Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder, was a genius. 60 Minutes featured an episode named “Inside Apple” where they described everything from Steve Jobs’ vision to how they create their future products. CEO Tim Cook was interviewed in the show and described Steve Jobs as someone who saw around the curve, a perfectionist, and a visionary who created products before people knew they wanted them. Jobs always reminded his employees that their products “should not be great but insanely great.”
This mindset remains at the forefront of Apple today even though he has passed on a couple of years ago. Expectations that products expand their usage beyond their first-generation drives the profit margins to 40%, making the company worth over $600 Billion.
A prime example Cook illustrates in the interview regards their iPhones. Now 12,000 times more potent than the first ones created, Apple’s tireless drive and commitment, has helped them sell over 1 billion phones across the world. Several color schemes and other meticulous details continually redesign new prototypes that force Apple products to compete with other Apple product. Having internal competition creates more sales rather than rivaling with other competitor’s products. Dan Riccio, Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, reiterated this notion when he identifies that the MacBook solid construction maximizes the computer, so every one-tenth of a millimeter is optimized.
Having a group of talented individuals with the leeway to develop, incubate, and team with other Apple employees remains a key ingredient in their unrelenting success. Chief Design Officer Jony Ive proudly stated that their 22 design team members handle most of the work behind the scenes, and only two have left this department in a fifteen-year span.
Although extraordinary but not impossible, Apple continues to pave the way for innovation. Rather than having their customers to tell them to change, they instinctively built these notions in their vision.
Too often many would instead ride the wave of success rather than reflecting on how to make their products to employees better. This notion sets up a disaster, and a once-promising future becomes shrouded in failure because often people think that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Whether you are a CEO, principal, dean, or another leader, we must stop what we do and heed this advice. Plan, anticipate and change similar to what Jobs described and did at Apple anchor what’s called a growth mindset and for those that remain on the other side of this discussion have a fixed mindset which transpires negativity, and “can’t be done” attitude.
Think about what would happen if an entire company channeled on a growth mindset. The possibilities would be endless. If someone embedded STEM in an organization that centers on the growth mindset, the takeaways would be epic.
Believe it or not, making students and employees ready for any endeavor they face makes them more apt for the position.
However, to transition someone from conventional thinking and average ability to a highly skilled and developed employee does not happen overnight. It must be well defined and planned to replicate the same training to the same school, department, or company.
These steps listed below will assist schools and organizations to support their students or employees to transform into a growth mindset with a focus on STEM.
FUSING GROWTH MINDSET WITH A FOCUS ON STEM
- Identify the exact weaknesses in each department and create a short and long-range plan. The best approach to initiate growth mindset centers on identifying specific inadequacies while supplying a short and long-term strategy to correct them.
- Solutions to weaknesses become a primary focal point in the vision. Should the concept and the weakness plan not be merged, fragmentation appears, and total buy-in will not take place.
- Team-building takes places consistently. Most buildings conduct team building activities once a year if that happens. Team building must frequently occur, so there are trust and a positive rapport established. Center the activities around both personal and work issues.
- High level and low-level employees must work side by side. It considers all perspectives and helps share uniformity.
- Save the drama for your mama. Leaving the drama and gossip it at the door makes for a better workplace leading to better production. Otherwise, the focus shifts from the task at hand to wasted time and energy often kindling a firestorm of negativity.
- Never toss out an idea. Instead, keep a board with all views in each category posted so the ideas can resonate. Eventually, the plans will turn into solutions. It also invites more employees to provide feedback on current processes and products, which will ultimately affect any bottom line.
- Break the rear-view mirror. Yes, you heard it from me. Continuing to look back slows down one from working to the employee’s fullest potential. Learn from the past. Just don’t dwell on it.
- Mandate inter-department work. Some of the best work comes when others pair up to resolve a problem. Look at how Google approaches innovation. They spend at least 20% of their time working on other areas like product improvement with different team members that eventually ends up for the greater good.
- Laser-focused feedback. When providing feedback on a project, task or yearly evaluation, pinpoint excellent marks and areas for a follow-up item. Don’t just say “good” or “that’s great.” Instead, try an approach such as “this is a creative model you have developed in streamlining the process of delivery. Can you try this and adjust it to your model?”
- Reverse the mentor-mentee role. We rely on our mentors to guide us in day-to-day problems and unfortunately, several mentors that can also have a pessimistic attitude that inadvertently conveys it to the mentees. I challenge you to reverse the role. Why? Because our youth will take more risks and have an open mind. Timpacts the way the mentor sees things in the company or school, which can lead to greater success.
- Compare your competitor’s vision and products. Looking at how others see the same dilemma often helps paint a clearer picture as it reflects in multiple ways.
This is what the future of work is about – being able to be open-minded, flexible and adaptive to new ideas and concepts.
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