About three years ago I yielded to the pressure. My enthusiastic Mac-user friends (they’re all enthusiastic) convinced me to buy a Mac. I still use my trusted PC desktop but increasingly I’ve moved into the world of Apple. It’s “the coolest company anywhere,” according to a Fast Company (July/August 2010) cover story. It’s “the largest company in the tech universe and the second largest in the nation” so what can we learn from Apple and CEO Steve Jobs? Here are conclusions adapted from Fast Company.
- Think differently. I know a struggling church that has invited the retired founding pastor to set direction for the future. This sounds like going back to the past for ideas that no longer work. In contrast, Apple thinks creatively, plans carefully, looks to the future, and keeps everyone surprised.
- Just say no. Some exciting opportunities are not worth pursuing. Be cautious. Saying no can be a wise decision.
- Serve your customers. The same is true with your students, church members, audiences, newsletter readers or your kids. Caring for others builds trust, creativity, and effectiveness.
- Envision the future. Apple stays on the edge of what’s technologically possible, willing to try things that have not been done before. This is difficult. Maybe it’s only for visionaries and risk takers. But maybe it’s for you.
- Communicate creatively. Steve Jobs is a masterful communicator. He prepares meticulously and practices passionately. His presentations can be powerful…until something goes wrong. That happened in a speech last month but Jobs recovered beautifully. How do we recover when things go wrong, especially when we’re on a platform? That’s a lesson from Steve Jobs that we summarize in next week’s letter.
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