Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bringing Excellence Out In Others - Steve Jobs Style | Reality Distortion

It's really quite simple.

And there are only a handful of things to understand before you can do it too. Although, of course, you have to be in a position to successfully do such a thing.

The first understanding is this:

People have a reference for reality, or, what is possible. They look outside of themselves to determine the standard. So for example, little kids with older siblings learn what is cool by copying their siblings. They don't have any other reference to know what is cool. The older siblings use different references.

Another example is the classic scenario where a two classrooms with groups of students of equal intelligence are gathered. Both are given tests. One classroom is told that they scored exceptionally high for intelligence and therefore would be challenged accordingly. To the other class it was announced that they scored average and would be placed in average challenging classes.

The result?

The students that were told they are smarter scored better throughout their student careers and dealt with challenges with more efficacy than the students who were told they are average.

The second understanding is that people have an ego. An identity about themselves which shift and change with their reality to certain degrees. The way a person is treated and thought of by the people in a certain environment is the identity that person gains - within that environment. It's the people around you who determine how you see yourself. This has some gray areas but it is generally true.

Well, so what?

Here is how to use this knowledge, in theory, to push people to achieve excellence - Steve Jobs Style

Steve Jobs would regularly hold conferences at fancy resorts to lavish the people he felt were the most important to his company - mostly the designers and engineers.

He'd tell them they are excellent. They are A players. They are the smartest people on the planet all working together. That they are part of something globally revolutionary. That they are changing the world together. That he's proud to spend his life working with them.

What is he doing here? He's making these people literally feel that they are the smartest people in the world. Of course, he's not lying when he says he doesn't accept anything other than A players. And this fact, combined with these speeches and reminders pump them up and prime their expectations of themselves.

Now - here is were reality distortion comes into play:

While his engineers are at work in their labs and his programmers are at their offices there is only one reference to the quality of their work - Steve.

They trust that Steve knows what is good or bad. They trusted his judgment 100%.

They also know he doesn't accept anything but the absolute best.

So they work extremely hard, under the assumption they are one of the smartest people on the planet, to produce something they can present to Steve.

What does Steve do?

He takes ANYTHING they give him, most likely what the engineer thinks is his absolute 10 grade work, and Steve sets the standard back down to 0 - he says "THIS IS SHIT!"

Yep. He's tell them their work is shit.

This no doubt this hurts the designer, but it sends them back to their lab forced to step back and find new ways to make their ideas even better - with the perception their present work is total shit.

He smashes their realities for what is possible. He pushes them WAY beyond what they think is possible.

And when they accomplish something they never could have imagined possible, he rewards them with "THIS IS BRILLIANT!" Plus the engineer gains that massive load of self confidence. It reinforces the belief they are one of the smartest/talented people on the planet.

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