Steve Jobs was honored in death the way that we honor superstars. He had real fans. Can you think of another businessperson who had fans? You can’t and it’s because Steve Jobs had once-in-a-lifetime kind of talent. He built these incredible products that we didn’t even know that we wanted. He was a true visionary. His company, Apple, has arguably grown into the most successful company of the last decade. In fact, if you look at market cap, they are number one.
So we all know about the genius of Jobs and the success of Apple, so let me ask you – what have you learned from Jobs and Apple? What are the key business lessons that have come from Jobs and think how can you use to run your business and your team more effectively?
Walter Isaacson, Jobs’ biographer, says that two of the most important things that Jobs did was (a) take total responsibility for his products from end to end, and (b) he valued his own instincts above what consumers may say they need. Perhaps Jobs’ most amazing talent was taking numerous, disparate pieces of information and putting them together to develop an innovative business strategy. His ability to read all the signs on the horizon and determine the right response made him seem almost prescient in creating products the world would eventually devour.
Jobs’ story is that his singular insight and vision drove Apple’s success. He really was a genius. And we love a genius. But the problem with genius is that it can’t be replicated.
You can't be a genius alone
Since we cannot all be geniuses, we have to do what other successful mortals have done for centuries – we have to collaborate with others. And that is the key message that I want you to take away. You can achieve greatness. You can tackle the complex challenges in front of you. You can drive significant growth in your organization. But you need to capture the collective power of your team to do this.
Harness the power of the collective.
Rather than engaging one person’s mind, experience, intellect, and drive around an issue, multiply your efforts by engaging your entire team or your entire organization. An environment where people are encouraged to take action based on their knowledge allows millions of decisions to be made that can lead to the greater outcome. But fostering this kind of synergy and capturing the collective intellect, the knowledge and talents of the entire organization is maximized.
Trust in paramount in an adaptive leadership environment
Creating this type of environment doesn't happen overnight. When multiple people are contributing to the overall goal, trust is paramount, relationships are vital, and a well-defined vision is essential. When everyone knows what we are trying to achieve, people can work together toward a greater outcome without having to discuss each and every decision. If you allow each person to play their role and ensure that relevant information is passed on to the people who need to know it, everyone can function independently but synergistically at the same time. That is how an organization can capture the collective wisdom and abilities of the group. That is what adaptive leadership is all about.
What are you doing to building an adaptive leadership culture in your sales department?