Steve Jobs Mania Revisited

Geoff Smith Portrait

BY Geoff Smith


This Steve Jobs mania is a challenge for me. We are all celebrating not just his genius, but his relentless pursuit of perfection, his refusal to compromise, his unconventionality, his prickly personality, his unforgiving drive. We all want to be more like him (including me). The thing is, we would never hire him, and if we found him in our midst, we would get rid of him.

Look at the way we all conduct and review job interviews, the questions we ask reference checks, the annual performance review forms. Teamwork, interpersonal skills, acceptance of the company mission statement, blah, blah: Steve Jobs didn’t give a rat’s ass for any of those things. We all want to be like Steve Jobs, but if he worked at most companies, he’d probably tell us how stupid we all are, he’d probably be right, and we’d probably fire him before hump day.

It’s not so easy to solve. We all want to surround ourselves with independent thinkers and hard driving visionaries, but if everyone in the company was like that, it would probably explode. We don’t prize big egos at EllisDon, and while we beg and plead for independent thinking and entrepreneurial initiative, we also shut a lot of it down. We insist on mutual respect and reasonable compromise – try to build success without it. A company needs balance and some sharing. Except that Steve Jobs would read that paragraph and just laugh out loud, I think.

So how do you find the optimal state, a company full of independent thinkers and individual leaders who respect one another, will work together, share values and compromise when necessary, without compromising the pursuit of the great accomplishments we all have within us?

Idolize Steve Jobs all you want, that’s the real journey, I think. I have no idea what the answer is. If you know, give me a call, we’d love to have you at EllisDon (as long as you’re not some kind of pushy rebel, of course).

Thanks for reading.