Why all great leaders have destinations and why you are lost without one

Every blog  needs a story about Apple and here is ours. It’s probably one you’ve never heard because this is the remarkable story of a very young man, presenting his crazy idea at the 1983 International Design Conference in Aspen, long before he or his company were famous. At the conference, Steve Jobs said: “Apple’s strategy is really simple. We want an incredibly great computer in a book, that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in twenty minutes, and we want to do it this decade.”

Let’s analyse this strategy using the Achieve Remarkable Things or ART framework:

  • Did Steve Jobs articulate a clear inspirational destination for his quest? “A great computer in a book” is very clear and inspirational destination, he and his team knew where they had to journey to.
  • Was Steve Jobs challenging the impossible? Back in 1983 the idea of a great computer in a book; which you could carry around with no wires attached to it; and learn how to use in twenty-minutes was crazy impossible. Fire this man he must be bonkers ““ they did.
  • Did Steve Jobs deliver meaningful benefits? The immense and meaningful benefits that accrued across the world as a result of the iPhone and iPad, it’s very obvious.

What stands out most from this story, though, is it took over two and a half decades ““ June 2007 for the iPhone and April 2010 for the iPad ““ for Steve Jobs to reach his destination, rather than the “˜this decade’ he envisaged. During that time, he was fired by the board at Apple and sent into exile with Next Computers; he then made his way back to Apple via Pixar and Disney. The rest of the story is etched in history.

Here’s the lesson for all of us: Without his quest’s destination Steve Jobs may well have floundered in the wilderness. But by having a clear and inspirational destination he kept sight of and continued to strive towards his overall goal until he achieved it.

Your quest’s destination is an extremely powerful enabler because it:

  • Inspires teams to deliver the added commitment required to go the extra mile and deliver meaningful benefits
  • Empowers teams allowing them to take different “˜routes’ to the end destination.
  • Encourages experimentation, risk-taking and learning from failing fast
  • Builds agility, resilience and innovation into team’s culture and DNA
  • Enables leaders to manage less and provide more inspired leadership

This Great Computer in a Book story is an excerpt  from our white-paper Achieve Remarkable Things

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