This week saw a sad day for millions of Apple fans the world over; me included. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple announced his retirement and Tim Cook was appointed permanent CEO. I’ve read quite a lot about Tim Cook and I, for one, think that Apple is in safe hands. After all, it’s not difficult to steer the ship that Apple sails with its millions of devoted, loyal fans and its outstanding array of products. Yes, I am one of those loyal fans. While the stock Market might not, yet, agree (Apple stock fell dramatically following Jobs’s announcement) it will bounce back. The King might be gone; the Kingdom is very much alive and kicking.
Of course Apple, like any successful company, doesn’t ‘sell’ what it first appears it sells. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz doesn’t sell coffee (he sells a third place to meet). John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, doesn’t sell switches and routers [yawn] but human connections that change the ways that we work in the modern world. Apple don’t sell iPods, iPhones and MacBooks: they sell the means to change the world; to “put a dent in the universe”, as Steve Jobs once said.
What is it about this charismatic, erudite, visioned hands-on workaholic with a prolific ability to encapsulate in a short sentence technology that changes the world and the way that we interact with it that makes him so engaging and influential? Well, I think I just answered it. Jobs was a very hands-on CEO determined to make a difference. There are many accounts of him being up all night working on a product, a presentation or just ‘where next to go next’. I suspect that this has taken its toll but it reflects the man and his desire and passion to change the world.
It is to his ability to encapsulate and connect that I want to devote the rest of this blog to explaining. Jobs possessed the remarkable ability to say what he wanted to say about his products in about 10 words what so many CEOs tried to say – and often failed – about their products in ten times that many words. The launch of the ipod epitomised this with the phrase; “A thousand songs in your pocket.” Headline writers no longer needed to think of a headline for the iPod launch; Jobs had done it for them. There are reasons as to why this was such an impacting headline. If you want to know more please contact me.
This ability to encapsulate is something that many of us could learn from. “Questions with the power to change your mind. Permanently.” is my current headline for my Powerchange business. It is those questions that I sell in my business. The advantage in being able to summarise in ten words or fewer what you stand for, sell, represent or simply do is that it’s much more easily assimilated by people and allows you consistency and clarity in your own mind. And it’s not just businesses that benefit from doing this. Whatever we do find a way to summarise it in ten words or fewer. It will help bring clarity to you.
Are you going for a job interview? This technique will benefit you enormously if you consider what impact you can have on the organisation. Remember, what is it that the company is actually selling? How can you help them do that better? That will be your way in. I have helped people find work and I can help you too.
I’m writing this, not in Starbucks, but in Costa. It is my ‘third place’ to write my blog and the buzz of people around me gives me inspiration. You see, I write this blog for them. I write it to make a ‘dent’ in their lives. By ‘dent’ of course I mean in the positive sense of alter. If what I write can put a ‘dent’ in their lives and cause a change for the better then I have been successful. I’m passionate about changing people’s lives and I believe that I have a ‘story’ for them that will bring about permanent change for the better.
What I’ve worked on this summer is my statement: mission statement if you like about what I’m selling. We ‘sell’ to people all of the time in the words that we speak, the actions that we do, the lives that we lead. If that lifestyle that we lead is desired by others they will adopt it too. Frances of Assisi famously said: “Preach the Gospel and if necessary use words.” The question is: am I selling what I want to sell by the life that I lead; the example that I set? If it is, carry on doing it. If not, do something different.
In summary do you know what you stand for, ‘sell’ or do? Can you encapsulate it in ten words or fewer? What ‘dent’, or impact if you’d prefer, are you having in the lives of those around you? Is it the impact what you want?
Do you want to know more and how you can change your life for the life you want to lead? How about contacting me for an free, informal chat (I’m on Skype with the name stephenlong22) or by visiting my website? Alternatively, by all means write a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.