14. Stay hungry, stay foolish.
Steve Jobs’s final leadership lesson and this was that famous line delivered at his Stanford University commencement address in June 2005, ‘stay hungry, stay foolish’.
Jobs throughout his career was always a man to be in touch with his hippy, non-conformist side, in parallel to a skilled hand as an engineer and sharp businessman. This non conformist side was shaped from the heady days of being a self-confessed ‘artistic, acid dropping, enlightenment seeking rebel’. This was part of who Jobs was and enabled him to think differently and that’s exactly what he wanted others to do, whatever their beliefs, creeds, religion or orientation – ‘here’s to the crazy ones!’
The ‘crazy ones’ or ‘the misfits’, ‘the rebels’, ‘the troublemakers’, ‘the square pegs in round holes’, whatever label you care to give them, they can all offer great value and a big part to play in seeing and contributing to the bigger picture, driving innovation from a perspective of non compliance. Whilst some see them as the ‘crazy ones’, very often they are the actual geniuses. This was Jobs’s perspective exactly, in his mind it was simple, ‘the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do’.
That hunger for me is most definately about finding something you are passionate about, something that will energise you at work and provide an un-questionable and engaging focal point. The foolish, well that’s about being bold and brave, stepping into uncertainty once in a while to challenge, take a risk and innovate, to get real clarity on what works and what doesn’t.