Steve Jobs holding an iPod

4 managerial skills and lessons every Manager should learn from Steve Jobs.

We remember him as the guy who wore a black mock turtleneck, blue jeans and sneakers at every product launch. However, his (for lack of a better word) outstanding dressing style wasn’t as splendid as the cult-like suits other managers wear today. No. It’s in fact the least of things you could pick from Jobs, or probably the best. However, in today’s market, managers get it rough even from their dressing. Unless you own the business or company, it’s difficult to just dress like Steve Jobs and be seen as an example to anyone in your office. Managers, just like everyone else, want to maintain an image of the company, and of their own. You will hear them saying, “I have an image to protect.”

Forget about Steve Jobs’ dressing style, but don’t remember to forget these four elaborate lessons that you can learn as an entrepreneur or as a manager of your company. Steve Jobs is among the best and most intelligent CEOs to have walked the earth, and his legacy lives on until today. But just how do you create a legacy that sticks in the minds of people? Inspires them? Gives your employees a selfless attitude to work for the company?

Be Hands-on

Most CEOs today don’t get to be involved in the products development and marketing as much as Steve Jobs did. Managers and Entrepreneurs have developed complacent attitudes towards their companies and products. They have become satisfied, critically and become too comfortable to want to change anything as it stands today. The end result is a product that’s just like the competitor’s, or probably much less in quality. When you get too comfortable in life, you never progress, and it’s not any less in the corporate world.

Steve Jobs is known for being hands-on about two things, product design and marketing. He was involved in each and every step whether little or big in the design of each and every Apple product, but most especially the brand that is the iPhone. We have read of stories from Apple employees about how hands-on and involved Steve Jobs was. You couldn’t pass anything under his nose even if you sneaked it while he was asleep. From as little things as the icon design, the placement of buttons, the functioning of mobile apps to as important things as the touch and feel of the product, the form design, materials and the display of the iPhone, Steve Jobs was involved in each step.

Product Development and Design connect with marketing just at the hip.

Steve Jobs launching the MacBookYou can stop trying to be the CEO protecting your image, but as sure as you may need it, being a hands-on manager will ensure that you know your product inside out. During the product launch, you will be the only person in your company to have been involved from scratch to when the product gets finished. As such you can be the only credible marketer for that product as the CEO. Steve Jobs launched each and every major Apple product, the group that involves the string of the iPhone, iPod, iPad, MacBook and iMac. He knew his company’s products better. He marketed them better than all Apple Marketers and Sales people. In fact, who wanted to hear what sales people had to say? Just listen to Steve Jobs’ keynote at product launch and you have it all.

Save for a few managers today, others have left the marketing work to the sales people and marketing companies. Other CEOs and managers believe that marketing is much less worthy of their outstanding stature in the company. Despising or rather seeming to despise marketing as a feat for the people who are at the low ends of your company’s ladder does not get your company the money, it gets the company wrong information about the product or undetailed information as well. Information passed on from one person to another cannot be relayed as original as it was. Words will be changed and other statements will be put in that place hence the product will not be portrayed as you intended to.

Positioning of the product during marketing is as good as the marketing campaign itself.

It’s very possible to position the product in the wrong place during a marketing campaign or during the product launch. Steve Jobs, described as an entrepreneur, marketer and inventor, excelled in something that’s so difficult for others to reach. Product positioning. Once, describes former Apple VP of marketing communications, Allison Johnson, Steve Jobs came across an email that was meant to train AT & T salespeople on how to sell the iPhone, and he edited it to make sure that the product was edited accurately.

 Marketing is not the place where products go after they’re developed and launched. The role of marketing in planning is to get the product positioning right.

Managers sometimes tend to think that marketing is about doing something crazy with the product, being a control freak by wanting people to buy by force or just trying to make funny situations out of it. However, Steve Jobs showed us that marketing is about positioning the product accurately in the way you would want to see it, in the way you want consumers to view it.

Marketing agencies may be experts at marketing but sometimes it takes a hands-on CEO to centre their product appropriately because more often than not, marketers may get it wrong.

It’s good to keep the anticipation and suspense alive

Steve Jobs

Prior to the iPod’s product launch, Apple’s CEO and Founder Steve Jobs released a keynote speech about the iPod. His ideal way to transform the music world. After Steve Jobs’ speech about the transformation of music and his dream for the iPod, it was never heard of again. Steve Jobs took a few minutes to explain why the iPod was the next dream and music gadget every person should have. He demonstrated how it would work and what to expect when it finally went on sale. Steve Jobs spoke of its portability and the iOS integration that made it stand out shoulder high above the massive MP3 players in the market.

After that strong speech in his launch, Apple and Steve Jobs went silent to continue working on the product behind the scenes. Unlike Samsung, who will spend a lot of money advertising and creating product demos all over before the product goes out for sale in order to keep the consumers upbeat, Apple went quiet about it all. There were no commercials, there was no advertisement on the iPod, and there were no billboards. Zero. Nothing. The only thing you would find online was Steve Jobs’ keynote about the product. People were in anticipation, they waited and weeks later, when the product went on to launch for sale all over America, everybody went out to buy it. Apple sold more iPods that week than it has ever sold any of its products in the first week.

Steve Jobs was a marketing genius.

He knew by not creating commercials and advertisement, he would be able to keep people in suspense prior to the product launch. He was aware of the success suspense could achieve. And he won.

Steve jobs didn’t want people to look at Apple’s products in the selling mode. He wanted the consumers to see his products as life changers. His marketing strategy was to teach consumers how to use the products. He demonstrated what the iPhone was able to do that other smartphones couldn’t. He showed us how to use them. That way, he brought game and change in the marketing scene. Something all CEOs and Managers would want to do.

Just because you call yourself a CEO, or an entrepreneur, or an inventor, it doesn’t make you one. They are all nothing but labels. If you can learn these 4 lessons and then some more, you are on the path to becoming another Steve Jobs, not Steve Jobs, but another Steve Jobs. In the sense that you could be as good as your personality defines. As best a CEO any company can get. You stop trying to be like Steve Jobs, learn from these lessons and develop another CEO we can all learn from and talk about. Long after you are gone.