Why We Need to Be Like the iPhone Team

Susan Hall

Today fellow blogger Rob Enderle asks, "Is AOL Like Apple Without Steve Jobs?" He says AOL seems to be laser-focused on profit without the power of a personality that drives teams to near-superhuman levels of advancement. He says Arianna Huffington might provide that personality, but that remains to be seen.

 

Meanwhile, a newsletter from job-information site Weddle's asserts that to advance our careers, we have to become like Apple. (You'll have to sign up to get the free newsletter.)

 

Writes Peter Weddle in a post called "The iPhone Proposition":

Steve Jobs and company recognize that standing still is the single best way to fail in today's economy. Their competitors are always raising the bar in terms of design and performance, so they must too. Similarly, consumers are forever raising their expectations about what they want and need from a cell phone, so Apple must oblige. In effect, those two inexorable forces mean that the only way Apple can survive and prosper is by working continuously at getting better.
The same dynamic also now impacts all of us in the workforce. Our competitors in the U.S. and abroad-those who want our job or the job we want-are upping their game and improving their ability to contribute to an employer's success. At the same time, employers now expect higher performance and harder work from both their current employees and those applying for their open positions. As a result, the only way we can survive and prosper in today's economy is by adopting the iPhone Proposition: we must work continuously to stay ahead of both our competitor's capabilities and employers' expectations.

He says that requires three things:

  • We have to determine what skills and knowledge our employers most want to see us provide. He says those skills aren't always advertised. He suggests talking to the hiring manager, not about the job, but the skills the ideal candidate would provide. He says, "Focus on figuring out what kind of person they want to hire, not what requirements and responsibilities they've listed for the kind of job you want."
  • We have to acquire those skills and that knowledge even as we look for a new job or work at the one we have. That can be through college courses, certifications, online learning or any number of ways. He says, "The key to success with this task, however, is our mindset. It's not one and we're done. Acquiring skills and knowledge has become a permanent feature of our careers so we are never finished. Each of us, in effect, is a "work in progress."
  • We have to make sure that the full set of our skills and knowledge is known to potential employers or our current one. If you're employed, he suggests performance evaluations as a good time to make sure your boss knows what you're working on. It doesn't matter if you're not finished. As a "work in progress," you never will be. But it shows two traits that employers appreciate: initiative and self-reliance.


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