Steve Jobs’ Ideas and Leadership Assignment

Steve Jobs’ Ideas and Leadership Assignment Words: 4944

US management and leadership: Steve Jobs Table of contents Introduction I/ Brief Biography of Steve Jobs II/ Steve Jobs: A Charismatic Leader III/ Steve Jobs’ Ideas and Leadership Conclusion References Introduction The aim of this assignment is to consider the leadership style of the Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs through the analysis of the articles and works connected with his business activity. Steve Jobs is the current CEO and co-founder of Apple, Inc. Steve Jobs also was the CEO and majority shareholder of Pixar until the animation studio was acquired by Disney in 2006.

However, Jobs is currently on the board of directors at Disney, and is the company’s largest individual share holder. Early Years Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco, California, and was put up for adoption at birth. His adopted parents named him Steven Paul Jobs, and grew up just south of his birthplace in Cupertino, California. After attending local, Homestead High School, Jobs enrolled Reed College in Portland, Oregon, but dropped out after only one semester. In 1974, Jobs moved back to California and shortly after went on a spiritual journey to India.

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Soon after returning home, Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computers. Steve Jobs and Apple Initially founded as a partnership between Jobs and Wozniak, Apple went public in 1980 with the advent and success of the Apple II. On the heels of Apple’s ascent, Jobs hired John Sculley a, then, top executive at Pepsi. However, in 1984 a sales slump caused a contentious relationship between Scully and Jobs the result of which found Jobs unemployed. Jobs’ Other Projects In 1986, Jobs’ founded NeXT Computer.

Although the company garnered a strong following for its sophisticated machinery, neXT was unable to jump into the mainstream, and in an interesting turn-of-events, was bought by Apple in 1996. This brought Jobs back to the company that he founded. Jobs Returns to Apple Placed as the interim CEO, after the ousting of Gil Amelio, Jobs regained the board’s confidence, and significantly increased sales through developments in design and the introduction of the iMac. In the coming years, Jobs reestablished Apple as one of the most cutting-edge tech company’s in the sector.

With emphasis on design, exemplified in such products as the iPod, Apple was able to re-market them as a trendy, household name. Steve Jobs was a pioneer in the personal computer industry. He was instrumental in bringing computers to the masses – spawning a multi-million dollar industry. Apple’s attractive, small and inexpensive computers were an instant success. This assignment examines in detail the leadership and entrepreneurial skills of Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computers (a leading Information Technology company) and Pixar (a leading US animation studio).

Steve’s role in shaping the computer industry through Apple’s revolutionary products and a few ‘unconventional’ business practices has been explored in detail. The case also discusses the aspects of Steve’s personality that were appreciated by many businessmen and industry leaders. The ups and downs in Steve’s career graph and the way in which he overcame the obstacles are discussed in detail. Steve’s departure from Apple and his comeback have been explored in depth.

This paper is an attempt to analyze one of the prominent leaders of the present time through the key features, which make him that prominent. The key issues to be analyzed are what personal and business characteristics the leader possesses and should possess to make it stably profitable, recognizable and trusted through the application of the leadership style peculiar of Steve Jobs, the Apple’s CEO and the person who has made Apple company one of the key players on the market of advanced technologies.

I/ Brief biography of Steve jobs In the seventies innovative ideas and a drive for business were enough to produce very successful companies and some of the wealthiest men nowadays. The person who had the vision that would change the world of computing was Steven Paul Jobs who co-founded Apple Computers and NeXTStep. This man thanks to his unbounded energy and his striving for perfection has provoked profound changes in our world and he has given to the world the best animated movies such as Toy Story and Monsters Inc.

Steven was adopted in 1955 by Paul and Clara Jobs, he was an orphan. During the school years he worked for Hewlett –Packard in Palo Alto, California where he met Stephen Wozniak with whom he co –founded Apple Computers in 1976. The two designed and built the Apple 1 in Jobs` House and had to sell their belongings to start the company that was named Apple in memory of a happy working summer in a farm. The Apple 1 was the first computer at that price that could load programs from an external source and it was ideal for hobbyist.

The following year they developed the Apple II that was going to compete against IBM thanks to the marketing skills of the people that Jobs brought into the company. Apple grew at a 150% rate a year between 1978 and 1983 but it was now time to make its machines IBM compatible as the Colossus developed the PC and Apple needed to acquire a slice of the business Machines market. In 1984 Jobs after a couple of failures due to some incoherence in the development of apple products (for instance the fact that the computers developed so far had different operating systems) introduces the Macintosh, hich became a big hit thanks to its flexibility and adaptability. At this point the president of Apple who was recruited by Jobs felt that his attitude was slowing the development of the company. In 1985 Steve takes a decision he will leave apple to start another company which is going to build a next generation of personal computers competing with Apple after the litigation on Steve’s alleged misconduct. An eight-year struggle will bring Next to close down the hardware division and concentrate on the way the software is developed, used and marketed.

In 1996 he buys Pixar animation Studios from George Lucas. In 1988 Jobs finds out how useful could object oriented programming be, because of the need of quickly develop software for the NextStep first machine: the cube. Thank to some reviews the fact that NextStep was a good platform for programmers to create libraries, and maintain the software begins to spread. They needed to advertise how their computer can make companies more productive so they compared the NeXT product to the number one competitor built by Sun Microsystems showing the superiority of the NextStep machine.

In 1995 Pixar went public making him a Billionaire overnight In 1997 Jobs sells NeXT to Apple and he rejoins the company in the rivalry against Microsoft which, he says, is slowing down the innovations that happen in the computing world putting a lot of companies and talented people out of business. It is interesting to hear that the biggest fan of Apple within Microsoft is apparently Bill Gates from what Jobs says. Microsoft has also invested $150 million in 1997 in its competitor although it could have been a move to get rid of some pressure from the antitrust authority.

Back to Apple Steve Jobs has been very active and the Company is performing well. Over the past two years lots of new Apple products have been a success. The OS/x operating system has got great capabilities and the computers produced at the moment have the best specifications on the market and are still the machines for creative people. Many colleagues described Him as a charming and motivating man with a drive for perfection. His Management skills have been criticized in many ways as he was of the most intimidating bosses and for the lack of coherence at some point during the eighties.

He had and still has the power, the capabilities and the ideas that can change the way the computer world develops, as he has been one of the most influential people in three revolutions. During the hardware revolution he introduced the personal computer, he managed to reduce it in size and cost, and he has given it a friendly interface. Over the software revolution he has backed up the development of Object Oriented Programming. Finally he has revolutionized the way we watch films through the software for animations and special effects at Pixar. [pic] II/ A charismatic leader

In September 1997, Steve Jobs was appointed the ‘interim CEO’ of leading information technology (IT) company, Apple Computers (Apple), by the Apple board. Considering the fact that the company’s board itself had ousted Steve in a coup in 1983, this development was watched with interest by media and industry observers. Steve’s comeback was being seen as Apple’s desperate attempt to survive one of its worst phases: losses for 1997 amounted to $ 1. 6 billion. The company reportedly needed a charismatic leader who could steer it back to profitability and revive its fortunes.

Those who had followed Steve’s career graph over the decades were not too surprised at these developments. Known as the ‘wonderkid’ of the Silicon Valley, Steve was known for pulling off seemingly impossible feats. He was one of the few entrepreneurs who were reported to be ‘as famous as a 1970s rock star’. All through the late-1970’s, Apple was always in the news. During that period, the Wall Street Journal focused on Steve/Apple and did not cover entrepreneurial ventures like Intel even though its cofounder, Bob Noyce, was the inventor of the silicon chip, which was at that time a revolutionary product.

Steve gave the world its first personal computer (PC), ‘Apple’ and reinvented the PC years later by creating the ‘Macintosh’. He made a successful business out of creating PCs that were not only user friendly but were also aesthetically pleasing, unlike the ‘dull’ models available those days. Steve’s research on the Macintosh resulted in the creation of the windows interface and the mouse technology, which went on to become standards in the software industry. Steve also established successful entrepreneurial ventures like ‘Pixar Animation Studio’ and ‘Next’.

Pixar, the creator of award winning films ‘Tiny Toy’ and ‘Toy Story’, was known as the number one animation studio in the US. The operating system that Steve created at Next was acclaimed as a revolutionary development by the software industry. Not surprisingly, Steve earned many awards for the services he rendered to the computer hardware and software industry. He received the National Medal for Technology in 1985 and The Jefferson Award for Public Service in 1987. He was named the Entrepreneur of the Decade in 1989 by Inc magazine.

He was also placed 39th on the Advertising Age ‘Top 100 Advertising People’ list. In 2000, the College of Journalism and Communications honored him with the ‘Millennium Award’ in recognition of his ‘singular professional leadership, vision and creative achievement. ‘ Steve was a celebrated leader for thousands of people who used Apple products. The story of how Steve built the Apple empire, how and why he was thrown out of it, how he created a few more successful businesses and the reasons behind his return to Apple is essentially the story of an entrepreneur and as a business leader… pic] III/ Steve jobs’ ideas and leadership Steve Jobs is often called Silicon valley pioneer and the author of unique leadership ideas In order to understand the leadership style of Steve Jobs and the core ideas and steps which led his Apple company to this success through the period while he has been and stays its CEO, it will be appropriate to start the discussion with one of Job’s quotations, which may shed the light on his leadership characteristics and define the direction in which the discussion will go: “Innovation distinguishes between the leader and the follower”.

This quotation is the key to the leadership style of Steve Jobs; he has made innovations accessible to the customers so that they keep opening their wallets. However, is it so easy to be a leader and to be noted among the most prominent America’s leaders as it may seem at first glance? Somebody may become surprised to know that Jobs has not graduated any college (he started his education but never finished it), devoting all his lifetime to new technologies and innovations in this sphere. Thus, it appears that leadership is the feature which is born, and not acquired?

Probably this right, however, Jobs also proves that being a leader is a complex of various aspects and visions. The fact that he founded his Apple computer in 1976 and by the year 2005 the company already had around 15,000 employers is the evidence of the successful leadership features which Jobs was able to use in his career making both him and his company successful. First of all, Steve Jobs is supposed to be the central personality within the company, the icon and cult-like personality, and thus Apple may be seen as “personality-driven”.

However, the question here is whether it is good or bad, is it really that Jobs is a cult, and how personality-driven companies may become profitable and successful. While Apple had six CEOs through the period of 1977-1985, it has become evident that it lacked both marketing and technological zeal and the CEO which the company needed had to combine the knowledge and vision of the future technology and marketing. Thus, one of the peculiarities of Jobs’ leadership style is that he sees the core company’s activity through the marketing prism.

Jobs were able to restructure the company and return it to the normal performance through the development of new products and making them popular among consumers. “Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings”. This is the mission statement which Apple follows at present. Brand fanaticism and radical customer devotion Steve Jobs has based the leadership culture of the Apple Company on brand fanaticism and radical customer devotion.

Though Jobs is highly criticized for his leadership style, but his achievements (introducing mouse and graphic user interface) cannot be neglected. They have become revolutionary. Jobs are perfectionist, and he has been described as being intimidating by several publications. Another important leadership feature peculiar of Jobs is that he does not see only computers, but far beyond. He is demanding both towards himself and towards his employees. His deadlines often seem impossible to meet, but he is constantly moving, moving towards improvement in all spheres of his work.

One more important characteristics of Jobs’ leadership style thus is his ability to combine zeal and fear for his employees, who often state that they are afraid of him, but for any business, especially for the large companies, it is essential that the employees have the same vision of reality with the head of the company; this often defines its success, no matter in what economic area this company works, in computer industry or in another sector. Steve Jobs’ transformational leadership More than anyone else, Steve Jobs brought digital technology to the masses.

As a visionary, he saw that computers could be much more than drab productivity tools. Instead, they could help unleash human creativity and sheer enjoyment. From the time he was a kid Steve Jobs thought that his products could change the world. This is another feature of leadership within Steve’s character: not only he has always been perfectionist, but he always believed into the need of his performance for his company and for the consumers; and his self-confidence led him to success.

Jobs is the example of the transformational leader, he is able to direct his people and make them do things which they have never done before, but these things are essential for the realization of Jobs’s vision and plans. He is seen as “egotist”, but this is again an integral part of successful leader. Egoism often appears to be a pushing force for striving to success in business; this egoism should partially be spread on workers, as it is seen, Jobs is egoistic towards himself, but he is also egoistic towards his orkers in making them achieve what seemed to be unachievable before, and it is essential that this egotist feature has also become an integral part of Jobs’s success. Perfectionism, egoism and creating, killing products Despite the fact that Steve Jobs is seen as egotist, he was able to create successful team of workers, which creates new products and works for the satisfaction of the consumer needs and demands. Consumer is the central player of the Jobs’ business scene, and this is why his products are so successful.

He knows that great business comes from a great product, but great product is impossible without a team, which will work for its creation and improvement. When he spoke about different Apple products, he described his impressions of the new Motorola phone with iTunes software, and he displayed this new invention as something from what they could learn something; this relates to the innovation in leadership, but innovation which is impossible without team work. The success of his team work is partially egotism and high criteria, but also the idea and the belief into the strategy through which this product will be brought to life.

Sometimes Jobs is not understood in his choice of the products which he sees as future innovations; after he has been back to Apple, he stopped production lines for all products and concentrated his efforts on the four only, which have later become the major company’s success. Jobs perfectionism is seen through his vision of the company being not only a competitor, but the company which brings killing innovations into people’s homes: he supposes that killing products bring killing profits.

Concentration on few products only is also followed by the concentration on their quality. For the creation of these products he needs small team but this team should consist of top talents, because his vision of leadership also presupposes that small team of talents is more useful and productive than crowds of less talented people. He was able to combine his great ideas with consumer desires, marketing visions and the skills of managing his team. These are the keys to his success as a leader.

He has created the whole culture within his company, and this culture pursues innovation, devotion to great “killing” products, marketing vision and concentration on quality. “You’d show Jobs something and he might look at one part and say that just sucks, but he never said ‘make that button bigger'”. (Young, 2005) This is the expression of Jobs’s striving for perfectionism and his ability to carry his ideas to his team who has to make them real. While he calls his new iTines Music store a landmark which cannot be overestimated, this phrase can be attributed to any of his innovations.

His products are perfect and are ‘killing’. Trust in success and the chosen strategy The ability of Jobs to concentrate only on the most necessary features is seen through his adolescence, when he dropped out of college and kept going to lectures as drop-in, visiting only those he supposed he would need in the future; among those were the courses of calligraphy, which seemed to be wasting of time, but which later became the basis for the Mac typography, and as a result the basis for the multiple typefaces which all computers integrally have at present.

Jobs trusts in his success as the leader and he himself states the necessity to trust, which will ultimately bring necessary changes into one’s life and make one the leader. One has to find the job he would love, and this will also create serious success in any area. He believes that as far as work takes greater part of our life, it is essential to believe that what we do is great; otherwise our activity is doomed to failure. How was Steve Jobs considered by his employees? Steve was regarded as a source of motivation and inspiration by his employees.

He described the Macintosh development team as ‘souls who were well grounded in the philosophical traditions of the last 100 years and the sociological traditions of the 1960s. ‘ Steve emphasized constancy of aim and effort. As a result, the Macintosh team pursued their dream through gruelling hours of work and against formidable odds. A reporter who interviewed the Macintosh team once said, “The machine’s development was traumatic, joyful, gruelling, lunatic, rewarding and ultimately the major event in the lives of almost everyone involved. Steve was reportedly an enigma to many at his office as well as people in business circles. He was very sweet and seductive when wooing prospective employees or when finalizing a deal with business partners. He would praise and inspire his employees in many creative and unimaginable ways. But he would also intimidate, berate, goad, belittle and even humiliate them at times. Many thought he could be “Good Steve” or “Bad Steve”, depending on the circumstances. When acting as “Bad Steve”, he would not car about the damage he was doing to the egos of those he hurt, as long as he pushed them to work better.

This “seduce and abandon” technique made people around him desirous of his acceptance and approval that when he suddenly withheld it, they put in extra effort at wok to win it back. Louise Kehoe, a Financial Times reporter who had covered Steve for a long period, said “He does make you “love” him and then he turns around and slaps you in the face”. It seemed to be unclear whether this unusual people management style was a conscious effort on Steve’s part to make people work harder, or led by simple instinct. Conscious or instinctual, it seemed to have worked for him.

Steve Jobs was able to get his employees so motivated that they worked maniacally to achieve goals or to build technology far beyond what they thought was possible. However, things were not that well as it seemed from the outside. His management style attracted criticism from various corners and he was often referred to as difficult person to deal with. The Apple board was also beginning to show disapproval of Steve’s behavioural and people skills. As the head of the Macintosh division, Steve spent most of the company resources on it, which led to differences between him and the Apple board.

When the Macintosh failed to perform as expected in the market (20,000 units sold as against the projected 80,000 by the end of 1984), Apple insiders began viewing Steve’s actions more critically than ever before. By March 1985, Macintosh sales were averaging only 2,500 a month. Unhappy with these developments, Steve reportedly was planning to ask Sculley to leave the company… How did the creation of Apple and NextStep develop Steve Jobs’s managing skills? Steve Jobs has been criticized as America’s roughest, toughest, most intimidating bosses.

Ever since Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer when he was 21, the meditating computer mogul was known as the terrible infant of Silicon Valley. Now, as head of NextStep, the 38-year-old Jobs is no longer an infant, but according to those who have worked with him, he still is terrible. Many colleagues describe Jobs as a brilliant man who can be a great motivator and positively charming. At the same time his drive for perfection is so strong that employees who do not meet his demands are faced with blistering verbal attacks that can eventually burn out even the most motivated of people.

Jobs pushed his workers to the heights of unethical work conditions. In the late 1980’s, two NextStep engineers had been slaving nights and weekends for 15 months to meet an important and impossible deadline for a new state-of-the-art chip. No one had ever designed such a thing before, and the strain was incredible. At a weekend off-site meeting Jobs publicly and viciously berated them before the entire company for not working faster, even after all their effort they put into building the chip. Out of pride they finished the project, but one of them quit soon thereafter.

A NextStep employee describes his attitude: “You’ve been on it a week, and you’re supposed to be brilliant. So what have you done? That’s why so many people are afraid of him. ” Steve Jobs’s drive for perfection often leads him to be ignorant to other people’s ideas. One ex-employee recalls how Jobs was demanding that, on principle, he would often reject anyone’s work the first time it was shown to him. To cope with this unreasonableness, workers deliberately presented their worst work first, saving their best for a subsequent presentation, when it could have a better chance of satisfying the boss’s expectations.

Several employees felt Jobs is going through a major personality change and becoming much more of a consensus manager and team player. Steve Jobs, a college dropout who experimented with drugs and Eastern religions before turning to computer design was an unlikely candidate to have become the prototype of America’s computer industry entrepreneur. The accomplishments Steve Jobs had on the computer industry while at Apple was introducing the personal computer. Jobs were bona fide visionary, who created the personal computer, Apple, in his garage.

The Apple changed people’s view on operations a computer could perform. From computers performing bean counter operations and federal taxes to executing individual’s personal business operations. Jobs lead a hardware revolution by reducing the size of computers to small boxes. His development of the Macintosh re-introduced Xerox’s innovative idea of user-friendly interface using a mouse. The Macintosh used a windows interface which contained picture-like icons representing a function or a program to be executed.

The user would use a mouse to move a cursor onto the icon and press a mouse button to execute the function or program. Companies witness the success of the Macintosh’s user-friendly interface and copied its style to develop their software. Jobs, in the nineties, will try to lead another revolution in software development for corporate developers to use the OOP paradigm to solve the massive time and money problems it takes to develop software. Conclusion Summarizing the core features of Jobs’ success as leader are the following: – innovation; – trust in success; – striving for perfectionism; ability to create small team of top talents; – brand fanaticism; – radical customer devotion; – “killing products” bringing “killing profits”; – ability to express the ideas to the team for their realization; – transforming self-interests into business interests for both the leader and his team. Coming to the end of the discussion of leadership characteristics of Steve Jobs, the following quotation can be used: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.

Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice; and the most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary” (Jobs, 2005). This idea is also supported by Young (2005), who writes about Jobs not paying attention to any side opinions, which come in the form of marketing research and financial indices, but he always relied on his feel and intuition in developing products and deciding what product will be popular among his customers.

The present assignment has been designed for the discussion of the relevant leadership ideas, based on the example of the Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs, who is supposed to be one of the most prominent leaders in the US business circles. It has become clear, that despite the fact that the leadership style of Jobs is sometimes considered being too authoritative and his company to be personality-centered, it is evident that he was able to achieve success and to make his company profitable; he has concentrated his efforts on minimum products but made them of high quality.

Besides, one of the essential characteristics of the true leader is that he should be able to adapt to the changing environments. The true leader in any business has to know how to motivate his employees, use his charisma, deliver his management vision to them and direct them towards realization of the set goals. This will make any company recognizable, trusted, known and successful, with stable market success and high profitability. Steve Jobs’ success at Apple came to be seen in the global corporate world as proof of his excellence as a leader and entrepreneur.

He was regarded as a tenacious, resilient and driven leader who successfully overcame great setbacks and challenges time and again. Steve did get knocked down many-a-time, but he always rebounded with tremendous determination. Indeed it would not be too far-fetched to regard him as “one of the very few survivors of a quarter century in one of the most unforgiving industries in the world” (as mentioned in the book “The second coming of Steve Jobs”). [pic] References

Official website http://www. apple. com/pr/bios/jobs. html Steve Jobs: He thinks different, available from http://www. businessweek. com/magazine/content/04_44/b3906025_mz072. htm> (accessed 02 April 2007) Steve Jobs. magic kingdom, Businessweek Online, available from http://www. businessweek. com/technology/content/sep2005/tc2005096_1655_tc210. htm? campaign_id=nws_techn_sep16&link_position=link11 Text of Steve Jobs. commencement address (2005), available from

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