Considering Steve Jobs launched two of the most valuable companies of modern times it’s safe to assume he knew how to achieve what he wanted.
According to a recent biography by Walter Isaacson Jobs didn’t reach the dizzying heights he did by following the rules all the time, reports The Independent.
He used a blend of manipulative tactics to persuade people that his personal beliefs were actually facts – always pushing his companies forward.
So, if it worked for him, chances are it’s worth a go – and here’s how he did it…
Always pitch with passion.
One of the most influential tools you have are your emotions.
Jobs pitched ideas to his advertising team with huge amounts of passion to ‘ensure that almost every ad they produced was infused with his emotion’.
The resulting campaigns such as the ‘1984’ ad and the iPod silhouette ads were massively important in evolving Apple into a lifestyle rather than just a computer company.
Brutal honesty will help you build a strong following.
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 he famously reinvigorated the company.
In his own words:
If something sucks, I tell people to their face. It’s my job to be honest. I know what I’m talking about, and I usually turn out to be right.
That’s the culture I tried to create. We are brutally honest with each other, and anyone can tell me they think I am full of shit and I can tell them the same.
Disarm people with seduction and flattery.
People continually seek approval – so they respond very well to affection.
According to Isaacson’s biography:
Jobs could seduce and charm people at will, and he liked to do so. People allowed themselves to believe that because Jobs was charming them, it meant that he liked and respected them.
But Jobs could be charming to people he hated just as easily as he could be insulting to people he liked.
Claim all the good ideas are yours – memories of the past can be easily manipulated.
Jobs wasn’t right all the time, but was a master of convincing people he was – and he did this by adopting other people’s ideas and delivering them back to them.
When the idea of the ‘Genius Bar’ was first suggested to Jobs he thought it was crazy, saying: “You can’t call them geniuses. They’re geeks.”
The following day – Apple’s general counsel was told to trademark the name ‘Genius Bar’.
There are two ways to deal with problematic people.
You can address them head on – Jobs wanted Apple to be a company of ‘A players’ which meant a lot of people didn’t make the grade.
Before Apple launched the Mac, one of the engineers charged with building a mouse a new omnidirectional mouse apparently said there was ‘no way to build such a mouse commercially’.
Jobs got wind of the complaint and the next day the engineer had been fired. The first words of his replacement: “I can build the mouse.”
Or you can follow the line of least involvement – Jobs other approach would be to completely ignore situations that made him uncomfortable.
And this tactic proved extremely effective. Chrisann Brennan, the mother of Jobs’ daughter Lisa, described this tactic in the biography
There was a community of people who wanted to preserve his Woodside house due to its historical value, but Steve wanted to tear it down.
He let that house fall into so much disrepair and decay over a number of years that there was no way to save it. So by his doing nothing on the house it fell apart. Brilliant, no?
When you have leverage you have to use it.
When Jobs returned to Apple he used his influence to full effect, demanding the resignations of pretty much the entire board or else he ‘wouldn’t be back on Monday’.
They went, and by being able to choose his own board, Jobs had the power to control Apple’s next projects, making developments like the iPod possible.
Jobs found adequacy to be ‘morally appalling’ and his goal for Apple was never to beat competitors or make money but to make the greatest product possible.
He worked with numerous artists and agencies to make sure Apple’s ads had the right feel, and that imagery and audio synced up perfectly.
He demanded the ability to access any function on the iPod with no more than three button presses and insisted the production process for all Apple computers be cut from four months to two.
But when all these seemingly small decisions were put together, it had the effect of creating an almost cult-like following unlike any other tech company.
It gave customers the feeling that Apple put their interests first, and repaid them (literally) with a willingness to pay high prices and a fierce brand loyalty.
And things still seem to be going pretty well for Apple…