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Leading Apple With Steve Jobs: Management Lessons From a Controversial Genius

ISBN: 978-1-118-37952-3
175 pages
September 2012
Leading Apple With Steve Jobs: Management Lessons From a Controversial Genius (1118379527) cover image
A former Senior VP of Apple shares how Steve Jobs motivated people to do the best work of their lives

Jay Elliot was hired personally by Steve Jobs, just in time to accompany him on the last of his historic visits to Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center, the visits that changed the course of computing. As Senior VP of Apple, Jay served as Steve's right-hand man and trouble-shooter, overseeing all corporate operations and business planning, as well as software development and HR. In Leading Apple with Steve Jobs, Jay details how Steve managed and motivated his people—and what every manager can learn from Jobs about motivating people to do the best work of their lives.

Steve Jobs used the phrase "Pirates! Not the Navy" as a rallying cry—a metaphor to "Think Different." In the days of developing the Macintosh, it became a four-word mission statement. It expresses the heart of Apple and Steve. The management principles that grew out of that statement form the backbone of this book.

  • Explains how to find talented people who will understand your objectives and be able to make a contribution to that effort
  • Lists traits that can determine whether a person will be so committed to the vision that they will provide their own motivation
  • Explains how to ensure that your employees hold an allegiance to the captain and to his/her shipmates, and also possess the ability to come up with original, unique ways to approach a problem, and be self-guided with a strong sense of direction

Leading Apple with Steve Jobs will shift your thought paradigm and inspire you to assemble and lead innovative teams.

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Preface Why I Wrote This Book ix

Chronology xiii

1 A Ding in the Universe: Everything Starts with an Inspiring Vision 1

2 Steve’s Business Philosophy and Values 15

3 People Who Know More than You: Choosing and Leading Your Lieutenants 29

4 Steve’s Secrets for Selecting Great People 41

5 Unusual Interviewing Techniques 53

6 To Protect Innovation, Create a Company within a Company 61

7 “No More Crap Products”: Creating Excellence 73

8 More on Product Strategy: Design Is How It Works 85

9 Entrepreneurial Confidence and High Standards 93

10 Employee Owners: Rewarding the Product Stakeholders 99

11 The Apple Workplace: Fostering Creativity 107

12 When Selling Becomes More Important than the Product 121

13 “And One More Thing”: Looking into the Distance 139

14 Flowers at His Doorstep: The Heritage of Steve Jobs 149

Notes 161

Acknowledgments 165

Index 167

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JAY ELLIOT was a senior member of the original Macintosh development team and helped Steve Jobs develop the overall Mac design inspired by Xerox PARC. Becoming Senior Vice President of Apple reporting directly to Steve, Jay ran all corporate operations, including business planning, IT, facilities, and HR, for Apple worldwide. As a mentor to Steve, Jay was able to impart the management principles Jay had learned at IBM and Intel, which helped Steve build Apple into a multibillion-dollar company.

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September 20, 2012
Former Apple Insider Shares Management Lessons from Steve Jobs

“My job is to not be easy on people. My job is to take the great people we have and to push them and make them even better, coming up with more aggressive visions of how it could be…My job is to make the whole executive team good enough to be successors, so that’s what I try to do”. – Steve Jobs

As the fascination with Apple continues, many are still unclear about the man responsible for creating the iProducts. Steve Jobs was often criticized for his management style, yet many Apple insiders would argue his leadership was nothing more than admirable. In fact, he was dedicated to motivating his employees to exceed their expectations and execute the best work of their lives.

Jay Elliot, Founder and CEO of Nuvel, a software development company based in Los Gatos, CA  had the privilege to manage side by side with Jobs as a former Senior VP at Apple from 1980-1986. Jay Elliot was personally hired by Jobs, just in time to accompany him on the last of his historic visits to Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center—visits that changed the course of computing. From spending time with Jobs, Elliott believes there is a great deal that the average manager or leader can learn from Jobs approach to motivating people, pursuing excellence, and leading innovative teams.

In his latest book, Leading Apple with Steve Jobs: Management Lessons From a Controversial Genius (WILEY; ISBN: ISBN: 978-1-1183-7952-3; Hardcover & E-Book; September 2012), Elliot offers a unique insider's account, sharing  Jobs’ basic strategies for leading teams, and the techniques that made them so incredibly innovative. This book is organized around key management and leadership lessons that Elliot learned from Jobs while at Apple, not chronological events in Apple’s history.

Most people don't realize that Jobs cared as much about how Apple operated, and how it motivated its people, as he did about creating great products. He used the phrase "Pirates! Not the Navy" as a rallying cry —a metaphor to "Think Different." In the days of developing the Macintosh, it became a four-word mission statement. It expressed the heart of Apple and Jobs. The management principles that grew out of that statement form the backbone of Elliot’s book, including how to:

  • Find talented people who will understand objectives and make a contribution to that effort.
  • Identify the traits that determine whether a person will be so committed to the vision that they will provide their own motivation.
  • Ensure that employees possess the ability to come up with original, unique ways to approach a problem and are self-guided with a strong sense of direction.
  • Prepare someone who will be ready to take over for you, if and when.

It was obvious Apple was dominated by one man, yet Jobs made his case very clear in a 2003 interview with 60 Minutes, “Great things in business are almost never done by a single person”.  Jobs was a unique, charismatic leader and constantly acknowledged for his flaws, however according to most people that worked with him, they did the best work of their lives.

Most books on Apple or Steve Jobs have been written by journalists and focus on Jobs' colorful personality. Leading Apple with Steve Jobs offers an insider’s perspective, focusing on the management lessons many managers, executives and employees would be grateful to have had experienced firsthand.

Leading Apple with Steve Jobs provides the wisdom and inspiration business executives, managers, and employees need to shift their thought paradigm, manifest their vision, and inspire their team to achieve ground breaking innovations. Although considered to be a controversial leader, Jobs was an example of someone that always focused on enriching lives and making the world a better place. Elliot’s book is a true testament to not only Jobs as an icon but a teacher, and exemplary leader.

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