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Dear Learn & Perform Subscriber

Here is the May e news. Thailand, Singapore, India and Australia were my travel places in May. The weather was incredible too: Melbourne was real cold; Thailand, Singapore and India were at the peak summer. In all of these countries, politics took centre stage and politicians were blowing hot and cold. My visits, though, were purely business driven. Another common news topic in all of these countries was the ability of Apple to continue to create shareholder value. One great article by Steve Job’s auto biographer Walter Isaacson, in the Harvard Business review, the Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs attempted to put in perspective his great contributions in a practical and powerful way.

With just about 6 weeks away from the Asia HRDCongress 2012 to be held at Bengaluru, India, Grace and Team are putting the finishing touches to making it the best ever.  About 40 world class speakers will be addressing some of the issues that we have seen in the Leadership Lessons from Steve Jobs. Jon Younger, Ranjan Malik, Ron Kaufman and some of the other great speakers will offer some revolutionary ideas for you to take away from the Conference. Visit to register and make sure you do not miss out. Now to the e news:

Leadership Lessons from Steve Jobs: from the Harvard Business Review

The great wave of reports and articles unleashed after Steve Jobs death talked about his being jerk, a genius and his success being magical. Isaacson believes a lot of that analysis to be off the mark. The Editor of the Harvard Business Review says the purpose of this article is to take away management lessons and enable anyone to benefit from the success of Steve Jobs. While the article highlights 14 Leadership lessons, we will emphasise on five of them in this month’s e news:

  • Focus,
  • Simplify,
  • Take responsibility end to end,
  • When behind leapfrog,
  • Put Products before Profits,
  • Don’t be a Slave to Focus Groups,
  • Bend reality,
  • Impute
  • Push for Perfection
  • Tolerate only ‘A’ players
  • Engage face to face
  • Know both the picture and the details
  • Combine the Humanities with The Sciences
  • Stay Hungry Stay Foolish

Steve Jobs believed his greatest contribution was not the creation of the – iPhone or iPad  but building Apple into an enduring company. This was achieved by having focus. “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do, it’s true for companies and it’s true for products.”  His ZEN training reinforced his focus like approach into his personality. His ability to relentlessly FILTER out distractions was awesome. On his return to Apple, he wanted a focus on just 4 great products, 2 for the Desktop and 2 for the Portable. Focus was the hallmark of his leadership style.

Focus on making the product great and the profits will follow was his advice. He shifted the focus in Apple from profit maximization to creating innovative products. Making great products was the primary motivation at Apple. This leads to important decisions such as who is hired, promoted or what is discussed at meetings.

While there are many stories of his aggressive and impatient behaviour with the people around him, this stemmed from his passion for perfection and the desire to work with the best. He did not want a bozo explosion that mediocre people stick around the company. Jobs was brutally honest. His rudeness and roughness was accompanied by inspiration. This ability led to his A players staying longer with the company, being loyal to Apple and creating ground breaking products. He expected his A players to do great things and achieve the impossible. Those leaders who believe they can be rude and rough without being inspirational are making a dangerous mistake.

Despite being a thought leader in creating digital forums, he was a great believer in engaging people face to face. That is where creativity comes from. He wanted people to think not make slide presentations. He wanted to engage people face to face in freewheeling discussions.

The famous TED video of Steve Jobs’ speech at Stanford that highlighted these lines was embraced by Steve Jobs after reading Stewart Brand’s final issue of Whole Earth Catalogue. He stayed hungry and foolish throughout his career by ensuring the business and engineering aspects of his career were shaped by a non conformist attitude. The 1997 Think Different campaign emphasised this approach – “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” To order a copy quote HBR Reprint R1204F, visit

Asia HRDCongress 2012, July 10th to 12th, Bengaluru, India
The HR Guru Dr Jon Younger from the RBL Group, Dave Ulrich’s co author will provide answers to Cracking the Da Vinci code in Human Capital Management with his keynote HR From The Outside In: The New HR Competencies. Jon will be in India, so close to us. There will be no need to fly to the USA. He is with us. Let us mark our calendars: three learningful days July 10th to 12th. Remember ITC Gardenia can only take 500 delegates for this high quality event where most of the high profile delegates from India and 35 countries are there by exclusive invitation. Do visit to register now or email

Have a good month ahead, will be in touch mid June.



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