If you know anything about Steve Jobs, you know he was everything but a conventional man. He was known for very inspiring and orchestrated meetings and his goal in those meetings was to bring everyone together to work in harmony. Now, if you are anything like me, you hate the mere thought of having or attending a meeting just for the sake of having or attending one.
I think the first step towards learning how to have meetings like Steve Jobs is to call them what he called them which was “brainstorming sessions” because he was not in his meetings just to listen to himself, he was there to listen to his team of engineers, marketers, designers, etc. So, when he held a “brainstorming session”.
What can we learn from him and have an “apple moment” in our own business? Here are six great tips to learn from him.
1. Be Clear on the Purpose of the Meeting
As soon as your staff walks into the meeting, the purpose should be clear. What problem are you there to solve? It is important to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve so that your team immediately recognises why they are there. Steve Jobs was very clear as to what he wanted and why his team was there. He was enthusiastic, passionate and he believed wholeheartedly in why he was there. He was not afraid to “go all out for what he wanted”. Leading off with passion and purpose, he immediately engaged his team.
2. Recognise Creative Value
It is not just about the money, it is about what you have to offer that is so special and why people need it so badly. When your staff understands that this is something that people have to have and that they are a great part of it, they will make it happen. Steve Jobs was a genius because he knew he could not do it alone, he needed his team but not only he needed to know their worth but they needed to know their own worth, too.
Many times our lack of accomplishment is due to not recognising what we have before us.
It was once said that, “What you do not recognise you do not celebrate and what you do not celebrate will eventually walk out of your life”.
How sad is it to lose a valuable team member just because you failed to recognise their value especially if they are a key to getting your product or service out there.
3. Probe & Challenge
Steve Jobs was not afraid to probe his team and listen to their feelings however, he would push them to understand why they felt the way they did. It is not enough for your team member to say, “I do not think that is a good idea”, ask them why they don’t think that it is a good idea. There is always a reason or should be one for both the agreement and disagreement.
The probing was one thing but the challenging is yet another. Steve Jobs would sometimes, in fact, many times disagree with one of his team members but he would challenge them to listen to why. In this way, he would challenge them to think differently and even learn to challenge themselves on a better or different way to achieve something. Therefore, because of the probing and the challenging, they would stick with him because they would find themselves doing their best work and they were allowed to do so. This is where you can find great talent on your team, bring them to probe and challenge themselves.
Every one of your team members must walk out of that meeting knowing exactly what they are to do. The key here is not exactly the “how to do it” but for the “what to do”. The “how” is where Steve would push his team members to do their best. Your team cannot always rely on you to tell them how to do something but for sure they should know what the end result is expected to be.
One of the most interesting statements that Steve Jobs made was that, “he played the orchestra”. He knew how to bring them together in harmony to make a vision happen. Why do we as leaders want to be responsible for the “how”? This is where many of us miss out on the great things that we could be creating because we are trying to control it all. Conduct the orchestra of great talent and lead the game plan.
5. Focus on the War and not the Battle
Wow! I love this statement because too many times as leaders we are worried about the small battles going on around us instead of focusing on the greater war in front of us. Not only our team but ourselves, we must hold ourselves accountable for what is going on. Steve once said that as a team they were concentrating so much on the smaller battles around them that they had forgotten to keep the war in perspective.
What was that war exactly? It is SURVIVAL! As he wanted his team to not just win small battles, he wanted them to win the war, so should we and he did that by starting with the blame on his own shoulders. Start with yourself when you address your team, after all, you are the leader. Steve said, “if you want to change other’s behaviour, start at the top.”
6. Never Let Past Mistakes Own You
A mistake could be a win or it could be a stepping stone to a win. In one of Steve’s meetings, he actually told his team that he did not want to keep hearing about what had not worked before and what problems they had had, he wanted to hear about the “new window of opportunity laying before them”. He recognised failure from before and what all had not happened but often as entrepreneurs, we face failure and many of us have experienced it more than once.
We must believe that success is out there otherwise we would not keep trying. So, the next time you are in a meeting and your team members want to bring up the past, make it clear, yes we made a mistake but this is not the purpose of this meeting. We are moving forward and we are not going to let those past mistakes own us now.
If you have drive, focus, passion, brashness and patience just to mention a few, you are more like Steve Jobs than you think. These are the traits that brought him to discovering one of the greatest inventions on earth. The next time you plan a meeting with your team, take a good look at the above tips and challenge yourself to a “Steve Jobs” meeting and watch and see what great and successful things will come from it. Remember this, “Greatness and True Quality Never go on sale”.
Featured photo credit: Having Meetings Like Steve Jobs via imcreator.com