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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Be "Insanely Great" - In Memory of Steve Jobs

As I settled in for the night in my hotel room while visiting a client in Western Canada, I turned on my treasured and indispensable companion - my MacBook Pro - and was deeply saddened when I clicked on Safari. (For those of you out there (if there are any) who don't own any Apple products, Safari is Apple's web browser). As would be expected, Safari defaults to Apple's website. I never bothered to change it.   The usual marketing-heavy (yet simplistic style of heading, image and movie elements set in geometric configuration against a white background) start page of the website had been replaced entirely by a simple tribute page. Steve Jobs, the brilliant, innovative, hard-driving, legendary, iconoclastic leader and visionary of all things Apple, had died.

While Steve's passing was not unexpected and I certainly did not know him or ever meet him, the world feels different without him in it.  By many accounts, Apple's success over the past decade has been attributed directly to Steve.  While I'm no expert in the area, the fact that he has more than 300 patents registered in his name, speaks volumes.  

It dawned on me that Steve was not just great, but in many ways was "insanely great" (a phrase often used by Steve).  That's why we are all the beneficiaries of such great products (some would even call "insanely great") and feel such a strong sense of loss by his passing.  That's the impact "insanely great" people have on others -- they are true visionaries, they move people to do great and even "insanely great" things, they inspire others, they innovate, they build on "insanely great" things and make them even better.  While we have all heard the stories that Steve wasn't perfect and may have not been the ideal people person, one of the things we can learn from Steve is to be "insanely great".   By being "insanely great", you will inspire others to be as well.

This is something all leaders should strive to be -- be insanely great.  Leaders don't have to emulate Steve Job's exact style, but they need to strive to be brilliant, to be innovative, to be hard-driving, to be legendary, to be iconoclastic and to be a visionary.  In doing so, they will lead others to follow in their footsteps.

In closing, I wanted to leave you with a few poignant words from Steve Job's commencement address to Standford University's 2005 graduating class:

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on."

Please click on human resources consulting to be linked to the Talent Matters website.

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