Cross-Functional Learning


Our well-rounded business content is designed for Leaders & Managers to implement change with ease & improve accountability amongst their teams. Here you'll find Articles from thought leaders in their fields, have access to practical Business Templates, learn new skills & expand on skills you already have. Stay informed & proactive...Join Us Today!

Join Now

Steve Jobs: Secrets of Life - How Steve Jobs Shaped My Career Without Me Knowing

By Lisa Woods (1453 words)
Posted in Professional Development on January 4, 2013

There are (5) comments permalink

Add to My Toolkit

Wow!  Like everyone else, I’ve always been impressed with his work, but never really spent time studying Steve Jobs.  That was until last night when I went online to see what kind of management videos are out there. What I found were a multitude of Steve Jobs interviews from the 1980’s through his recent death in 2011.  I watched as many of them as I could find.  He was amazing, both impressive and inspirational.  I never realized how much of an impact he had on my life, but upon reflection, he did…he really did.  And last night, his words truly resonated with me.


Not to date myself, but I was in high school when the Apple IIe came into the classroom for the first time.  I always considered myself very fortunate to be part of the generation X clan.  We learned how to use the apple computer as the world did.  I loved it, stuck with it through college and even into my profession as I worked in marketing and graphic design at the start of my career.  What I loved about that time was that you needed to understand everything about the computer in order to get full use out of it..and its use was endless.  There were no rules, because it was new.  There were no constraints, because the interface allowed you to imagine instead of remember program codes.  The Apple computer…aka Steve Jobs…established my generation as doers.  Every day there was a little more that could be done with this great tool but you had to get into it yourself to figure it out and be creative.  You couldn’t dictate to others, you needed to be hands-on because it was new and so much fun!…I loved it so much I even volunteered my time in the college computer lab to help others take full advantage of the technology.  It was night and day.  One side of the lab was lined with PC’s, the other with MAC’s and it was amazing to me that anyone would actually choose a PC if a MAC was available. (Of course I did my part to convert as many as possible).  When I looked at this box that Steve Jobs created for me, I was limitless, and that shaped the way I looked at life and the way I managed my professional career.


I am fortunate, and blessed to have had opportunities that were rich in experience and success.  Whether it be in marketing, product development, international management, general management, managing business turnarounds or my daily interaction with colleagues, innovation was ALWAYS my mode of working.  There were never rules to follow, instead, there were investigations to conduct.  The more I could figure out about any given situation, the better I could develop a unique approach to solve problems, generate ideas and teach new ways to move forward.  I have said many MANY times throughout my career that I believe my philosophy and hands on approach to life and business is based on the fact that I grew up at the beginning of the computer revolution….but what I never knew, until last night…was that I was right.  I never imagined that Steve Jobs himself had a vision to open our minds this way.  He impacted the world.


As a summary of all the video’s I viewed, here are just a few concepts that stood out the most:

  • The world we live in was created by people that are no smarter than you or I, so don’t assume there is a best way of doing anything.  Make your own decisions and come up with your own ideas. You can lead others and expose them to a better way of doing things.


  • Be creative in everything you do. Including managing others.  There should be no restrictions on the way things are structured.  Structure and accountability are good things, but the way you structure things should be generated by the results you are trying to achieve.  Don’t feel you need to implement a certain hierarchy, or use traditional job titles, etc…  Look at the result you are trying to achieve and work back to a structure that best supports it.  Don’t forget to assign accountability.  Management by committee & matrix organizations often reduce a company’s ability to be creative and get things done.


  • Listen to your customer and work backward.  Don’t spend your time trying to explain why your product is so great and everyone should buy it.  Instead, create a product or service that satisfies the needs & desires of your target customer and enhance it with value that takes it one step further.


  • Be hands-on and involved in your work, as well as your overall business. Creating an environment where people can learn from you, and you want to learn from them, rewards everyone.


Steve Jobs intended to create an environment where people changed their approach to thinking, and as a result, he created mine.  It has been with me since the Apple IIe (and yes I am still a MAC owner). I think in many ways it helped me shape the start of ManagingAmericans.com by providing new ways of approaching career growth and helping people succeed.  Just like my approach to business, I believe that there should be a unique approach to professional development.  I want to create tools that allow people to be innovative in their careers, be accountable for their approach to leadership, management and their individual contributions.  Not be told by others what their limits are, but create a more hands on approach to understanding the big picture and the impact they can have by doing things differently while helping others add value along the way.


I think he summed it up best in a 1995 “Secrets of Life” interview conducted by the Santa Clara Valley Historical Association.  “The minute that you understand that you can poke life, and if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it…that’s maybe the most important thing. Is to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just going to live in it, verses embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.  I think that’s very important, and however you learn it, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better because it’s kind of messed up in a lot of ways.  Once you learn that, you will never be the same again.” – Steve Jobs


You can view the interview here www.SiliconValleyHistorical.org.


How has Steve Jobs shaped your life?  What about other thought leaders?  I would love to hear your story.


Good luck!




Written by Lisa WoodsPresident & CEO ManagingAmericans.com

Lisa is a successful entrepreneur, world-class marketing strategist, dynamic business leader & author with more than 20 years experience leading, managing and driving growth in the corporate world. Today she provides Management Tools, Do-It-Yourself Training, and Business Assessments for small to mid size companies, Lisa utilizes her experience with integration techniques, organizational and cultural overhauls, financial turnarounds and strategic revitalization to help other companies succeed.  Closing the gap between strategy and hierarchy through the use of effective communication skills, Lisa's techniques successfully develop employees into exceptional leaders, results driven managers and passionate team contributors that collectively exceed objectives.


Do you have a question for Lisa?  Post it in our Executive Leadership Community, she will be happy to help: Ask an Expert


Did you find this story informative?  We would like the opportunity to keep you up to date on all of our training articles.  Please register for our newsletter so we can do just that.  

Here are some additional training articles you may be interested in: 

4 Essential Skills for Leaders, Managers & High Potentials

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: How to Develop Yourself & Your Team 

Lessons Learned Templates & Guide: A Managers Toolkit for Continuous Improvement

Work Efficiency Equation For Managers And High Performers

Overcoming Disconnect Between Middle & Upper Management


At ManagingAmericans.com we encourage members to go in and out of our communities to learn about different areas of business; how to work together, solve problems and improve skills.  Each community details expectations, challenges, success tips, training programs and useful resources. Growing your knowledge base and learning about all areas of business can help you navigate towards success in your career.



Comments (5)

Laura Stamps posted on: January 4, 2013

Jobs was a remarkable man. A true artist who made operating outside the box his daily motto. His videos really do rock! Did you see the one of the speech he gave to a college graduation class? Amazing! I'm also a big fan of Seth Godin. He has a wonderful way of looking beyond the norm and digging deep to create meaning and artistic innovation in your business.

Rahul Magan posted on: January 4, 2013

I love Steve words - " Stay Hungry and Keep Foolish "

Dan Trueman posted on: January 4, 2013

Great article Lisa, thanks for sharing. Steve Jibs was certainly a complex character with all the foibles and strengths we get to see in the workplace everyday but it is fair to say his impact will probably begin to be understood better once the rhetoric has died down and it can be better analyzed and understood. What is certainly true herein in my experience is that the goal should dictate structure or structure may prevent the goal.
There's a new Steve Jobs biopic due in April and I for one can't wait!

Natalie Lawson posted on: January 4, 2013

Seriously impactful!

seo srvice posted on: February 17, 2013


i see your website this is good so i like you.

Leave a comment

Not a robot?