A while ago (click here), I stated that to be successful a business must have a vision of where it wants to go; it must be passionate about what it does and it must get on and do something about it – i.e. there must be action!
I was reminded of this last night as I reached the half way point of reading Steve Jobs, the biography by Walter Isaacson, which is an excellent read and is definitely to be recommended. When comparing Jobs early years at Apple and his time running NeXT you can can’t disagree that he was a visionary, he was certainly passionate about what he did (some would say too passionate) and there was a huge amount of action. Despite this it wasn’t enough to prevent both Apple and NeXT failing to deliver what they had set out to do.
This doesn’t mean that Vision, Passion and Action are not relevant, on the contrary; what is vital is that the passion and action must be directed towards achieving the Vision. This sounds fairly obvious, but how many leaders or their teams get sidetracked and spent time and energy on things that are not directly related to their vision for the business?
The answer lies in Leadership, but I don’t mean just a charismatic person at the top of the business. Leadership needs to be displayed at all levels in the organisation and in all directions – managing your boss, your colleagues and yourself through the use of personal power and not relying on the authority power given to you by your position in the company.
Going back to Steve Jobs, he certainly was able to use personal power to influence those around him. This power was so strong though it became manipulative and did not always bring out the best in people. He also failed to listen to feedback so did not get the benefit from the talented people around him.
Having said that he was hugely successful and really did change the world. Bear in mind I am only half way through the book so far and this is my opinion just on his early years in business, I am sure it will change over the next few chapters!
To summarise my new mantra for successful business, which I intend to use to help both my own business. Solitaire Consulting and the organisations I help is being extended to:
Vision, Passion, Leadership, Action