Steve Jobs Sets Back Leadership 20 Years

Steve Jobs is one of my heroes and a man who achieved his objective of “putting a dent in the universe.”

I enjoyed reading Walter Isaacson’s biography “Steve Jobs” because it gave me insight into the motivation behind the man who changed my world and was the Henry Ford/Thomas Edison of our time.

But this book is a biography, not a leadership book.

The problem is a lot of managers–forgetting that they are not Steve Jobs–will read this as a leadership how-to.  Almost every technique that Steve used is the exact opposite of what we should be doing.

Steve’s reality distortion field extends beyond the grave.

While reading the book I often found myself thinking, “Yeah, that’s a great idea–when I get back to work on Monday, I’ll starting doing…..”   Twenty minutes later while wandering around the house, I’d say “What?  That’s the dumbest thing ever because it violates my core beliefs and leadership principles.”

Those ideas came to me from Steve, funneled through Isaacson and read in my living room on my iPad.  Putting a unique spin on reality from the afterlife is something only Jobs could pull off.

Think of this book as the Guaranteed Employment act for Organizational Development teams, executive coaches and leadership trainers.

What I hear in my head now is the sound of less self-aware leaders firing up Steve’s “hero-shithead rollercoaster” and preparing to execute Steve Jobs in their workplace.  My prediction is that damage will be inflicted on organizations by managers misreading this book, and it’ll take five years or more to undo.

My take:  The book is a compelling read of a great, but flawed, visionary.  Read it as a biography and enjoy it.  Then do (mostly) the opposite.

Chunka Mui has a terrific take: “Five Dangerous Lessons to Learn From Steve Jobs.”  Recommended reading.

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