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Have You Seen These KaizenBiz Posts?

Some of you may know that I lead a chat on Twitter called #KaizenBiz (It used to be called #KaizenBlog). But if you didn’t know, let me introduce you…

What is KaizenBiz?

In brief, we discuss (yes, in only 140 characters) various business topics every Friday at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT. This worldwide chat uses the concept of Kaizen while exploring business ideas. The mission of chat is to apply critical thinking to various business topics, enhance our skills and deepen our self-understanding. We do this within a community that enjoys connecting with one another through conversation online and off.

Come over and visit KaizenBiz.com


These are our most recent posts so please read and share your perspective:

Please read, comment and join us on Fridays at 12pm ET on Twitter. If you would like an idea of what the conversation is like, here is the transcript from this past Friday’s discussion, “Why Doesn’t Everyone Have Effective Teamwork?” I hope you’ll join us soon!

 

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What Is #kaizenblog Today?

#kaizenblogWhen I  joined the Twitter chat, #kaizenblog as co-host with Valeria Maltoni (@ConversationAge), I knew I was in for something that would stretch and engage me. Valeria and I share a passion for exploring ideas and wanting to discuss them with others to see what else we could discover. Another person, Caroline Di Diego (@CASUDI), was (and is) a key supporter as I accepted the role of chat host. Caroline is also passionate about engaging with people and ideas and urged me to step up. When Valeria passed the baton to me, it was the right time to make the chat my own.

But the chat isn’t just mine

It’s really stone soup. You know that folk tale? To be fair, the #kaizenblog community is a much easier and more generous crowd. I find interesting topics, intriguing guest hosts, craft discussion questions and then it all comes together during the discussion when people add their expertise and insights.

The underlying foundation Click here to read more »

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SOPA, Innovation and Potential Global Impact

SOPA, Innovation and Potential Global ImpactAcross many social networks and many blogs, you may have noticed a lot of discussion of SOPA. There is a clear explanation on CNNMoney but, in a nutshell,  SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is a bill going through the US Congress that is supposed to eliminate copy infringement and penalize offenders. There are plenty of people out there with rogue web sites who steal innovative and creative products. These rogue websites are located outside of the US but they This threatens not only the competitive edge of the companies who has intellectual property and products stolen. According to a letter to the editor of the New York Times, the US Chamber of Commerce, it “threatens 19 million jobs.”

No one is advocating for online piracy

What is at stake is that the bill is poorly written in its current form. Fortunately this week, support has eroded and perhaps the sponsors of the bill will take the opportunity to improve the language so it actually targets these rogue websites. Artists, musicians, film makers, entrepreneurs and other content creators should have their copyrighted material protected. No question. It just comes back to how the bill is written and can it do what is intended?

Could innovation be stifled?

There have been discussions about how to regulate the Internet. As you know, there is everything on the ‘Net. But one of the things that makes the Internet so attractive is its openness. Now we have so many ways to communicate, collaborate and share with one another new ideas for business. We’re redefining how we interact on a personal and professional level. And this is changing how business is conducted. Not only are companies and partnerships formed but what is truly intriguing is the capacity to the varied ways people can connect to create and produce intellectual property.

Since there are provisions in the bill to shut down sites that are alleged to have violated a copyright. This means that sites would be blocked by ISP’s, be removed from search engines and be denied the ability to collect payment from online payment services (ex. Paypal). It is unclear how a site could defend itself from false accusations. So if a site aggregates information or users interact with one another, there could be an allegation of an infringement or intellectual property or the ability to enable an IP infringement. Result: the site just disappears.

What could happen globally?

It seems to me that a number of small and mid-sized businesses will not only cease to exist. Cloud computing, social media sites and many other advantages that the Internet provides an avenue for these smaller companies to compete, attract and serve their non-US customers with lower costs and easy access.

Non-US businesses may find that there are just too many obstacles to doing business in the US. SOPA could have a chilling effect as there may be fears that it is a form of censorship and potential legal issues.

Want to add your thoughts on how SOPA could positively or negatively affect how business is created and conducted?

Join us on the Twitter chat, #kaizenblog, on Friday, January 20th at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT. We want to hear what you have to say.

Certainly it’s clear that I have some grave concerns about SOPA in its current form so my bias is negative. The US House and Senate have to create a bill that will be cognizant of what is really going on online, what laws currently provide adequate protections, the types of products and companies that are created and how this could adversely affect how business is conducted. Still online piracy is a problem.

What would you suggest?

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Business Trends-What Happened in 2011 and What’s Coming in 2012?

Trends of last year and coming yearAs someone who encourages business owners and decision makers to take a look at what is swirling around their businesses, it seems natural to take stock of what happened in 2011 and to take a guess at 2012.

What just happened? 5 of the many 2011 trends

1. Daily deals- This trend seemed to gain a lot of momentum in 2011. Many of the companies offering these deals got funding in 2011. Groupon, LivingSocial and Coupons.com have given both businesses and customers opportunities to meet one another. It certainly doesn’t seem to be a trend that is going away any time soon.

2. When I asked for trends from 2011,  Christina Giliberti of CG Online Marketing responded with enthusiasm on how video and podcasts grew in popularity over the year.

3. Another trend Giliberti pointed out was how local business groups formed groups to encourage support and business growth. One example of this is Small Business Can.

4. QR codes – Are you seeing these everywhere? I sure am. Some small businesses have them as part of their contact information and they are ubiquitous in print ads for all products. They may be abused as Jim Nichols posited in his post or maybe a transient trend.

5. Apps – Sticking with the theme of mobile devices, there are apps for everything and multiplying by the second! Amanda Webb of Spiderworking.com described them as the “new niche social networks.” Mobile applications like Instagram, Goodreads and iMapMyRun combine both an interest or activity with networking with others.

 What’s coming in 2012?

1.  Social media- This is a large topic but there are a couple of trends worth noting. Influence sites, such as Klout seem to be gaining currency as a measure of one’s expertise and ability to engage with others. Some people are even including their Klout score on their resumes.

2. Gamification is another social media trend of people adding games as a marketing tool. One example of this can be seen at Sage Ireland.

3. Another emerging trend is the shift from ownership to access to goods or services.  ZipCar, Airbnb and cloud services allow you to have something you want without the details of ownership.

4. But it’s not just marketing, goods or services or even social media that has emerging trends. The workplace has some changes that could very well become sticky in 2012. One trend that seems to be gaining ground is working remotely. As mobile devices and networking sites (including Skype) make it easier to stay connected to the office, collaborate with colleagues and get work done, more people will opt to work from home or other off-site locations. Deborah Busser has some other interesting predictions for 2012 in this post.

So what do you think?

In this week’s Twitter chat, #kaizenblog, we’re going to take a look back at 2011 and try to peer into the future of 2012. Please join us on Friday at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT and share your observations.

Happy New Year!

What trends did you notice in 2011?

What trend surprised you the most?

What didn’t happen in 2011?

What do you see emerging in 2012?

 

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Collaborative Consumption – What Is This, Where Is It Going?

This post is by guest blogger, Nick Allen of  Spring Ventures, a multi-stage/multi-strategy venture fund that invests in novel information technology and cleantech companies. He has a great deal of experience in clean tech and on Wall Street. He is passionate about the potential for capital in in private and public markets to revolutionize broad sectors of the economy like transportation, energy and the built environment. He is our guest host on this week’s Twitter chat, #kaizenblog. Please join us to explore Collaborative Consumption this Friday at 12pm ET/5pm GMT/9am PT on the Twitter chat, #kaizenblog.

Join us as I guest host on the Twitter chat, #Kaizenblog Friday at 9am PT where we will discuss the very cleanweb concept of collaborative consumption – the massive rise in sharing/trading/renting of goods and services enabled by information technology and peer-to-peer market places. While an unfamiliar term to many, collaborative consumption is part of a widespread cultural shift in how we interact with others, our stuff and our surroundings.

More and more our idea of an ownership society is giving way to one where we value experiences and access over ownership.  No longer do we need to own the vacation home, the car, the CD, or the DVD. We want the experience they provide without the hassle, cost and inefficiencies of ownership. Yesterday’s vertical business practices and centralized distribution systems no longer serve the needs of a culture that is highly open and highly networked. Collaborative consumption flies in the face of traditional consumer culture and replaces it with the efficient and social use of products, services and resources. The result is a sustainable, improved and lower cost experience.

 A few questions to ponder ahead of Friday’s tweet chat…

 What are some examples of collaborative consumption?

 Buildings: There are 260, 80 and 2.4 billion square feet of residential, commercial and storage space respectively in the US. That’s over 1,100 square feet for every man, woman and child in the US. Using this incredible asset base more effectively and efficiently is a key theme of collaborative consumption. Companies like Airbnb and Homeaway are displacing the need for costly and energy intensive hotels by facilitating home share and rental between individuals.

Transportation:  Cars sit idle 95% of the time. The average person spends 35 hours of year in traffic at a cost of $115 billion per year in wasted time and fuel. Peer-to-peer car sharing networks like Zip Car give the benefits of ownership without the hassle.

Goods:  The average power drill is used for a combine total of 20 minutes. Craigslist and EBay were the first to connect buyers and sellers and give life to products otherwise destined for landfill. The greenest of products are the ones that never need to be manufactured in the first place. This idea has been extended more broadly through companies like Rentcycle,  FreeCycle  and ThredUp.

 Finance:  Banks and credit card companies have long controlled the purse strings. Social and peer-to-peer networks are opening up lower cost ways for consumers to get loans and investors to put capital to work by cutting out the costly middleman. Solar Mosaic allows anyone to invest in solar, Angel List is connecting startups with much needed early stage capital, and Lending Club and Prosper are getting consumers better terms then they ever could from their credit card companies.

 How big can this concept be?

As I mentioned above, collaborative consumption spreads across every industry. It’s not just a business practice but also a secular cultural shift that is impacting broad segments of society. And it’s not just happening in the US, but abroad as well. I’m not kidding when I say this is a mutli-trillion dollar movement.

 A NY Times article from early October talked about how barter networks were surging in Greece as economic crisis gripped the nation. This is collaborative consumption replacing a major currency!

 What are the cornerstones of the movement?

 Trust:  Companies and brands have spent enormous amounts of time and money building trust with their customers. We want to know that the products we use will perform as expected and will be safe. The level of trust for collaborative consumption to work is even higher. It’s more personal in nature and challenges our ideas around privacy and ownership. My hope is that we see new services arise that increase trust between parties and further accelerate peer-to-peer.

 Critical Mass:  Convenience drives the modern world. Zipcar works because it’s local and there when I need it. The swapping of goods is very local as well and needs a balance of supply and demand.

 What happens next?

Mobile is going to make collaborative consumption more and more on demand. The ability to use things when we want and how we want is only going to increase. Trust networks built by social media and our online presence is going to further meld with our physical lives allowing greater use, flexibility and efficiency.

 Where can I find more information?

The Mesh, Lisa Gansky

What’s Mine is Yours, Rachel Botsman

http://www.collaborativeconsumption.com/

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Open Mic on #kaizenblog

Twitter chat open mikeAs many of you know, I host a chat on Twitter every Friday at 12pm ET (that’s 5pm GMT and 9am PT) called #kaizenblog. This business chat has become a community of smart and welcoming professionals from many different industries. #kaizenblog’ers run the gamut of being business owners to employees for companies of all sizes.

Recently, we have hit a milestone. We have chat members who show up regularly from 4 different continents! It’s such a joy finding topics that we can think critically about and how we think and feel about them! And we have such fun too!

We’re doing something a little different this week.

I’m taking some time to be with family and enjoy the US Thanksgiving holiday so I won’t be on the chat. We’re trying an experiment that will be a good opportunity for #kaizenblog’ers to get to know one another, exchange ideas and ask questions that could become future chat topics.

The ground rules are the same.

Since we take ideas apart week after week, it can be easy to say something that people disagree with. How would you ever apply critical thinking to various aspects of business without exploring your own or someone else’s point of view? However, we have a policy of keeping the conversation respectful.

So, what do you want to talk about?

Yep, it’s up to you! Many chat members have connected offline and exchanged ideas and referrals. I hope you enjoy connecting and exploring business ideas with one another. Feel free to share links (including your own posts), recommend books and any other resources that illuminate the conversation.

If you need a beginning point, here are some questions you can start with…

Q1 What is the most valuable thing you’ve gained from participating in #kaizenblog?

Q2 What business idea has captured your imagination recently?

Q3 How could the #kaizenblog community help you in your business/career?

Where you go beyond these questions is up to you! I look forward to hearing about your experience of the open mic experiment. Have fun with this chat and you don’t have to wait for the “afterparty” for the virtual snacks and drinks. I’ll leave a virtual pumpkin pie on the table for you!

*On December 2nd, we have Joe Sanchez as our guest host and we’ll be talking about project risk management. Please join us!

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Social Media – Can You Measure That?!

Business owners and decision-makers are used to reading financial reports to analyze the performance of their businesses. So, with all of the advice that businesses should be involved with social media, it seems logical to want to measure how it works. But what do you measure? And do these measurements mean anything?

So, if social media is about relationships, then…

You can say you’re using social media for marketing, customer relations or what have you. But you are really having a lot of conversations with a variety of people. So you spend time blogging, chatting with people on Twitter, posting interesting things on Facebook or answering questions on LinkedIn. You build up relationships but there must be some sort of purpose.

Is it about influence or sales?

In a lot of ways, using social media is a big experiment. There are those who try to game social media by finding certain keywords that attract people. So people will write posts about, say, Steve Jobs so you look at them.  And others use lists that increase the numbers of followers. It doesn’t appear that this is truly about influence so it’s got to be about money.

For the rest of us, it becomes more of a question if you’re seeking to be a thought leader or an expert in your field who shares valuable information. Either way, you are building trust with your friends, followers and fans. The people who tweet or post for you communicate your brand and people make associations with this.

What kinds of tools show that people trust you?

There are loads of tools! It’s mind-boggling, to be honest. Here are 10 that are interesting:

And there are even more tools not even named here. But…

What’s the point?

There are more than enough tools to measure whatever you want. You could monitor:

  • The frequency that your posts are shared
  • The methods used to share your posts
  • The number of friends, followers or fans
  • Your ability to reach beyond just your friends, followers or fans
  • All of the above

However, it all comes down to defining the purpose of your monitoring. The reasons you are using social media are your benchmarks for the  monitoring. It seems very clear that there is a lot to learn to make these tools useful to you. Identifying which tool (or tools) will serve your purpose triggers the question, “are these numbers meaningful?” Getting usable information that lead to goals in your business plan is paramount.

What are the most important things to look for when you’re monitoring social media?

Why is this information important?

When would you ignore data from your social media monitoring tool?

How would you describe the ROI of social media?

*Please join us on the Twitter chat on Friday, November 18th at 12pm ET/5pm GMT/9am PT to discuss “Social Media Analytics: Useless or Meaningful”

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Is a Real Smile Too Much?

Real smiles and customer serviceWhile I was doing my graduate degree, I worked at a jewelry counter. During the sales training, they explained that many customers could appear rough around the edges and not well dressed. They emphasized that the most unlikely people could be the big spenders. The organization training me was based in the the middle of the country so they spoke about farmers and factory workers. The community I lived and worked in included old time New England types, immigrants from India, Central America, Russia and transplants from other US states.  Unfortunately, the trainers didn’t explain how we were to make a connection with these particular customers so we were left to our devices.

Smiling seemed a natural way to start building rapport. It was fun to hear the back story and look for an everyday watch or that perfect set of earrings with my customers. Creating these mini-relationships seemed logical to me and it certainly was a positive strategy as I was a top commission earner in the department.

We’re all in customer service

No matter if you’re selling jewelry, consultancy services or smartphone apps, we are all customer service representatives. Tom Asacker has written extensively about how everyone in an organization communicates the brand. This exhibits the authenticity of an organization.  We have so many potential moments to connect with another person when we speak with prospects, colleagues and other professionals. Some, if not all of these moments could have you smiling at another human being. Jeff Toister has a great post of what happens when you leave the smile out, even over the phone. We are all points of reference for people outside of our organizations.

So all I need to do is smile, right?

Partly, yes. Are you seeking to engage with the other person and why? Answering this question reverts you back to your organization’s executive summary. Yes, seriously. It’s about the organization’s values. Are you smiling at this person because they are a revenue source or something else? Is it inauthentic on your part to want to make the sale?

Authentic customer service is more than a smile

The current messages about authenticity state that people are seeking “real” people to do business with. We’re told how to write content, biographic profiles and frame sales pitches so they build relationships. There is nothing inherently wrong with these messages. But we might be creating something that doesn’t exist in business. Perhaps we’re faking authenticity the way we fake our smiles. The face moves but we’re left feeling like something is off base. (Want to see if you can spot fake or genuine smiles? Take this test on this BBC site.)

Tom Asacker writes, “engagement is the first step in an evolving process that ultimately leads to belief, adoption and support of the organizations’ brands.” Feelings prompt purchases. This is true whether you’re selling business to business (B2B) or to consumers. The way you make me feel is what prompts me to want to do business with you. And…how you make me feel, particularly during a conflict, prompts me to want to continue doing business with you.

Conflict is the greatest test of authentic customer service

At some point, you will have a clash with someone over your product, service, ideas or price. Smiling may not be literally the most appropriate response to a situation but bear with me for a moment. Your value system includes how you want to be treated by others. This is the human element that is a potential chaotic agent. When someone approaches us with a complaint, it is natural to feel defensive and attacked. This complaining person has attacked our value system. Chaos is introduced when we forget how we want to treat others.

A real smile may be worth a lot of money…or not

The current emphasis on being authentic may be a trend and not significant in the long term. On the other hand, there is a lot of energy in conversations about making work meaningful and more human-centered. As we interact with customers, prospects and other professionals, we are the snapshot of our organization. A real smile could be an invitation and gift embedded in your authentic customer service.

Beyond the  current vogue definition of “authenticity”, how would you honestly describe it?

How do you train customer service representatives to naturally exhibit organizational authenticity?

What are our choices really saying when we fail to treat our clients/customers as if they matter?

If businesses are ultimately about making money, could authenticity be irrelevant?Why or why not?

*Consider yourself invited to join us as we talk about customer service & authentic connection “Is a Smile Too Much?”” on the Twitter chat, #kaizenblog on Friday, October 14th at 12pm ET/5pm BST/9am PT so I hope you can join us. If not, please add your thoughts below.





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Living Business Plan: Letting Go, Quitting and 2012

*Join us for this topic on the Twitter chat, #kaizenblog. We’ll start the discussion on Friday, October 28, 2011 at 5pm BST/12pm ET/9am PT or add your comment below.

Recently, I had the pleasure of presenting a business planning workshop to small business owners. While talking about  living business plans , I urged the participants to identify what needs to be eliminated. We don’t talk enough about how to let go of the parts of our businesses that are half-alive. And quitting? Forget about it!

For the sake of this conversation, I’m going to use the word, quitting. It’s a word with so many negative nuances. WLet Go, Quit and Decision Pointithout critical thinking, we accept these nuances without knowing if they are true to our experience.

What’s not working as well as you would like?

When you set your business goals for 2011, you had certain things you wanted to achieve by December 31, 2011. There were positive results to celebrate. But what produces lackluster results?

  • Holding onto a product or a service that very few purchase
  • The marketing plan didn’t produce the expected results
  • People just didn’t want what we offered
  • You fell in love with your product or service and didn’t allow for adaptation or iterations of your product or service

Could you let go of something you loved developing?

Some of what we offer to our customers means more to us than simply a revenue source. Maybe all is good for awhile and then you’re doing your quarterly review. You notice  it’s not moving the way you expected. After a couple more quarterly reviews, you’re seeing a downward trend.

By letting go, it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go.

But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning. -Lao Tzu

When letting go becomes quitting…

There’s an interesting behavior among entrepreneurial business owners. When someone decides to close their business and return to working for someone else, entrepreneurial colleagues often respond with suggestions to keep the business on the side or urge him/her simply to not quit. Failure still seems to be taboo, for all those who claim that this gives you some kind of street cred.

Imagine quitting isn’t failure.

Of science and the human heart

There is no limit.

There is no failure here, sweetheart

Just when you quit

-“Miracle Drug”, U2

That’s the premise of the Freakonomics podcast, “The Upside of Quitting”. They state that there is a fallacy of weighing sunk costs. This concept is that we’ve sunk too much of our time, money, and/or energy and we can’t leave without getting something back for our efforts. One of the people interviewed for this podcast is Justin Humphries, a former baseball player, who now assists baseball players outside of Major League Baseball decide when it’s time to quit playing. Many baseball players who are at the end of their career struggle with accepting that they aren’t good enough or too old. Part of this seems to stem from lacking a broader sense of identity. Instead of seeing how they might transfer their skills to another part of baseball or find another career entirely, many players keep playing baseball.

Knowing when to ” shut it down”.

Stephen Dubner captured underlying belief for these baseball players, “Wow, that’s particularly poignant in my view… because baseball’s one of those rare sports that because it doesn’t have a clock, no game is ever out of reach…You could be behind a thousand runs in the bottom of the ninth and theoretically you can still come back and win. So that’s part of the ethic of baseball is never, never, never, never quit. Quitting is  not an option.”

The dissonance between “science and the human heart”

Entrepreneurs and business owners are often like these baseball players. With the recent severe recession and snail-like recovery, many startups and businesses are at a decision point. There are glimmers that things are just beginning to ease up and it’s exhausting trying to keep things afloat. And yet, quitting may not be seen as one choice.

As entrepreneurs and business owners, we derive much of our identity and a sense of competency from our business. We see the financial reports spelling out the science of our business. But, in our hearts, the challenges evoke emotions of grief, helplessness and powerlessness. We’ve put too much in to close the doors. We’re given so many messages that shames us out of quitting. And yet, quitting may turn out to be the best decision we could ever make for ourselves and our businesses. As it is urged by the “The Upside of Quitting”, imagine “there is no failure here.”

Setting goals for 2012

No one would ever say that letting go or quitting are easy or even pleasant experiences. Nonetheless, it is essential to identify any deadweight or mediocre performers. These could be things (or, ouch, people) you are fond of or just have out of habit and these are compromising your business vision. There is an intersection between deciding to let go or quit and your business goals. Aligning your metrics and your heart is an essential task when setting business goals.

What messages do we hear when we’re at the decision point to let go/quit/continue?

How are these messages helpful or  harmful?

How do you let go of a product/service in your business that’s not performing well?

How can “science and the human heart” become resonant with choice to quit?

As you plan your business goals for 2012, how could letting go or quitting assist planning?

 

*Join us for this topic on the Twitter chat, #kaizenblog. We’ll start the discussion on Friday, October 28, 2011 at 5pm BST/12pm ET/9am PT or add your comment below.





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Steve Jobs: Visionary or Product Innovator?

Please meet my latest guest blogger, Joe Ruiz  of Strategic Marketing Solutions. It’s been my pleasure to get to know Joe through the Twitter chat, #UsGuysChat. He brings such warmth to that chat and recently joined the #kaizenblog community. His background includes, being an Epsilon alumnus and former Vice President of Strategic Services at Brann Worldwide. Throughout Joe’s 27 years in marketing, he has worked heavily in the pharmaceutical, healthcare and financial services industries.

Many things have been said about Steve Jobs the past few weeks.  He has been compared to Edison, Disney, Einstein and countless others for his creativity and innovation.  There is little doubt our lives are different today because of his insight, intuition and marketing acumen.

“Life Changing”

Recently my wife started using an iphone.  Prior to this she had no interest in anything other than a basic cell phone.  Lately she has discovered the world of apps and photos (to name a couple of obvious phone features).  She is constantly exclaiming “This is life changing!” She is not engaging in hyperbole, she means it!  For her, this is a new discovery of an expanding universe; a new world beyond itunes and ipod.

All of us have felt the impact of Steve Job’s innovative touch in some form or fashion.

As I was reviewing tributes for this post, I found many common descriptive characteristics.  Steve was a leader, salesman, artist, and an evangelist.  He was passionate and persistent.  He had an ability of turning imagination into reality. Steve had a completely different way of looking at the world.  He approached technology from the users’ perspective rather than the programmers’.  When responding to an interviewer’s question “Why would you rather spend time tutoring a 9-year-old boy on how to use a Mac than with two famous artists?” he replied, “Older people sit down (in front of a computer) and ask ‘What is it?’ but the boy asks ‘What can I do with it?’”.

Steve created more than products; he created great experiences, platforms, and even entire industries.  His disruptive innovations changed the way we buy and consume music and listen to talks (podcasts), to name a couple of the more significant innovations.

Although Jobs was a brilliant strategist, Apple’s culture is by most standards difficult.  Steve was demanding and difficult, over-berating colleagues publicly.  According to Guy Kawasaki, there was secrecy between Apple divisions.  Jobs had a reputation for being controlling and very detail-oriented.  When Steve was dismissed, the company floundered and it was only his return that set the company back on course.

Here is a summary of some of the lessons learned:

  • Keep it simple and clean.
  • Sweat the small stuff.
  • Think ahead of your customers.
  • Create engaging and creative interfaces with the technology.
  • Design for lifestyle and application, not efficiency or functionality.

Finally, a quote from a 1985 interview best illustrates Steve’s ability to look ahead and see what few others could:

“The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it to a nationwide communications network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people – as remarkable as the telephone.” Playboy, Feb 1, 1985

Questions for discussion:

Q1 – Is there a difference between a Visionary and a product innovator? If so what is it?

Q2 – What can we learn from visionaries?

Q3 – Are visionaries truly unique or is there element of “right time, right place” at work?

Q4 – How would you compare Jobs to Gates or Zuckerberg?

Q5 – Do you think Apple’s innovation will be sustainable in the future? Why?

*Consider yourself invited to discuss this topic of “Steve Jobs: Visionary or Product Innovator” on the Twitter chat, #kaizenblog on Friday, October 14th at 12pm ET/5pm BST/9am PT so I hope you can join us. If not, please add your thoughts below.

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