What Should We Be Working on Now?

“For Jobs to make Apple’s strategy work—to grow the iOS platform vertically—he needed to hit it out of the park every time.
Only someone with the self-confidence of Jobs would have the guts to set such a high bar.
The biggest criticism, however, was the one Jobs thought he had answered in his presentation: What do I need it for?
…by 2009 the technology was ready…
The Android team at Google scrambled to keep up with the relentless pace of Apple’s innovations. But in 2011 they were being outflanked on almost every front.”

(Excerpted from Fred Vogelstein’s How Steve Jobs Made the iPad Succeed When All Other Tablets Failed)

I know a person who served in a leadership position in a major, well-known, long-successful company. She was very good at her job and had a career trajectory that was worthy of emulation.

She’s left the company (with a nice “buy-out” package).

The company is in trouble.

“Why?” you ask. Because in this company, at this moment, there is a little uncertainty on this question:

“What should we be working on with our best people right now?”

Get that right, and everything is possible. Get that wrong, and the future is gloomy indeed.

I thought of all this as I read this terrific article about Steve Jobs and the iPad. (See the excerpts from the article above). There were so many talented, hardworking, capable people put to work on developing the first version, and now subsequent versions, of the iPad. These people had a great work ethic, and they were highly capable. And they succeeded. But a big reason for their success is this: the iPad was the right bet and the right answer to the question, “What should we be working on now?”

I can assure you that there are other such folks with equally strong work ethics and significant capabilities put to work on the next generation of a Blackberry, or the next version of some laptop, etc. And sadly, for some of them, their work will be “wasted”. They are working on a project or a product that is the wrong answer to the question: “What should we be working on now?”

If the decision you make after you ask that question is the wrong one, the future is bleak. If the decision about this turns out to be the correct one, the profits can be breathtaking.

Randy Mayeux

Contributed by:
Randy Mayeux
Professional Speaker & Writer
Co-founder, First Friday Book Synopsis

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