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Double Your Profits in Two Years or Less

63 min read

The Powerhouse

High energy and sharp focus are essential. But converting energy into force is not enough to ensure high performance. We are all familiar with highly motivated, self-directed individuals who never seem to make the grade. Young Steve Jobs fit that description during his first tenure at Apple Computers. An entrepreneur with phenomenal energy and creative imagination, he was known for a cutting edge focus that could cut right through the fog to perceive the value of a new technology or marketing strategy long before others. His sharpness could cut right through people and organizational morale as well and leave them fumbling, demoralized and disheartened. I visited Apple in 1984 just at the time it launched the first Macintosh computer with the graphic user interface and the smiling face when you turn on the display. Jobs had pioneered development of a remarkable product light years ahead of the competition, but unfortunately he created so much internal competition and dissension within Apple that the new product failed dismally to meet the targeted delivery deadlines and cost estimates. Jobs simply lacked the ability to effectively manage the company he had built from scratch. Six months later he was fired by his own board and banned from interfering in the company’s internal operations.

The second time around at Apple, Jobs rigorously applied the same organizational principles applied at Dell to improve efficiency and reduce costs, so he could market the completely new iMac computer at a very competitive price. In 2002 Jobs confessed during a commencement speech at Stanford University that his humiliating, highly publicized ejection from Apple in 1985 had provided him with valuable lessons. He applied that knowledge to turn around Apple and raise it to the top of his industry and the top of the corporate world the second time around. The dramatic turnaround of Apple demonstrates the unlimited power of organization to convert focused energy into productive power.

Organization is akin to the power plant used to convert the raw kinetic energy of a raging river into usable productive power. A river is like a rapidly, perpetually moving storm front which sweeps away everything before it, but never accomplishes anything productive.  Build a dam to channel that raw energy and direct it through sluice gates into the blades of the turbines, and raw energy is transformed into usable productive power. Channel it through distribution systems from point of generation to points of application and that same energy can be used to light up cities and power industries. That’s the role which the structures and systems of organization play to channel human energy in companies and convert it into productive power.

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