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Leading Apple With Steve Jobs: Management Lessons From a Controversial Genius by Jay Elliot

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Vision and Your Vendors

A compelling vision isn’t just motivating to employees: It should move your vendors and other partners as well. In some cases, if it doesn’t, you’re better off without them.

One of my favorite experiences on this topic involved a disk-drive company that wanted to become an Apple vendor. They were invited to come in to demo their drives, and the visitors set up their demo using IBM MS-DOS computers. When Steve arrived, he took two steps in the room, saw the competitor’s machines, turned, and walked out without saying a word. His silence was deafening. No more needed to be said.

After I had been at Apple for some time, I was asked to take over the IT organization, in addition to my other functions. On my first tour, I was shocked to see that all the work involving Apple’s finances and sales was being done on IBM computers. IBM—Apple’s biggest competitor and enemy. I ordered that the IBM machines be replaced with DEC computers. If that vice president didn’t have enough loyalty to use Apple’s own products, he failed the vision challenge. He had demonstrated that he hadn’t understood the Apple values.

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