You know, people react to Apple products similar to cats… you either love them or you hate them. There is probably a person in your life that is driving that hatred for Apple. I have a colleague that at a former company, there was an individual that would answer all technical problems with, “if you had an Apple, that thing wouldn’t happen”. Yep, fanatics in the office can drive you crazy. (However) I have been wanting to write about Steve Job for a long time, so I thought it would be interesting to wonder what it would be like if Jobs ran an accounting department. At the end of this series, I will answer that questions.
I really think that as managers, leaders, bosses and employees we can learn a lot about Jobs. No matter what you think about him as a person, you can not deny the impact that Jobs has had on business and culture. At his death in 2011 Jobs had impacted six different industries, (1) Personal Computing (2) Music (3) Animated Movies (4) Phones (5) Tables (6) Digital Publishing*. and he was on his way to impacting a seventh – politics. Before he died he had contact with President Obama to help with the state of political ads. If Jobs would have not passed away, I believe he would have made a drama impact in politics and the state of the US economy. Jobs was beside himself at the number of entry to mid level engineers that Apple employed in China ,telling the President that those 30,000 jobs* could be done in the US, but the talent wasn’t available.
For the most part, if you only know Jobs casually you will know about his rants and tirades as well as a hippy like approach to business. You also might know that he was verbally abusive to employees as well as demanding and you didn’t want to cross him. There are so many stories that illustrated these dramatic moments, like the time he told a programmer, in the early days, that he work was crap (but used a different word) and to illustrate his point he pulled the plug on his computer* and the programmer lost all of that work. Another time Apple got a bad review of a product (MobileMe*). Jobs called the entire product team into Apple’s auditorium and read them the riot act for forty-five minutes, and at the end of the rant Jobs called the leader of the team up on stage and told him to pack his things and fired him on the spot.
What Does This Have To Do With Accounting?
You might be thinking there is nothing an accounting of finance professional can learn from Jobs. Well, stick with me for the next couple of days and find out. There is a lot we can learn. Even though the stories above Jobs are true, he was able to create incredible team locality that produced amazing things. One employee said that Jobs was able to get us (as a team) to do what we thought was the impossible*. Another former employee said that he would yell at you and tell you were dirt, but I felt lucky to have ever work with the man*.
Over the next few days I am going to write about Jobs and Development, Innovation, Management and then answer the question; can Steve Jobs run an accounting department.
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*All sourced from the "Steve Jobs"