Ways To Lead Through Change — Learning from Steve Jobs.

Author: Bianca Cardenas, PhD | Consultant

Let’s be honest, for most people, change is scary. Humans have this built-in fear of the unknown. We would like to believe we’re in complete control of our lives, but let’s not kid ourselves – we’re not. In reality, the only thing we can do is prepare ourselves for the unknown. Let’s use the example of Steve Jobs, the mastermind behind Apple. Back in 1985, Steve was fired from the company he helped start. Instead of sulking, he started two new ventures, NeXT Computer and Pixar Animation Studios. Fast forward to 1997, when Apple was on the edge of bankruptcy. Steve swooped back in as CEO. He didn’t just save the day; he changed the game. His innovations gave us the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

What made Steve a change master was his obsession with doing things better, his big-picture thinking, and his knack for getting everyone on board with his ideas. He wasn’t scared to take massive risks, shake things up, and turn challenges into opportunities. Thanks to Steve’s creativity and innovation, Apple is now one of the massive market leaders we see today. His talent for leading through change, adapting to tough times, and inspiring his team is something we can all learn from. They say that “success leaves clues.” So, here are a few strategies that you can incorporate to help you lead through change:

Have an unwavering vision

Steve was all about having a crystal-clear vision and he communicated this vision regularly. Even when Apple was in times of uncertainty, he never lost sight of where he wanted the company to go. He believed in his ideas with a passion that was infectious. This unwavering commitment to his vision inspired his team to rally behind him, through thick and thin.

Create your vision

To create a compelling vision, start by looking inward. Reflect on your core values and beliefs—what matters most to you? These principles will be the foundation of your vision. Then, define clear goals that your vision will work toward. This clarity will help your team understand where you’re headed.

Don’t be afraid to take risks

Steve also wasn’t afraid to take bold risks. He believed that intuition and a strong sense of what customers wanted were key drivers of success. When he decided to develop the iPhone, many thought he was crazy to combine a phone, an iPod, and an internet communicator. But Steve had this unshakable confidence in his vision, and he knew that these elements, seamlessly integrated, would revolutionize the market.

Create a risk assessment process

Embracing risk is essential for growth. Begin by weighing potential outcomes, defining goals, and gathering information. Don’t fear failure; it’s a path to success. Seek advice from experts and start with manageable risks. Trust your instincts but plan for contingencies. Stay resilient in setbacks and celebrate successes. With practice, taking risks becomes easier, empowering you to make bold decisions.

Adapt your strategy

Whether it was a new product, a shifting market, or internal company dynamics, Steve knew that change was inevitable. He didn’t resist it; he embraced it. For example, he made a tough decision to discontinue the Apple Newton, a personal digital assistant, when it wasn’t meeting expectations. Even if it was difficult, Steve was always ready to pivot and adjust course when needed, which helped Apple stay relevant in a constantly evolving tech landscape.

Remain open to change

Staying adaptable is a key skill. Embrace change with an open mindset, seeing it as an opportunity. Stay informed, keep learning, and be flexible in your approach. Don’t cling to old ways if they no longer serve you. Surround yourself with diverse perspectives and seek feedback. Lastly, maintain a positive attitude; resilience in the face of change is a powerful tool for adaptability.
These strategies, combined with his legendary charisma and innovation, made Steve Jobs a master of leading through difficult times. His legacy reminds us that in the face of challenges, having a clear vision, taking calculated risks, and being adaptable can lead to incredible success.

If you want to learn more about leading through change, contact us at Leadership Worth Following.