Steve Jobs’ legacy at Apple is now one of the most iconic in the history of global business, but it is also one that warrants routine repeating.
The quantifiable side of the story alone is compelling. When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company had just come off an absolutely disastrous year, losing $867 million and holding a market capitalization under $3 billion.
As Jobs later said, the company at that moment was months away from insolvency and bankruptcy.
By the time Jobs died in 2011, however, Apple had not just recovered; it had solidified its role as one of the world’s leading technology companies.
Its iPod, iPad, and iPhone brands had become iconic brands, and the company’s financials had taken quite a turn: That 1997 market cap of $3 billion had increased 100-fold, to $300 billion.
How all this happened is now one of the great stories in global business. This Inc. article contends that the turnaround owes much to Jobs’ recognition that the solution to business growth lies in part on goals, but even more so in the work that leads up to achieving those goals.
Connect the dots looking backwards
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards, So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Jobs once said.
Trust in your karma
“You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
That means achieving business goals ultimately lies in the incremental work—the small steps—that lead a company in the direction of those goals.
It also means, as the article correctly argues, not just setting and desire the goal, but placing just as much emphasis on the work that leads a company down the incremental path toward these broader and longer-term goals.