“My model for business is the Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” Steve Jobs

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful is pure perseverance” Steve Jobs

“Innovation is the only way to win” Steve Jobs

Had my nose in a few books this weekend! Namely ‘Steve Jobs: 10 lessons in leadership’ by Michael Essamy, ‘Up the organisation’ by Robert Townsend and ‘Headstrong: 11 lessons of school leadership’ by Dame Sally Coates. I’m currently two thirds of the way through the latter, so will blog about headstrong at a later date!


I’m a huge fan of Steve Jobs, four years ago the world lost one of its finest innovators and inventors. I have watched many a clip of him via You Tube and studied books written about him, an inspirational leader whose life experiences and challenges have a lesson for all leaders, so what can school leaders learn about the co-founder of Apple and tech genius?

  1. Wait for nothing. Steve Jobs had tons of impatience and initiative, those who wait or simply go with the flow will never be ahead of their time, the only thing you should enjoy waiting for is the rest of the world to catch you up in your thinking! Encourage risk taking and innovation.
  2. Learn from failure. Jobs got kicked out from the company he founded at the age of 30.  Epitomising a growth mindset, his successes were made possible by failure after failure and the lessons learned from those failures. Sometimes the greatest glories are born of catastrophe. We’re are all going to get dealt a poor hand at some point, looked over for promotion, trying an initiative that doesn’t take off, making the wrong decision, however perseverance and adaptability, alongside vision separates the successful leader from the unsuccessful.
  3. Limit your confidence to your field. Over confidence can be fatal personally and professionally. Steve Job’s confidence went beyond his own field of expertise, he refused to listen to the experts when diagnosed with cancer. Rather than having life saving surgery, he decided to treat his cancer via diet and non invasive procedures. Lesson learned, never in work (or life) should you trust your own judgement, when it is something outside your field and is in direct opposition to the opinion of those who are as gifted and trusted in their fields as you are in yours.
  4. Stay hungry, stay foolish: There’s no substitute for passion. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful..that’s what matters to me”. Be competitive only with yourself. Success begins and ends with passion. “Stay hungry, stay foolish”. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do, if you haven’t found it yet, keep looking”. (Jobs)
  5. There’s one more thing. “Perhaps the greatest lesson Steve Jobs left us with, Mike Randazzo observes, “is that we perpetually challenge ourselves to learn new things, embrace unfamiliar surroundings, and improve the diversity of our individual human experience.” For a college drop out, Jobs unquestionably appreciated the concept of life long learning. By his own admission, his genius was not simply a gift, but the product of remaining a lifelong student. The best school leaders are learners and certainly valuable to have worked in a range of schools to increase our awareness of diversity and human experience.