Steve Jobs is so often cited as the master of presentation, creativity and entrepreneurship. But this clip shows how his skills extended far beyond that. Here he deals with criticism and a, not so veiled, insult dressed up as a question from the audience. Filmed way back in 1997 it demonstrates real leadership.
So what does he do?
First of all he doesn’t do anything. He takes his time to think, to reflect – and consider how to respond. He is in control.
When he does respond he doesn’t try to talk his questioner down – he agrees with him.
He’s humble – accepts his mistakes, apologises for what he doesn’t know.
He brings it right back to the customer – that the customer comes 1st, not what tech we have and how can we sell our tech to them.
Most tellingly he weaves a great story, and this is pure Jobs in action – “I remember…” He tells a story which takes his audience with him, keeps them on his side.
Instead of being personally defensive he focusses on shining a light on the rest of the hardworking team – supports them, applauds them, inspires them.
He acknowledges that mistakes are inevitable, they show decisions are being made and actions taken – and by this time the audience are applauding.
To finish he brings it all back to the vision, the shared purpose of a better future which he inspires his people to work towards.
A master at work. See for yourself here.
Worth thinking how we’d respond in similar circumstances.