Examples include his temper tantrum about the color that the vans were painted at NEXT, a story an engineer told me about how unhappy Jobs was with the color of the bolts inside a computer he wanted the technicians and geeks who opened it up to be impressed with the beauty , and a story -- which is pure rumor -- that he fired someone from the Apple store because he didn't like the color and quality of the bags that she ordered.
No doubt, a lot less suffering would happen if he had learned perhaps he has learned to deliver these messages with more civility, but as someone who teaches design thinking, I believe that Jobs hypersensitivity to human emotional experience is one of the things that gives Apple a huge advantage -- even though, ironically, he apparently has created a lot of negative emotional experiences for the people around him in the process.
I also confess that I always notice how lovely the bags are at the Apple Store. By the time the book was published, the number was well over , Well, a quick search reveals that -- whatever this number means -- Jobs asshole count is way down these days: 53, just a minute ago. And, in fact, mine is pretty close to his: "Robert Sutton" and Asshole yields 32, I am not sure this means that he is five times more of a genius than an asshole, but there is no doubt that he has remarkable talents.
Finally, in reading the story and even my own writings and comments, I worry that, by glorifying Jobs, we are making the world safe for asshole infested organizations and fueling the belief that assholes make more effective leaders.
If you take a careful look at research on leadership, it is quite clear that civilized and less selfish leaders are more effective at creating workplaces where people learn, repair mistakes, and innovate when they are compared to their nastier counterparts and note this is not argument for wimpy leaders. Companies led by routinely demeaning people might succeed because perhaps like Jobs their leaders' other talents are so strong that they overwhelm such "asshole costs. Put differently, if the journey is the reward, then why would any of us choose to travel with a companion who treats his fellow travelers like dirt?
I suspect I will get the strongest reaction to my quote the Fortune article that ""Steve Jobs running the company from jail would be better for the stock price than Steve Jobs not being CEO. Reblog 0. You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post. Finding this blogpost dated more than eight years ago gave an opportunity to look at Apple and its co-founder's remaining effects on the company since his death almost five years ago.
I would contend that while the company's current CEO seems to be doing a good job according to press, it seems that the company had such a toxic culture led by one person that it could not be sustained by another leader thus leaving the company vulnerable in a quickly changing industry.
Steve & i: One Photographer’s Improbable Journey With Steve Jobs
Shortly after the co-founder's death, there had been many rumors of employees or even groups of them defecting for competitors or starting their own. Those rumors have been vague. What's clear is that Apple has been very actively buying back its stock over the last few years as an aside, its insiders have been heavily selling and that may be connected to stock options held by those employees that remain. Its co-founder had lauded stock options as "golden handcuffs.
Though talent wars are common in the Valley, this may be an under-appreciated aspect of a cost to the company as a result of its prior leadership. Writer Malcolm Gladwell has stated that in decades from now the co-founder will be largely forgotten but Bill Gates will not be for, at least, the latter is attempting to cure malaria and benefit billions of poor people in the world.
Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs in jOBS: first-look image | GamesRadar+
Who will care then about the marketing genius behind the iPhone? How many people can name the inventors of radio, television or even the Sony Walkman? As Al Dunlap's later career exemplified, jerk organizational leaders may be very effective for short-term results.
They also leave behind a trail of costs from disaffection that may impair the enterprise once they're gone. Posted by: P. July 15, at AM. Posted by: chiangshih October 23, at AM. I've puzzled over Steve Jobs' management style and Apple's elegance in design time and again.
Even after reading your book and the caveat that is chapter 6, I still come to your ultimate conclusion in item 6 of this post wow, that's a little creepy I think regardless of why he's a jerk, Steve's failure to nurture future innovators for Apple will ultimately be its downfall. Posted by: Gabe April 22, at PM. I second Lavinia Gene Weissman's comment that "companies exist for a purpose that is far greater than a CEO's personal vision or what drives a heroic leader to drive.
I agree with Wally Bock that "When people move into positions of power, especially great power, other people treat them differently. If you want to create a culture of trust and full creativity you'll probably need to do a better job of listening to your employees than their parents or teachers did. Meanwhile you've got deadlines to meet, so it's tempting to disregard "soft skills" like listening, and to just "push on," even if a few people get trodden on in the process.
Learn to listen! You'll like yourself a whole lot more. Bob - clearly a stimulating post. Taking your points and some of the comments as starting points have we actually though about this from Jobs point of view? What does it take to get thru a consistent vision, that's proven remarkable, and turn it into products. Civilized leadership presumes a known direction. Having run more than a view teams I've experience it both ways.
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One particularly team created an industry breakthru in replenishment strategy largely over the sullen foot-dragging of several members who thought they had a better notion. On my confidential reviews I got dinged for leadership and the a-factor. On the other hand we did a startlingly complex, complete, forward-looking and prescient piece of work.
That's still a decade ahead of industry best practices. Which would not have see the light of day otherwise IMHO.
Or at least would have taken more persuasion, leadership, energy and time than I could give it. That seems like a worthy project for further investigation perhaps? Posted by: dblwyo March 13, at PM. Interesting comparison. Let's substitute 'Balmer' for 'Jobs' in that arguement and you have the germ for an entirely new article.
Posted by: Dave March 13, at PM. I have given much thought to this. No females allowed in this club. At one point there was a joke about how when Jobs and McNealy of Sun got married, their wives put them through finishing school, perhaps e. Bill Gates. Creative people, especially innovators may be the least understood and hard to work with some say. I have had a few gigs at Sun Microsystems during times of difficulty.
The blog Schwartz started also modeled a need for a leadership style of civility and innovation that was not dominated by the behavior of marketing and sales that also lacked customer service. My point is that companies and leaders form corporate culture and an excellent company invites people to be themselves and maybe create a system of civility that surrounds it that tames the heroic tactics that people like Jobs, McNealy and John Mackey of Whole Foods can also model.
Success Factors the same and Lars is definitely a hero, who made a lost company perform and thrive. Somewhere in the mix there are heroes and heroines and somewhere in the mix there are teams of people who must activity that is critical to heroic success. Doesn't it take all kinds?
It is my belief that some of the leadership material offered by Strategy and Business Magazine looks at that seriuosly and how the DNA is formed in that regard to me it is not about individuals, but about how Core Groups of decision makers beckon and welcome the best performance out of social networks and when Core Groups realize that companies exist for a purpose that is far greater than a CEO's personal vision or what drives a heroic leader to drive.
I found out about your blog through the Careerist. I look at your website regularly and I think it is good. In fact I have bookmarked it. I would like to partner and trade links with you. I am based in Chicago and I receive traffic locally as well as from all over the world. I hope to hear back from you soon and if you have any questions please let me know. If you decide to trade links with us please send back your web address and how you would like your site's name to be listed. If you decide to trade links with us, use the name Joboja and the URL: www.
Until then have a great day. I have a bit of trouble with the idea that people achieve positions of power and that turns them into jerks. Stay informed and spot emerging risks and opportunities with independent global reporting, expert commentary and analysis you can trust. Downgrade, change or cancel anytime during your trial. Renews monthly unless cancelled. Sign in.
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