I am in the throes of reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Saying I can’t put the book down is an understatement.
As we all know, Steve Jobs was an incredibly complicated person who was passionately dedicated to creating great products that were uncomplicated to use.
Jobs had a strict two-sided – and often brutal – perspective on how to evaluate people and products: they were either great or garbage (he used a different word for garbage). His passion for clarity, elegance, and simplicity played a huge role in how Apple and Pixar created and developed beloved products and user experiences.
I’ve been trying out his “great-or-garbage” yardstick to see how my efforts measure up. I’m humbled by the experience.
Recent sales conversations: garbage. Oh, how I wish there were some wiggle room here, because many conversations I am having are quite rich. But I could talk less and ask more, and I need to get better at telling stories, using metaphors, and offering challenging insights.
Taking care of my health: great. I shine at eating healthy foods, exercising and flossing.
Website: garbage. I see all kinds of ways to improve it.
Professional development: great. I’ve read a number of excellent books and articles this year, and taken many inspiring workshops.
Delegating: garbage. I outsource a lot but still end up working six days a week.
Networking: garbage. I know I need to find more events where I can meet people in person. But knowing and doing aren’t the same thing.
I invite you to try the “great-or-garbage” perspective as a way to highlight where you need to pay attention. But be kind to yourself when you look at the “garbage” pile: remember this is a black-and-white equation and doesn’t include the grays in between.
And if you haven’t already, read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. You will learn so much.
Talk back: Let me know what happens when you evaluate your efforts against the “great-or-garbage” yardstick.