How to be 'Apple' and not 'Sears': Three factors that hurt or help any organization




Imagine early Apple minus Steve Jobs.

Ponder the Second World War without Americans or Winston Churchill.  

Imagine life without soap.


Individuals. Interests. Ideas.

Those three simple but critical 'I's are what lead to impact, to change.

Take away any one element - Jobs from Apple, American troops from the battlefields and soap from our lives - and you have a very different world, and a problem.

  • Apple minus the individual (Steve Jobs) is just a red fruit. 
  • The Second World War without the USA and its own interest in victory could have meant a German-occupied Europe for decades. 
  • And consider this life-saving idea. In 1847, a Viennese doctor noticed that infant mortality was higher when interns (rather than midwives) delivered babies. He figured out that interns  came straight from the morgue to the delivery rooms carrying deadly microbes. His life-saving idea and this before the theories of Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister? Soap and hand-washing. That simple combination dramatically reduced infant and maternal mortality and Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis became known as the "saviour of mothers". 


Big Sky Clarity: Individuals + Interests + Ideas = Impact

The above examples each profile one factor in isolation. But all three are present in any successful outcome.

Steve Jobs (and Steve Wozniak) were joined by those with an interest in profit. Combine that interest with talented individuals and a great idea (computers for all!) and Apple succeeded.

This three-part dynamic exists everywhere. They are key to your success. Sure, in your organization, you might succeed temporarily with a great idea or a charismatic leader or deep pockets. But long-term impact is more likely with all three in play.

In fact, the presence of all three elements is akin to how three rope strands are stronger when intertwined together than as single threads. 


This keynote's reality check process: Which 'I' is missing?

Your organization might have frustrated people who can't see why success is elusive. Using examples from business, science and war, this talk helps audience members think about the missing 'I': An idea, individual or an interest? 

The benefit? People who see the gaps and find the resources to implement the ideas. That leads to heightened impact.