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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

Laser Focus

This week I watched the movie with Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs. I’ve read Walter Isaacson’s biography of his life a couple of times.

Without question, Steve Jobs was one of the most successful CEOs in terms of building a company we’ve seen. Was he the best lied? No he wasn’t. Was he the most personable? No he wasn’t.

Was he the most focused?

Yes he was.

This helped fuel his success at Apple.

He was certainly a smart, persistent and ambitious individual. One of the things most admirable about hum though was that he could focus relentlessly on the object of his future goals. When he wanted something, he would be willing to let go of anything else, design a plan, and focus all his energy in such a way that no obstacle in the world could stand in the way of achieving it.

When Jobs came back to Apple in 1997, the company was in a huge mess. Apple was producing a random amount of products, including the failed PDA device the Newton and a dozen different versions of the Macintosh computer. After weeks of reviewing the products, Jobs stopped the sessions, grabbed a marker and went directly to a whiteboard.

He drew a 2×2 grid, on top of the two columns, he wrote “Consumer” and “Pro”. He labeled the side rows “Desktop” and “Portable”. He then tasked the teams with the job of focusing on four great products, one for each quadrant.

All other products were to be discontinued immediately.

That focused, precise decision to focus on four great products was the driving force to save Apple.

It’s powerful when you make the decision of what you are not.

Deciding what not to do is the beginning of strategy.

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