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PUBLISHED ARTICLE: Lessons from Steve Jobs: Take Pride in Your Work
6-Sep-11 [ by Larry Chao ] 41411 Read and 2 Comment

Much has already been written about Steve Jobs since he resigned as Apple?s chief executive officer late last month.  Many articles talk about his visionary leadership‚ his brilliance and his uncanny ability to predict what consumers want ? all well-deserved praise.

One quality about Jobs that sticks in my mind is his relentless pursuit of perfection.  He is often referred to as a perfectionist‚ who micromanaged every detail of his work.  This may not have always made him pleasant to work with‚ but it must have contributed to his success in ushering in a steady stream of winning products from the Macintosh to the iPad.


The point is when it came to producing great work‚ Jobs did not settle for less.  He demanded more from himself than anyone else.  He had a sense of pride and love about what he did that fueled his ambitions.


?Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do‚? said Jobs in a commencement speech he gave at Stanford University in 2005.


I bring this up now because here in Thailand‚ we seem to have lost our way.  We seem to have more things to do and less pride in our work.  Whether it is customer service‚ product quality or even in the way we manage our subordinates‚ we seem to care less and want more.


When‚ for example‚ was the last time you were truly impressed by wonderful service‚ where someone went way above and beyond the call of duty to please you?  I?m sure it happens‚ but these magnificent moments are too far and few between.


Let me cite two examples that illustrate my point.


Just last week I was shopping for some red wine at the Emporium on Sukhumvit.  When I walked into the store there were three sales clerks talking and laughing amongst themselves‚ oblivious of what was going on around them.


When I asked them for help‚ they looked startled and annoyed‚ as if I was intruding on their private conversation.  Eventually‚ one of them did help me‚ but it was clear that he knew less about wines then I did.  I left the store five minutes later empty handed and frustrated.


I?m not sure whether the problem was the result of lack of training‚ bad attitude‚ poor management or a combination of all three‚ but these three sales clerks gave me the impression that they did not care about their work or their customers.


Imagine if Steve Jobs demonstrated this lack of caring toward his work.  We might not have the pleasure of using his wonderful products today.


Another time several years‚ ago I bought a Nokia phone at the Amsterdam Airport.  When I arrived at Bangkok‚ I turned the phone on for the first time and discovered that the camera did not work.  As irritating as it was‚ my only alternative was to bring it to the Nokia service center in Bangkok for repairs.


To cut a long story short‚ they told me that the motherboard was defective.  I didn?t even know what a motherboard was.  I was informed that to repair the motherboard would cost 10‚000 baht‚ which was almost the cost of a new phone.  Imagine paying for a brand new defective phone twice without even having made a single call!


After several frustrating visits to the service center‚ I gave up.  I was the victim of poor product quality and no one seemed to care.


I could go on‚ but I think you get the point.  Every day I see examples of people from all walks of life‚ who just seem to be going through the motions‚ doing the bare minimum.  You don?t have to be a Steve Jobs to be successful‚ but you have to have pride in your work and care about what you do.


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