Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

Thoughts on Leadership: Al Davis – The Leader behind the Silver and Black

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“Just win, baby.” –Al Davis

Controversial and combative are two words often used to describe Al Davis, the principal owner of the Oakland Raiders who died Oct. 8. He was much more than that – a creator, a builder and a dedicated believer in his team. His story as he described it was a “tunnel life” focused on football.

“He was my best friend,” said former Raiders Coach John Madden. “It’s Al Davis. Al Davis doesn’t die. Just the shock of it. Even though you could see him and knew he was sick and he was failing, he is a fighter, he fights that, you know he was gonna beat it.”

Davis died a legend, even as he led a struggling organization. His Raiders, a dominant force from the mid-’60s through the mid-’80s, hadn’t recorded a winning season in 10 years. Their last Super Bowl victory occurred when he was a “mere” 54 years old. At 82, many fans and critics felt he’d lost his touch, that he had held on to his power for too long.

Davis led the Raiders for all but three of the team’s 52 seasons as coach, general manager or owner. Under this leadership, the Raiders won three Super Bowls and 15 AFC-West divisional titles. He was an ambitious and driven leader who pushed for greatness, victory and dominance. He could be abrasive and demanding, and always expected blind loyalty. His well-known catch phrase was “Don’t adjust. Just dominate.”

Davis took on the established order, attacking the NFL. He created an image of the Raiders as aggressive, nasty and powerful. He was behind the selection of a pirate logo and silver and black color scheme. Davis is also credited with hiring the first black and Hispanic head coaches in the NFL. He also recently appointed the first female CEO.

As a pro football team owner, Davis was often involved in details and decisions atypical for such a figure. This appeared to some to work poorly later in his career as he was criticized for poor personnel selection, feuding with star players, and an inability to retain head coaches. He was thought by many to be a stubborn, eccentric old man who couldn’t accept that his best leadership years had passed.

Nevertheless, as argumentative as Davis could be, his career as outlined in his New York Times obituary holds lessons for any manager looking for an example of how and how not to lead change.

Leadership lessons:·

  • Be clear in your mission. “Just win, baby!” was the Raider’s motto. Respect was not something Davis craved for his team. He wanted others to fear him, and in part it led him to design the Raider’s colors and logo.
  • Know the game. Davis played football in college and began as an assistant upon graduation. He served as an assistant to the legendary Sid Gilman who coached the San Diego Chargers and from 1963 (except for a short time in 1966 when he was commissioner of the American Football League), he was either coach or owner of the Oakland Raiders.
  • Promote talent. Al Davis was a shrewd judge of football management potential. He promoted John Madden to head coach and he piloted the Raiders to their first Super Bowl title. Such was his push for talent that Davis hired the first Hispanic coach, Tom Flores, and the first black head coach, Art Schell.
  • Stand up for what you believe. Davis was head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 1963 to 1966, but gave it up to serve as the commissioner of the American Football League, which was the upstart to the lordly National Football League. Under his watch, the AFL gathered NFL stars and drove up signing bonuses for college players.

Like all leaders Al Davis was not perfect, and very often his imperfections were more evident, but he built a sustainable football franchise and its value has only risen with the times.

“He was a pioneer,” said Jim Plunkett, who won two Super Bowls with the Raiders. “He did so many things. He was a coach, he was the commissioner of the AFL, became the owner of the Raiders and he ran that club the way he saw fit. He brought in players that everyone else was discarding, including me, and he made it work.”


Thoughts on Leadership: Steve Jobs – A Legacy of Leadership

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“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.” – Steve Jobs, 1955-2011


Greek artist Charis Tsevis has created portraits of Jobs that are made entirely out of the products he invented.

Since Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs passed away last week, I’ve been reflecting on the learning and inspiration that I draw from his career relative to Intero and the work I do as President and CEO.

Our Cupertino office is located amidst the Apple campus, down the street from the Apple headquarters building. In fact, the Intero Cupertino building was one of the first Apple headquarter buildings and still has an Apple stamp on the concrete step in our parking lot. Innovation is literally at our front door.

That is why a mission at Intero is to continually stay innovative (Value #9 – Innovation) in the marketplace. Standing still is the first step towards decline (the stationary position is always the beginning of the end). As Steve Jobs says, “Stay hungry and stay foolish.” He had always wished that for himself. In turn, his inspirational words are how we will stay ahead of the pack and be the leader in change.

Steve Jobs embodied principles that are essential to leadership:

  • Work and passion can go hand-in-hand.
  • Success can be a consequence of a life lived fully.
  • Who we are can shape our work roles, and not the other way around.
  • Being authentic can be rewarded, and enduring ridicule and failure without losing faith is ultimately worth it.
  • The true measure of success is how much meaning your work brings to yourself and others.

Steve Jobs explains at a commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005 (click here to read the full inspirational speech), “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. 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.”

Jobs was a unique genius who transformed the world because he believed he could. The reality is that even if you have never owned an Apple product and have never met Steve Jobs, he has affected your life.

Once you look at Steve this way you realize that not only were his products works of art, but his leadership was too. Like great leaders before him, his presence was a mirror in which we hoped to see our future.

As a CEO, Jobs led from passion for his business and his product, not from greed or ego. He came from a modest background, overcame adversity, took huge personal risks, and built a great company. He made a fortune, of course, but all the while he dressed in Levis and kept his personal life private. This is what I value most about Steve Jobs.

We all need to take guidance and inspiration from Jobs’ career to raise our games and do it right. We need more people who can lead as Steve Jobs did.

Let’s honor him by remembering the lessons he taught us. Take those and apply them to your life – personally and professionally. Play to win because playing not to lose is a poor strategy that generally backfires. Once you stop setting new goals to strive for, and instead just try to protect your lead, your strategy becomes too timid and leads to stagnation and decline.

You still have today. What will your legacy be?


Thoughts on Leadership: Stop Fighting Change

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Successful leadership requires many skills, but one of the most important is learning how to deal with change. Change is a funny thing. We all know it is inevitable, but we often resist it. Great leaders, however, look at change and embrace it. They understand that change, though scary and stressful, creates opportunities. Change can offer a challenge to be more creative, flexible and strategic.

When thinking about change, I often turn to Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric. Mike Ferry originally introduced me to his inspiring leadership traits. Welch is one of the most well known “big businessmen” of his generation and offers a lot of insight into how successful leaders deal with change. Welch is also interesting to me because when he first joined GE in 1960, he worked as a junior engineer in my hometown of Pittsfield, Mass., making $10,500 a year.

Many may not know this, but Welch was almost fired from GE because he once blew the roof off the factory. Then after a year of hard work, he was not happy with the $1,000 raise he was offered. He felt unappreciated and dissatisfied with GE’s strict bureaucracy after learning that everyone in his department received the same $1,000 raise. He almost quit GE at the time, but was talked out of it by a higher-level supervisor.

Welch went on to be named vice president of GE in 1972. He moved his way up the ranks and eventually was named CEO in 1981. As CEO, he took apart a lot of the earlier management team put together by his predecessor, creating real change from day one.

I model my leadership style after Welch because he focused on the principle, “Embrace change; don’t fear it.” Why fear something you know will happen again and again? That’s no way to live, and definitely no way to run a business.

Change keeps everyone alert and on their toes. It’s the reality of business. Welch was able to turn a struggling, slow-moving corporate giant into a dynamic and growing company. The goal may be the same, never-ending growth but he said that the tools and methods were constantly changing. He encouraged his colleagues to never stop thinking about the need for change. Only through “massive change” could G.E. win, something Welch firmly believed in.

The leaders of many organizations refuse to see the handwriting on the wall and just hope that things will get better. Yet, wishful thinking is no substitute for a strategic plan. Lasting leaders not only come up with real solutions and partnerships, but they also constantly motivate and inspire team members to get past their fears of change and rise to the challenge.

Change isn’t easy. We all seek stability and predictability. But today more than ever change keeps hitting us in the face just when we think we can afford to get comfortable. So stop fighting change. It is no use and complaining isn’t a practical option.

Ask yourself: How are YOU leading your team as well as yourself and facing the constant changes in the “maze” of your life?

The following are each great books written by Welch that I recommend all leaders read for inspiration and insight: “Straight from the Gut,” “Winning, Jack Welch and the GE Way,” “Jack Welch and the 4 E’s of Leadership,” “29 Leadership Secrets,” and “Jack Welch Speaks: Wit and Wisdom from the World’s Greatest Business Leader.”


Thoughts on Leadership: How to Build Trust in Your Leadership

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If people don’t trust you, why would they ever follow you? The first critical job of any leader is to inspire trust. People simply won’t recognize you as their leader unless they trust you. And that trust has to run across intellect, ethics and morals.

Trust is confidence born of two dimensions: character and competence. Character includes your integrity, motive and intent with people. Competence includes your capabilities, skills, results and track record. Both dimensions are vital.

Leadership and trust go hand-in-hand. Whether you are a minister or a corporate CEO, you have to work to build that trust. It’s not just implied. How do you do that? The following are 13 common behaviors of trusted leaders around the world that build and maintain trust from others.

  1. Talk straight
  2. Demonstrate respect
  3. Create transparency
  4. Right wrongs
  5. Show loyalty
  6. Deliver results
  7. Get better
  8. Confront reality
  9. Clarify expectation
  10. Practice accountability
  11. Listen first
  12. Keep commitments
  13. Extend trust

When you adopt these ways of behaving, it’s like making deposits into a “trust account” of another party. Remember that the 13 behaviors always need to be balanced by each other and that any behavior pushed to the extreme can become a weakness.

Depending on your roles and responsibilities, you may have more or less influence on others. However, you can always have extraordinary influence on your starting points:

Self-Trust - the confidence you have in yourself and in your ability to set and achieve goals, to keep commitments, to walk your talk, and also with your ability to inspire trust in others.

Relationship Trust – how to establish and increase the trust accounts we have with others.

The job of a leader is to go first, to extend trust first. Not a blind trust without expectations and accountability, but rather a “smart trust” with clear expectations and strong accountability built into the process. The best leaders always lead with a decided tendency to trust, as opposed to a tendency not to trust. As Craig Weatherup, former CEO of PepsiCo said, “Trust cannot become a performance multiplier unless the leader is prepared to go first.”

The best leaders recognize that trust impacts us 24/7, 365 days a year. It supports and affects the quality of every relationship, every communication, every work project, every business venture, and every effort in which we are engaged. It changes the quality of every present moment and alters the course and outcome of every future moment of our lives – both personally and professionally. I am convinced that in every situation, nothing is as fast as the speed of trust.


Thoughts on Leadership: What’s the Most Critical Quality of Today’s Leader? Creativity

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If you’ve ever thought that creativity wasn’t necessary in the realm of leadership, think again. Creativity is critical to leadership success. It is a lifeline that renews, restores and inspires. Creativity can be used to build teams, enrich people and solve problems.

In fact, corporations need creative leaders to thrive. They need visionaries who act less as commanders and more as coaches, less as managers and more as facilitators, and who foster self-respect instead of just demanding it from others.

Creativity is what enables successful leaders to meet new challenges, and to recognize and pursue new opportunities through bold innovations.

Creative leadership that drives innovation and growth in this economy requires eight key qualities of a leader:

  1. The leader must have a vision for the organization.
  2. The leader must have the passion to transform that vision into action.
  3. The leader must be able to travel into an unexplored path.
  4. The leader must know how to manage both success and failure.
  5. The leader must have the courage to make decisions.
  6. The leader should have nobility in management.
  7. Every action of the leader should be transparent.
  8. The leader must work with integrity and succeed with integrity.

Leaders drive change and lead people in the pursuit of a vision. This means that often times, you’ll face the challenge of venturing into the unknown and the unfamiliar. This requires adjustment and the ability to respond to unexpected situations.

You could argue that creativity is actually the most important quality a leader needs to succeed in business today – outweighing even integrity and global thinking. According to a study done in 2010, about 60% of CEOs polled cited creativity as the most important leadership quality, compared with 52% for integrity and 35% for global thinking. Creative leaders are also 81% more likely to rate innovation as a crucial capability.

Whether you view yourself as a creative person or not, it is a skill that can be learned.

Creativity and innovation are not mysterious forces over which leaders have no control. Progressive leadership can and does create a climate that encourages creativity and innovation.

If you want to become a more confident and successful leader and improve your leadership skills and results, including your creativity, now is the time to take advantage.


Thoughts on Leadership | Leaders Know How to Attract Attention

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To accomplish anything in life as a leader, you’re likely going to need help from other people. Regardless of how talented or accomplished you are, you can’t always assume that you can count on attracting and retaining the attention of others. It will be more and more challenging and rewarding to hold onto the attention of those who matter to you.

Attention provides leverage. The more people leaders can attract and motivate to join them on a challenging quest or initiative, the more impact they are likely to achieve. So, what are effective ways to attract and retain the kind of attention that helps leaders to address the challenges they face? Here are four steps that build on each other.

1. Embrace mystery - Frame the more difficult problems that are relevant to you and need to be solved. Help people to understand why these are such significant problems and why so many people have been unsuccessful in trying to solve them. It probably will not attract the people looking for easy answers, but it can attract those who are naturally curious and looking for stimulating challenges.

2. Focus inquiry – Don’t try to suggest answers. Frame interesting questions instead. Help people gain perspective by posing questions that intrigue and motivate them to start investigating the mysteries that lie ahead.

3. Excite the imagination – Provide some “what if?” scenarios to illustrate the possibilities that await those who manage to come up with creative answers. Paint the pictures but make it clear these are only pictures. Stimulate people to pursue the questions with a lot of energy and creativity.

4. Be authentic – If you are not genuinely engaged in addressing these problems yourself, you will not be able to sustain the attention and effort of others to come up with creative solutions. On the other hand, if you are on a quest yourself, leading by example, you could have a contagious effect and the encounters you have can help both sides to learn from each other.

Do these techniques actually work? Well, think of how Martin Luther King excited and mobilized a broad group of people to tackle some very challenging social problems. On a completely different level, one leading tech company in Silicon Valley regularly attracts the attention of the venture capital community by sharing its most difficult technology problems and suggesting that they would buy the start-ups that come up with creative solutions to these problems. Or look at the way professional astronomers have mobilized a global network of passionately engaged amateurs to learn more about the vast universe beyond this planet.

This kind of attention is priceless and powerful. All leaders need to find ways to generate it and harness it. This is not just an opportunity, but increasingly an unavoidable obligation. Leaders are all experiencing increasing economic pressure as individuals and institutions. In this kind of environment, leaders not only need leverage, but also need to more rapidly improve their performance.

Leaders get better faster by working with others. To do this, they first need to attract their attention. If they fail to attract that attention, they will not get better faster in an increasingly competitive global economy, and they could be overlooked. That is why attention is becoming more valuable at the same time that it is becoming rare.


Thoughts on Leadership: How to Turn Failure into Success

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“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career; I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over in my life. And that’s why I succeed.”
-Michael Jordan, 2006

Failure. We all experience it. Most of us see failure as a negative thing, which makes sense; it doesn’t feel good to fail. We all want to succeed and failure feels like a setback to that goal. What we don’t realize is that failure presents an opportunity to learn, grow and succeed. Check out Michael Jordan’s “Failure” Nike Commercial.

Michael Jordan is a fun example to look at. When most people think about this basketball legend, they’re not immediately thinking about how he didn’t make the varsity basketball team his sophomore year in high school. They’re not thinking about the times he lost the game-winning shot. They’re thinking about his achievements: six-time NBA champion, five-time MBA MVP, 14-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner, Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.

Michal Jordan’s success was real. People like to say that he was born a “gifted” basketball player, that Mark Zuckerburg was born a technology genius, and that Martin Luther King was a born leader. What we fail to realize, though, is that none of these successes were born that way. No one is born to play basketball, create a social media phenomenon, or to be a legendary leader.

Turning failure into success is hard work. It takes dedication and vision. When I was a brand new realtor my first coach Tom Hopkins taught me an important philosophy on failure and rejection that has resonated throughout my entire real estate career. He said “I never see failure as failure, but only as a learning experience. I never see failure as failure, but only as the feedback I need to change course in my direction. I never see failure as failure, but only as an opportunity to improve my sense of humor. I never see failure as failure, but only as an opportunity to practice my techniques and perfect my performance. I never see failure as failure, but only as the game I must play to win!”

Learn from some of the greatest champions on earth how to take the reigns and turn losses into wins – adapted from Adam Appleson’s book, “7 Steps to Turn ‘Failure’ Into Success:”

  1. Grin and bear it.
    When Michael Jordan came across rejection, he met it by practicing more.
  2. Take a time-out.
    The greatest ideas were founded when men and women were away from their usual routines. Albert Einstein was on vacation in the Apennine Mountains when we wondered what would happen if a ray of light became imprisoned.
  3. Assess whether your current plans are realistic.
    If things aren’t happening as fast as you’d anticipated, by the deadline you set for yourself, the deadline may not have been realistic. Don’t be afraid to make new plans and pursue them.
  4. Get support.
    Have a team behind you to get you through the rough times and keep you motivated!
  5. Play a game called “15 Ways…”
    Grab a sheet of paper and brainstorm 15 ways you can overcome whatever obstacle is standing between you and your goals. The first five are usually pretty obvious, but the last 10 are usually a bit harder to come up with, and often surface the innovative solutions you hadn’t thought about already.
  6. Pick a hero.
    Every time you fail and want to give up, ask yourself what your hero would do, then go do it!
  7. Go out and execute every day.
    Commit to doing one thing for your dreams every day. You know the saying, “genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.”

True leaders do not fear failure; they know how to use failure to their advantage. Like Michael Jordan said, he has failed over and over again, and that is why he succeeds. Take chances and don’t be afraid to fail, it could be the secret to your success!


Thoughts On Leadership: Leaders Need Those Who Know How

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Last week, we looked at the importance of planning ahead from Simon Sinek’s book “Start With Why.” This week is a further look at the book, specifically on Chapter 8 and the discussion of ‘Those Who Know WHY Need Those Who Know HOW.’

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 8: Start With Why, But Know How, that I wanted to share with you:

The pessimists are usually right, to paraphrase Thomas Friedman, author of “The World Is Flat,” but it’s the optimists who change the world. Bill Gates imagined a world in which the computer could help us all reach our greatest potential. And it happened. Now he imagines a world in which malaria does not exist. And it will happen. The Wright brothers imagined a world in which we’d all take to the skies as easily as we catch the bus. And it happened. WHY-types have the power to change the course of industries or even the world…if only they knew HOW.

WHY-types are the visionaries, the ones with the overactive imaginations. They tend to be optimists who believe that all the things they imagine can actually be accomplished. HOW-types live more in the here and now. They are the realists and have a clearer sense of all things practical. WHY-types are focused on the things most people can’t see, like the future. HOW-types are focused on things most people can see and tend to be better at building structures and processes and getting things done. One is not better than the other, they are just different ways people naturally see and experience the world. Gates is a WHY-type. So were the Wright brothers. And Steve Jobs. And Herb Kelleher. But they didn’t do it alone. They couldn’t. They needed those who knew HOW.

“If it hadn’t been for my big brother, I’d have been in jail several times for checks bouncing,” said Walt Disney, only half joking, to a Los Angeles audience in 1957. “I never knew what was in the bank. He kept me on the straight and narrow.” Walt Disney was a WHY-type, a dreamer whose dream came true thanks to the help of his more sensible older brother Roy, a HOW-type.

Walt Disney began his career creating cartoon drawings for advertisements, but moved quickly to making animated movies. It was 1923 and Hollywood was emerging as the heart of the movie business, and Walt wanted to be part of it. Roy, who was eight years older, had been working at a bank. Roy was always in awe of his brother’s talent and imagination, but he also knew that Walt was prone to taking risks and to neglecting business affairs. Like all WHY guys, Walt was busy thinking about what the future looked like and often forget he was living in the present. “Walt Disney dreamed, drew and imagined, Roy stayed in the shadow, forming an empire,” wrote Bob Thomas, a Disney biographer. “A brilliant financier and businessman, Roy helped turn Walt Disney’s dreams into reality, building the company that bears his brother’s name.” It was Roy who founded the Buena Vista Distribution Compan that made Disney films a central part of American childhood. It was Roy who created the merchandising business that transformed Disney characters into household names. And, like almost every HOW-type, Roy never wanted to be the front man, he preferred to stay in the background and focus on HOW to build his brother’s vision.

In nearly every case of a person or an organization that has gone on to inspire people and do great things, there exists this special partnership between WHY and HOW. It is the partnership of a vision of the future and the talent to get it done that makes an organization great.


Thoughts on Leadership: The Importance of Planning Ahead

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Have you ever been in this situation? You rush out the door because you’re late for a morning meeting. You didn’t bother to take your time and realize whether you had all the materials you needed for the meeting. Halfway to your meeting it hits you that you forgot something so you drive back to your house to get it. You’re now even later than you were to begin with. If you’d taken just a few minutes to look around and check before running out the door, you could’ve saved yourself some time and trouble.

As Rick Pitino wrote in his motivational self-help book Success is a Choice, “What you should be doing is arriving at work a half hour early and getting all of your social conversations out of the way, getting your newspaper read, and getting your coffee poured, so that when the workday starts you are ready.” And if you do have to go back home for something you forgot, you’d actually be on time because you already planned to be on time.

There’s a great leadership lesson here – the importance of planning ahead. In his book, Start With Why, Simon Sinek also discusses a story that shows the importance and benefits of planning ahead for success from the very beginning:

A group of American car executives visited a Japanese automobile assembly line. They watched the cars go through the assembly line, which all seemed routine, but were confused by the process at the end of the line when the doors were put on the hinges of the cars. The Japanese process seemed to be missing a critical part. In the United States, a worker was hired to tap the edges of the car door with a rubber mallet to make sure that they fit perfectly. The Japanese assembly line, however, had no such worker or machine to ensure that the door fit.

Puzzled, the American executives asked the nearest Japanese worker how they made sure that the doors fit perfectly. The man replied, “We make sure it fits when we design it.” Not only was the Japanese process more efficient, but Japanese car doors last longer and are more structurally sound in accidents compared to American doors. Why? It’s simple: the Japanese engineered the outcome they wanted from the beginning of the process.

Many leaders make the mistake of structuring their organization how the Americans’ structure their car assembly line. They forget to base all their actions, from the beginning, on the original intention. Instead, they tend to focus on the short term. When something goes wrong, they provide their followers with several short-term tactics that would not be necessary if they had simply had the final goal in mind during the whole process.

If the American automakers had designed doors to fit from the very beginning, they wouldn’t need to worry about having a mallet or an extra employee and step in the assembly line to tap the door into place.

We can learn a very valuable lesson from the Japanese assembly line – one that applies not only to business, but also to life in general. We need to realize the importance of our long-term goals and keep them in mind with everything that we do. If we stop taking shortcuts and making short-term solutions, we will actually save ourselves time, stress and in some cases, (such as the assembly line) money!


Thoughts on Leadership: Why Apple Inspires People

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Like millions of other people, you’ve likely wondered out loud at some point, “What makes Apple so successful?” It is an extraordinary technology leader, founded and led by extraordinary men.

While it’s easy to explain what a company does or how an organization works, it is much more difficult to understand why. Why is Apple so driven not just to succeed, but to lead in consumer technology, to change the world and stop at nothing less? It is the why that separates amazing companies from mediocre ones – just as it’s the why that separates people who truly lead and inspire from those who are just in power positions.

Apple’s cofounders, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, are great examples of influential leaders (not just men in positions of leadership). I’ve been reading about the common traits of true leaders in Simon Sinek’s book, “Start With Why.” By studying influential leaders, Sinek discovered they all think, act and communicate in the same way – they start with why, and that is what inspires people to follow them to success.

In 1979, best friends Wozniak and Jobs created the first personal computer. Why? What was their why? Wozniak built the Apple I with a vision of giving average folks the same computer power as big corporations. He wanted to help level the playing field in business. Before Apple I, computers were too complicated and expensive for the average individual; they were primarily used as a tool for privileged businesses. Wozniak’s why was to enable individuals to compete.

What about Jobs? What was his why? He was the salesman – an amazing one. He dreamed of building a company that would change the world. With just one product, Apple Computer made $1 million in revenues in its first year. It made $10 million in its second year and in just six years became a billion-dollar company.

Even more remarkable than Apple’s fast growth is its longevity. More than 30 years later, the company continues to succeed – empowering individuals with world-class technology. Changing the world. Apple didn’t stop with the personal computer; the company continued to conquer the small electronics, music, mobile phone, and entertainment industries. Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs succeeded because they started with why. They had a contagious passion that fostered real innovation.

What’s even more interesting about Apple is that not only did the company’s founders inspire its employees to achieve greatness, but also it inspires its customers – to the point where thousands camp out overnight to buy its new products.

Sinek’s following excerpt sums up the leadership lessons from this legendary company:

“Great leaders are able to inspire people to act. Those who are able to inspire give people a sense of purpose or belonging that has little to do with any external incentive or benefit to be gained. Those who truly lead are able to create a following of people who act not because they were swayed, but because they were inspired. For those who are inspired, the motivation to act is deeply personal. They are less likely to be swayed by incentives. Those who are inspired are willing to pay a premium or endure inconvenience, even personal suffering. Those who are able to inspire will create a following of people- supporters, voters, customers, workers- who act for the good of the whole not because they have to, but because they want to.”