Steve Jobs' Seven Insights for Leaders

Kara Powell | Aug 26, 2011

Yesterday I read a handful of blogs that either touted the future strengths of Apple after Steve Jobs’ resignation, as well as those that predicted its demise. Those were somewhat interesting but a Harvard Business Review blog today containing seven of Steve Jobs’ most powerful quotes so far has definitely been the most fascinating.

Perhaps Jobs’ best known quote was of course included: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugar water - or do you want to change the world?”

But two others that I hadn’t heard are worth repeating:

“The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.”

“We didn’t build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves.”

HBR blogger Umair Haque commented after the last Jobs’ quote:

“But how many other CEOs do you know that were listening so intently that they responded to the average fanboy’s (or troll’s) emails? Steve’s goal in paying obsessive attention to all things Apple wasn’t merely to ‘listen’ but to discern people’s wildest expectations, and then firmly take a quantum leap past them, instead of merely discovering the lowest-common-denominator of what people wanted most today, and then pandering to it.”

I love the idea of leaping past the lowest-common-denominator of what people wanted. Taking folks’ felt needs and using those as a springboard to touch their deepest real needs.

As you think about the teenagers you know, what are they asking for? What is the deeper need behind what they are asking for? How can you leapfrog past that and offer them, or even better yet help them create, something even more beautiful and powerful?

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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