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BirdsEye View

steve jobs' principles for success

I loved Steven Jobs. I didn't know him, but he changed my life, as he did for the entire human race. What an amazing person he was! So, when I read the text below, it was only natural that I wanted to share it with you.

The following was written by Carmine Gallo, an entrepreneur and a communications coach.

  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.

  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.

  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.

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

  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?

  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 and he entertained, all in one presentation.

  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 two-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 is one story that I think sums up Jobs' career at Apple. Am 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 the genius in your craziness, believe in yourself, believe in your vision, and be constantly prepared to defend your ideas.

MY TWO CENTS' WORTH: As you read this, don't discount all of it just because you're not in technology, manufacturing etc., or just because you're not one of the largest banks. Many of the principles Jobs advocated, particularly starting from the customer and selling them dreams, are eminently applicable to our industry. Our customers are not looking to collect special paper with Andrew Jackson's image printed on it. Their money with which we are entrusted has everything to do with their dreams and very little to do with money itself. As Aristotle said in the Nicomachean Ethics, "Wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else."

I can't fathom how to achieve differentiation in this highly commoditized industry, but I do know there are banks that have been successful in doing so by creating a unique customer experience and being laser-focused on their target customer base. You can carve your own space too, so long as you are willing to accept that you're not all things to all people, and that some customers will defect from your bank because they are the wrong customer for you.