Takeaways for the growth venture
Jobs the movie came out just last weekend. While I haven’t seen it I knew that its release would generate all kinds of commentary. So I read a recent Forbes article on the movie with a healthy dose of skepticism. I thought just another article generated to take advantage of a current event but not really deliver much value. 10 Powerful Quotes From The Steve Jobs Movie And What They Teach Us About Leadership proved me wrong. I actually drew healthy doses of inspiration and insight instead of disappointment. Now that’s worthy content!
Very few of us on this planet have the combined vision, boldness and ability to execute of Steve Jobs. But it doesn’t mean we can’t up our game by learning from him. We can set the passion bar where he sets it. I gleaned three great takeaways for entrepreneurs in the midst of scaling the growth ladder.
On the customer. (Quote # 8)- “You’ve got to have a problem that you want to solve; a wrong that you want to right.”
Get your “customer problem solved” right. Understand your customer’s world in a way that allows you to bring your experience/point of view fully to bear on their problems in way that hasn’t been done before. You don’t need focus groups to do this, but you do need a deep understanding of your customer. You need to understand their “job to be done” as well as they do. Invest the time and energy to gain that insight. Then become great at explaining your solution in terms of their problem.
On competition. Quote # 3. “How does somebody know what they want if they haven’t even seen it?”
Jobs didn’t try and do what others did. He didn’t try and do what others did better. He did them differently. That’s what he did when he created both the iTunes Music Store and the Apple store. He asked “How do we reinvent the store?” That’s the essence of beating the competition – beating their strategy. Don’t face them head on and do what they do. Find out how what they do creates a weakness or under serves the customer. Then fill that need like no one else.
On passion. Quote #9 - “It [what you choose to do] has got to be something that you’re passionate about because otherwise you won’t have the perseverance to see it through.”
Jobs was nothing if not passionate. But he also inspired that in others. In fact he demanded of it those on his team. Keeping your teams energy, focus and commitment to your new venture gets tough when the chips are down. And as you know, at some point the chips are down in high potential but still aspiring enterprise. A milestone was missed, the big clients aren’t landing, or product and sales teams are at loggerheads. Whatever the cause if you know what drives your people, you link their goals to your objectives and keep that entwinement visible and palpable you transcend these small problems and charge towards the big win on the horizon. Find people that are passionate about your cause and never forget to keep stoking their passion.
Your job isn’t an easy one. But Jobs sheds some light on how to do that job better.
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