A few weeks ago, I published an analysis of an inside company meeting led by legendary visionary Steve Jobs. It contains numerous lessons for business leaders, and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times worldwide. (You can read the analysis and see the video here.)
Recently, I stumbled across another gem: a documentary showing footage of Jobs and his team at Apple in the early days. At the time this article was published, the video has only been viewed about 13,000 times.
This rarely seen footage contains inspiring lessons for anyone trying to build a company. I've picked six of my favorites (and also included time frames from the video in parentheses).
Here they are:
1. Learn from your competitors. (1:02)
In the early to mid 80′s, Apple and IBM were viciously competing to become the world's premier home computer. As Jobs points out, IBM had about 350,000 employees at the time. Apple? About 6,000.
But Jobs admits that he benefited from this rivalry: "I have a great deal of respect for them. They've made Apple a lot better. By competing with IBM we're becoming better and better each month."
Lesson: Respect your competition. Learn from what they do well, and use that as inspiration to bring out your best.
2. Micromanagement can be good. Sometimes. (2:11)
Jobs was notorious for his tendency to micromanage (at times). One of the managers who appears in the video, Chris Espinosa, seems to verify this:
"He's a maniac...a maniacal genius. His job is to stir up everything...He will not leave anything alone. He will not allow inadequacy or compromise to exist."
But hardware wizard Burrell Smith highlighted a different aspect of Jobs' management style. "Steve Jobs was a catalyst for us," he says. "He gave us space; he sheltered us from the corporate noise."
Lesson: Different individuals and different situations require different styles of leadership. Adjust your style to the need, and you'll get the most from your team.
3. Develop a clearly established vision. (4:13)
Jobs didn't see himself as a manager. He saw himself as the 'keeper of the vision'.
"What [people] need is a common vision. And that's what leadership is. Leadership is having a vision. Being able to articulate that so the people around you can understand it...and getting a consensus on a common vision."
Lesson: As a leader you must have the clear vision for what you're building. This takes time and self-reflection. It also takes collaboration with your team, to understand and incorporate their ideas and goals. If you do this correctly, they'll buy in automatically.
Your job is to steer the boat in the right direction. But first, you need to know where you're going.
4. Find people that fit your culture. (3:36)
Jobs states that one of his most important jobs at Apple was recruiting the right people.
Software engineer Andy Hertzfeld agreed:
"The most critical part was when we finally decided we liked [a job applicant] enough to show them the Macintosh prototype and then sat them down in front of it. And if they just [said] 'This is a nice computer', we didn't want them. We wanted their eyes to light up and for them to get really excited, and then we knew they were one of us."
Lesson: Everyone will affect the culture of your company, from the front-line worker to the C-Suite. You want people who will challenge you and speak up if something is wrong. But they also need to appreciate your values and vision.
If they don't, it doesn't make them bad people. It just makes them bad for your company.
5. Lead by example. (9:30)
Jobs: "The best way I came up with to affect change at Apple was by example. And that was probably, more than anything else, the key reason that I spent two and a half years of my life on Macintosh...[it] was to try by example, to say, 'Hey--here's a better way to do this. And it's turned out it's worked."
Lesson: 'Do as I say, not as I do' never works. The best way to lead is to practice what you preach. (Believe me. I have two children.)
If you want them to follow, show them the way.
6. It's bigger than just you. (10:05)
The narrator reveals an interesting fact about early Macintosh computers:
"Inscribed inside the casing of every Macintosh, unseen by the consumer, are the signatures of the whole team. This is Apple's way of affirming that their latest innovation is a product of the individuals who created it, not the corporation."
Lesson: You may own a great company. You may be a great leader.
But a company is only as good as the people who work for it.
Apple released Macintosh on Jan. 24, 1984. They hoped to sell 50,000 computers on the first 100 days on the market. Instead, they sold 72,000.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
What about you? I'd love to hear the points you felt were valuable. Make sure to share the conversation, or you can tweet to me @justinjbariso.