Steve Jobs' First Step to Rebuild Apple: Introducing Discipline

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By Jatinder Singh, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International 

What Can We Learn From Steve Jobs on Discipline?

"What did Jobs first do to get Apple back on track? Not the iPod, not iTunes, not the iPhone, not the iPad. First, he increased discipline. That’s right, discipline, for without discipline there’d be no chance to do creative work. He brought in Tim Cook, a world-class supply chain expert, and together Jobs and Cook formed a perfect yin-yang team of creativity and discipline. They cut perks, stopped funding the corporate sabbatical program, improved operating efficiency, lowered overall cost structure, and got people focused on the intense ‘work all day and all of the night’ ethos that’d characterized Apple in its early years. Overhead costs fell. The cash-to-current-liabilities doubled, and then tripled. Long-term debt shrunk by two thirds and the ratio of total liabilities to shareholders’ equity dropped by more than half from 1998 to 1999.

Now, you might be thinking, ‘Well, all that financial improvement naturally follows breakthrough innovation.’ But in fact, Apple did all this before the iPod, iTunes, or the iPhone. Anything that didn’t help the company get back to creating great products that people loved would be tossed, cut, slashed, and ruthlessly eliminated.”  For the full article click here.

So often we get caught up in seeing legends as superhuman. This is especially in an era that perpetuates this myth through the many articles that exist that cast them as such.
The process of learning from legends is about seeing past this, and one legends who is so widely regarded as superhuman is Steve Jobs. However as the above excerpt from Jim Collins' book "Great by Choice" points out, behind the great marketing and products he was known for, Jobs was a lover of discipline. He knew that without it, he could not create what he wanted.

How Can You Become More Focused & Disciplined?

If you look at it, you will see discipline at the heart of the success that legends achieve. Whether that's Michael Jordan practising day and night, or Bill Gates learning how to code in every second of his spare time, discipline is at their core. Can you imagine a legend succeeding by not being disciplined? By being out night after night partying?!

Do you think that Steve Jobs found it easy to be disciplined?

No, but he trained himself because he wanted to achieve great things in his life and he knew he would have to become more disciplined - take more responsibility, say no to procrastination and temptation, and bring more balance to his life.

So how do we become more focused and improve our discipline?

We start off by feeding our passion - understanding why we are doing what we are doing. If that why isn't strong enough, then we will continue to get knocked off-course by everything that gets in our way. The phone call from a friend to go out, watching the late night movie instead of planning a meeting the next day, or even replying to seemingly important emails when we know there's an even more important email to write!

However the hardest part is starting - so start small, don't put it off until later - start NOW!

[whatsapp url="https://www.legends.report/how-discipline-was-steve-jobs-first-step-to-remake-apple/" title="Thought you'd like this article from the Legends Report, it's about how Steve Jobs brought more discipline to Apple to truly make it succeed"]

Learning From Legends...


We can all start building our self-discipline in small ways, so which of the following daily disciplines would make a massive impact in your life if you practiced them every day?

Waking up earlyMeditationPlanning the week / dayPushing myself moreExercisingDeveloping a life/career/business plan with clear goalsDedicated journalling time for greater reflection and self understandingReflecting on the principles and values that I choose to live by


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Image of Steve Jobs courtesy of Ben Stanfield @ Flickr