Lessons From Steve Jobs

As much as I travel, I'm always downloading movies to my iPad to make long flights go by a little faster. On the flight from Denver to our Service Sales Success School in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday Christy and I watched the movie "Jobs" about the life of Steve Jobs. (Even better that we happened to be watching it on one of his products, the iPad.) It was a great movie, and I highly recommend watching it when you get a chance.

I was inspired by the life story of the most amazing innovators of our time, and wanted to share some of that inspiration with you this week.

1. Love what you do. Steve Jobs loved what he did. It was "his calling." He had a passion for what he did, and that kept him going and kept him motivated to build a unique product and make his customers happy. What ignites your passion in business?

2. Listen to Your Customers. Steve Jobs believed in listening to his customers. He designed products to give customers what they want, and more importantly: to give customers what they want before they even know they want it! How can we provide customers with products and services they might not even know they want yet? Asking a ton of questions and providing options accordingly is one of the most effective ways to uncover what your customers want. What is missing from your customers' lives? If you can answer that question and fill the void for them, you've made a sale and gained a loyal follower.

3. Be the best at your niche. Figure out what you do exceptionally well and play it up. This starts with YOU and continues throughout the company, so focus on your strengths. Steve Jobs said, "Develop an environment where excellence is expected.” This excellence should be felt during any interaction with your business, from the first time a customer speaks with a CSR to the actual technician/client interaction to a follow-up call to ask how their experience was.

4. Don't try to beat the competition at their game. Redefine the game. Steve Jobs didn't believe in being better that the competition; he believed that you should be DIFFERENT that the competition. This doesn't have to be some astronomical difference, it can be small things that have a big impact on your customers. "Make the small things unforgettable." How are you different now, and how can you be even more so in the future? How can you create an unforgettable experience for your customers?

5. You can't do it alone. Here's a direct quote from Steve Jobs: "My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.” Every one of your team members has their own unique strengths. Maximizing the strengths of each person and minimizing their weaknesses is the key to building an outstanding team and an extraordinary company.

I hope these inspirations impact you this week like they impacted me while I was watching the movie. We've all heard these basic points before, but when you think about them a little differently with a focus on innovation, that's when a positive shift starts to happen. I would say that my life has definitely been impacted by innovations like the iPad, iPhone and iTunes...and that's just what Steve Jobs wanted.

Consider all the opportunities there are for us to make people's lives better through our companies, and then do it a little differently than everyone else.

Kenny

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