coach, I learned from Jobs that a presentation can, indeed, inspire. For entrepreneurs, Jobs’ greatest legacy is the set of principles that drove his success.
Over the years, I’ve become a student of sorts of Jobs’ career and life. Here’s my take on the rules and values underpinning his success. Any of us can adopt them to unleash our “inner Steve Jobs.”
- Do what you love. Jobs once said, “People with passion can change the world for the better.” Asked about the advice he would offer would-be entrepreneurs, he said, “I’d get a job as a busboy or something until I figured out what I was really passionate about.” That’s how much it meant to him. Passion is everything.
- Put a dent in the universe. Jobs believed in the power of vision. He once asked then-Pepsi President, John Sculley, “Do you want to spend your life selling sugar water or do you want to change the world?” Don’t lose sight of the big vision.
- Make connections. Jobs once said creativity is connecting things. He meant that people with a broad set of life experiences can often see things that others miss. He took calligraphy classes that didn’t have any practical use in his life — until he built the Macintosh. Jobs traveled to India and Asia. He studied design and hospitality. Don’t live in a bubble. Connect ideas from different fields.
- Say no to 1,000 things. Jobs was as proud of what Apple chose not to do as he was of what Apple did. When he returned to Apple in 1997, he took a company with 350 products and reduced them to 10 products in a two-year period. Why? So he could put the “A-Team” on each product. What are you saying “no” to?
- Create insanely different experiences. Jobs also sought innovation in the customer-service experience. When he first came up with the concept for the Apple Stores, he said they would be different because instead of just moving boxes, the stores would enrich lives. Everything about the experience you have when you walk into an Apple store is intended to enrich your life and to create an emotional connection between you and the Apple brand. What are you doing to enrich the lives of your customers?
- Master the message. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but if you can’t communicate your ideas, it doesn’t matter. Jobs was the world’s greatest corporate storyteller. Instead of simply delivering a presentation like most people do, he informed, he educated, he inspired and he entertained, all in one presentation.
- Sell dreams, not products. Jobs captured our imagination because he really understood his customer. He knew that tablets would not capture our imaginations if they were too complicated. The result? One button on the front of an iPad. It’s so simple, a 2-year-old can use it. Your customers don’t care about your product. They care about themselves, their hopes, their ambitions. Jobs taught us that if you help your customers reach their dreams, you’ll win them over.
There’s one story that I think sums up Jobs’ career at Apple. An executive who had the job of reinventing the Disney Store once called up Jobs and asked for advice. His counsel? Dream bigger. I think that’s the best advice he could leave us with. See genius in your craziness, believe in yourself, believe in your vision, and be constantly prepared to defend those ideas.
“The less people know, the more they yell” [Seth Godin]
On many occasions, I have referenced quotes on communication as part of my Leadership Thought. The reason is that communication is so vital to success in business – to culture, to attitude, and to perception (including that of the customer). This week’s quote helps drive that point home.
To highlight the importance of communication, and in particular this week’s quote, I’d like to share a brief story. Last week I went to the doctor for a scheduled visit. After sitting in the waiting room for over an hour, the office staff informed me I would have to reschedule the appointment for later in the week. At my return visit, I also waited over an hour before seeing my doctor. Note the difference in my reactions to the two separate appointments:
Despite the wait time on my first visit, I did not leave frustrated. I was comfortable the office staff had done all they could do. After the second visit, I left frustrated and disappointed. I even snapped back at the doctor when he finally showed up.
What was the difference in the two appointments and my differing reactions? During the first appointment, the receptionist made it a point to communicate to me every 10-15 minutes on the status and reasons for the delay. During the second appointment, not a single one of the nurses or doctors bothered to explain the delay. Two separate appointments to the same business, and two dramatically different outcomes.
See what I mean?