7 Secrets to Having Success at Work According to Steve Jobs

by Jason on October 17, 2011

I found this great article on Steve Jobs’ secrets to success at work.

Success at work is defined in various ways for sure.  In my mind it’s not just about profit, success at work depends on how much you impact the lives of others.

If you could point to any CEO over the last century who embodied success at work and had a major impact on the world, it would be Steve Jobs.

Jobs wasn’t perfect by any means, but he turned failure into success.

Jobs had a set of principles he used to define work.  According Carmine Gallo, a communications coach and author who wrote the article for Entrepreneur Magazine, these 7 principles are what drove Jobs’ success at work.

Here’s Gallo’s take on those 7 secrets to Steve Jobs’ success at work (according to Gallo).  Gallo’s thoughts are quoted, and my thoughts are included underneath those as well.

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1. Do what you love

Jobs once said, “People with passion can change the world for the better.” Asked about the advice he would offer would-be entrepreneurs, he said, “I’d get a job as a busboy or something until I figured out what I was really passionate about.” That’s how much it meant to him. Passion is everything.

I totally agree. If your heart isn’t into something, then you’ll find  it difficult to get up everyday and have success at work.  Changing the world won’t happen.

2. Put a dent in the universe.

Jobs believed in the power of vision. He once asked then-Pepsi President, John Sculley, “Do you want to spend your life selling sugar water or do you want to change the world?” Don’t lose sight of the big vision.

The great companies are best at communicating a big vision!  Like Michael Hyatt says, vision is more important than strategy!  Success at work largely depends on communicating a grand vision.

3. Make connections.

Jobs once said creativity is connecting things. He meant that people with a broad set of life experiences can often see things that others miss. He took calligraphy classes that didn’t have any practical use in his life — until he built the Macintosh. Jobs traveled to India and Asia. He studied design and hospitality. Don’t live in a bubble. Connect ideas from different fields.

I think the point here is that having interests and hobbies outside of your work allows you to draw from other experiences to help impact your success at work even more.  If we are simply consumed with work 24-7 we make for boring people and actually lose sight of the grander vision.

4. Say no to 1,000 things.

Jobs was as proud of what Apple chose not to do as he was of what Apple did. When he returned in Apple in 1997, he took a company with 350 products and reduced them to 10 products in a two-year period. Why? So he could put the “A-Team” on each product. What are you saying “no” to?

I thought this was great for two reasons:

1) We often think we must be great at everything in order to sell ourselves, but the reality is we become mediocre at everything and deliver less than the best.

2) In our quest for success at work, we often say yes to things we have no business saying yes to. It takes our focus off what we are really good at.  People will always ask, but it doesn’t mean we always have to say yes.

5. Create insanely different experiences.

Jobs also sought innovation in the customer-service experience. When he first came up with the concept for the Apple Stores, he said they would be different because instead of just moving boxes, the stores would enrich lives. Everything about the experience you have when you walk into an Apple store is intended to enrich your life and to create an emotional connection between you and the Apple brand. What are you doing to enrich the lives of your customers?

Jobs was a master at understanding exactly what he was selling.  He wasn’t in the tech business, he was in the life enriching business.

6. Master the message.

You can have the greatest idea in the world, but if you can’t communicate your ideas, it doesn’t matter. Jobs was the world’s greatest corporate storyteller. Instead of simply delivering a presentation like most people do, he informed, he educated, he inspired and he entertained, all in one presentation.

Jobs took boring presentations, threw them away, and then unfolded a drama.  The best communicators are storytellers, and storytellers typically have tremendous success at work.

7. Sell dreams, not products.

Jobs captured our imagination because he really understood his customer. He knew that tablets would not capture our imaginations if they were too complicated. The result? One button on the front of an iPad. It’s so simple, a 2-year-old can use it. Your customers don’t care about your product. They care about themselves, their hopes, their ambitions. Jobs taught us that if you help your customers reach their dreams, you’ll win them over.

There’s one story that I think sums up Jobs’ career at Apple. An executive who had the job of reinventing the Disney Store once called up Jobs and asked for advice. His counsel? Dream bigger. I think that’s the best advice he could leave us with. See genius in your craziness, believe in yourself, believe in your vision, and be constantly prepared to defend those ideas.

Jobs was a master at selling the idea of reaching your dreams through the use of his technology!

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