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Obama & Jobs: What the Former CEO Can Teach the President

Steve Jobs could teach the president a lot about being a leader. They both are – or were – taxed with the responsibility of overseeing a large group of people who all have a common interest – success.

Steve Jobs could teach the president a lot about being a leader.  They both are – or were – taxed with the responsibility of overseeing a large group of people who all have a common interest – success.  Both groups, the U.S. and Apple, are worldwide superpowers and thus highly visible.

Neither leader can hide from fame or from criticism.  Jobs recently came to the end of his career, but over the decades he has built up a reserve of leadership skills that The Washington Post suggests President Obama adopt. With dwindling approval numbers and an upcoming election, the U.S.’s chief executive should take a look at Jobs’ corporate playbook.  Jobs knew what it’s like to have low approval ratings – he was fired from Apple in the mid-1980s before being brought back onboard in 1996 – but he still managed to take Apple from near-bankruptcy to the biggest company in the world.

If Steve Jobs were to write a manual for President Obama or any future president, here’s what it would say:

  • Stop compromising – great ideas don’t come to fruition if you put constraints on them
  • Don’t be a people pleaser – you’re never going to be liked by everyone, so it’s best not to care
  • Being risk averse won’t get you anywhere – you won’t accomplish anything except for making yourself look weak
  • Get excited about your work – if you’re not excited, no one will be
  • Set high and innovative goals – changing the fundamentals of how people live and think will accomplish the incremental and technical goals that you’re focusing on now

Steve Jobs didn’t have to get everything approved by a highly partisan political system, but he still had to get it done.  Apple is bold, and that’s what a president needs to be too.

Read: Steven Pearlstein: A Jobs program for a floundering president

Watch: Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005

 

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