I didn’t know Steve Jobs and I certainly felt sad for his family and for his death, but I have been trying to figure out why I feel so sad.
I think I may have found an answer, at least for me. It relates to
an oft told story by my mentor and world renowned leadership expert, Warren Bennis.
As I can best remember, it is a story regarding the funeral procession of F.D.R. As the story goes, when the funeral procession
proceeded in Washington, D.C., one man was suddenly overcome with
uncontrollable emotion. Sobbing almost convulsively he caused the man
next to him to ask, “You seem so overwrought and upset, did you know
The first man replied, “No, but he knew me.”
That comes the closest to explaining my deep sadness over Steve’s death.
In a world in which delivering on promises, delighting customers and
exceeding expectations has all but disappeared with a shift from
companies providing true value to short term ROI, Jobs and Apple’s
products under him delivered ROT, meaning Return On Trust.
For more than a decade, whenever Jobs talked up an upcoming product
and then launched it, we could almost always trust that we would not be
disappointed. In a world where we have felt increasingly naive and
silly to get our hopes about anything, Jobs and Apple didn’t disappoint.
He made it safe to believe, he made it safe to experience unabashed excitement.
Like F.D.R. he knew us and knew that what we all want to
feel underneath our increasing skepticism and cynicism was the belief
that magic can still happen.
BTW, while I am on a “believe vs. disbelieve” roll, I hope you will take my co-author Dr. John Ullmen and my quick five question Influence Survey.
If you do, you will receive a PDF explaining your score and how
influential you are as well as five tips for increasing your influence
with other people in a positive vs. pushy or manipulative way.