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职场小悟: 偷师 Steve Jobs 的领导能力: focus

很多人(包括笔者在内)看完Steve Jobs的自传之后有这么一种感觉,他不是个正常人,是个有异常性格的怪人, 对待其周围员工极其刻薄,包括对待跟他一起创业一直都在支持他的的那些元老,我们中文叫非常不近人情,英文的说法:"mean!" 以至于我们可以这样认为,他不是个合格的领导人,更谈不上什么卓越! 不过最近再次读到写Steve Jobs传记的作者Walter Isaacson另外一篇文章,"The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs", 读后叫人感慨! Steve Jobs不是一般的聪明,他是一个非常卓越的企业领导人! 文章实在分析得有道理,这里不得不摘记几段:

In the months since my biography of Jobs came out, countless commentators have tried to draw management lessons from it. Some of those readers have been insightful, but I think that many of them (especially those with no experience in entrepreneurship) fixate too much on the rough edges of his personality. The essence of Jobs, I think, is that his personality was integral to his way of doing business. He acted as if the normal rules didn’t apply to him, and the passion, intensity, and extreme emotionalism he brought to everyday life were things he also poured into the products he made. His petulance and impatience were part and parcel of his perfectionism.

下面这段话精彩,Steve Jobs这样回答别人认为他很刻薄: 看结果吧,跟我一起共事的人都是顶尖的聪明的人, 如果他们觉得我对待他们很刻薄,很不好的话, 他们完全可以很容易的找到另外一份很好的工作,但是,很多人都没有这么做。(当然,除了这些自己出来创业的: 比如Android的创始人Andy Rubin, linkedin的创始人Reid Hoffman, Nest Labs 的创始人Tony Fadell,云操作系统创业公司Upthere的创始人Bertrand Serlet etc.)

One of the last times I saw him, after I had finished writing most of the book, I asked him again about his tendency to be rough on people. “Look at the results,”
he replied. “These are all smart people I work with, and any of them could get a top job at another place if they were truly feeling brutalized. But they don’t
.” Then he paused for a few moments and said, almost wistfully, “And we got some amazing things done.” Indeed, he and Apple had had a string of hits over the past dozen years that was greater than that of any other innovative company in modern times: iMac, iPod, iPod nano, iTunes Store, Apple Stores, MacBook, iPhone, iPad, App Store, OS X Lion—not to mention every Pixar film. And as he battled his final illness, Jobs was surrounded by an intensely loyal cadre of colleagues who had been inspired by him for years and a very loving wife, sister, and four children.

那么,Steve Jobs 到底厉害在哪里?

Focus   When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, it was producing a random array of computers and peripherals, including a dozen different versions of the Macintosh. After a few weeks of product review sessions, he’d finally had enough. “Stop!” he shouted. “This is crazy.” He grabbed a Magic Marker, padded in his bare feet to a whiteboard, and drew a two-by-two grid. “Here’s what we need,” he declared. Atop the two columns, he wrote “Consumer” & “Pro.” He labeled the two rows “Desktop” and “Portable.” Their job, he told his team members, was to focus on four great products, one for each quadrant. All other products should be canceled. There was a stunned silence. But by getting Apple to focus on making just four computers, he saved the company. “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,” he told me. “That’s true for companies, and it’s true for products.”

After he righted the company, Jobs began taking his “top 100” people on a retreat each year. On the last day, he would stand in front of a whiteboard (he loved whiteboards, because they gave him complete control of a situation and they engendered focus) and ask, “What are the 10 things we should be doing next?” People would fight to get their suggestions on the list. Jobs would write them down,
and then cross off the ones he decreed dumb. After much jockeying, the group would come up with a list of 10. Then Jobs would slash the bottom seven and announce, “We can only do three.”


Focus was ingrained in Jobs’s personality and had been honed by his Zen training. He relentlessly filtered out what he considered distractions. Colleagues and family members would at times be exasperated as they tried to get him to deal with issues—a legal problem, a medical diagnosis—they considered important. But he would give a cold stare and refuse to shift his laserlike focus until he was ready.

Near the end of his life, Jobs was visited at home by Larry Page, who was about to resume control of Google, the company he had cofounded. Even though their companies were feuding, Jobs was willing to give some advice. “The main thing I stressed was focus,” he recalled. Figure out what Google wants to be when it grows up, he told Page. “It’s now all over the map. What are the five products you want to focus on? Get rid of the rest, because they’re dragging you down. They’re turning you into Microsoft. They’re causing you to turn out products that are adequate but not great.” Page followed the advice. In January 2012 he told employees to focus on just a few priorities, such as Android and Google+, and to make them “beautiful,” the way Jobs would have done.

When Behind, Leapfrog(越级提升)

The mark of an innovative company is not only that it comes up with new ideas first. It also knows how to leapfrog when it finds itself behind. That happened when Jobs built the original iMac. He focused on making it useful for managing a user’s photos and videos, but it was left behind when dealing with music. People with PC were downloading and swapping music and then ripping and burning their own CD.

The iMac’s slot drive couldn’t burn CDs. “I felt like a dope,” he said. “I thought we had missed it.” But instead of merely catching up by upgrading the iMac’s CD drive, he decided to create an integrated system that would transform the music industry. The result was the combination of iTunes, the iTunes Store, and the iPod, which allowed users to buy, share, manage, store, and play music better than they could with any other devices.

After the iPod became a huge success, Jobs spent little time relishing it. Instead he began to worry about what might endanger it. One possibility was that mobile phone makers would start adding music players to their handsets. So he cannibalized iPod sales by creating the iPhone. “If we don’t cannibalize ourselves, someone else will,” he said.  


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