Steve Jobs about the importance of sharing the same vision
Steve Jobs: “Here is what you find at a lot of companies. You know how you see a show car, and it’s really cool, and then four years later you see the production car, and it sucks? And you go, what happened? They had it! They had it in the palm of their hands! They grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory! What happened was, the designers came up with this really great idea. Then they take it to the engineers, and the engineers go, “Nah, we can’t do that. That’s impossible.” And so it gets a lot worse. Then they take it to the manufacturing people, and they go “We can’t build that!” And it gets a lot worse.”
I guess Steve Jobs said it all. It is crucially important to have a vision and more importantly to share the same vision throughout the whole company. You probably have heard similar stories many times, you may even have a company vision. But, are you living your vision every day?
You need a clear vision to share it effectively. That means that you need at least one visionary at the top of a company. Jobs may or may not be a visionary, but he certainly makes sure that everyone at Apple shares the vision. The clever thing is that Apple seems to allow freedom of expression for its designers and engineers within the boundaries of the vision. Somebody must have come up with the idea of the inertial “bounce” when you scroll to the bottom of a list on an iPhone. It cost money to do, it makes no real functional difference to the device, but the cool factor when a user experiences for the first time makes it worthwhile. It’s what they used to call a “surprise & delight” feature. For those of you old enough to remember it’s like the first time you came across the damped door opening on a hifi cassette deck back in the 1980s. Kinda pointless, but kinda cool and soon became a must have.
You nailed it Grant! Without a culture of speaking up, exploring and challenging status quo you end up producing me too products that are never cooler than the “original”.