“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. ” -Steve Jobs
Once upon a time I took a Principles of Management course. I remember distinctly a part that described the differences between various levels of management and the type of skill sets that each have varying from the front-line manager to the C-Suite class. How from the front line the technical skills tend to play a major role but once the promotion comes around to managing people, the entirely different skill set involved of business managements come into play,
I distinctly remember a line that describes of when people get that entrepreneurial passion to start their own companies; a common reason of failure is due to the fact that though they have a high/ confidence within their technical skills of doing whatever job they did before, managing a business is in itself a totally different skill. Yes I’m the best chef in the world, or yes I’m the best at building furniture thus my business will be the best in the world. There’s an invisible separation that tends to exist as with all things when you are unaware of them. People just don’t realize management is a skill in itself.
I was trying to explain this in a conversation to a friend recently about the necessary foundations needed to start a successful business to which I referenced that though you may have the skills to do said job, you need someone to complement that with the necessary business acumen. If I was to steal a line from the show “Silicon Valley”, it’s that every Wozniak needs it’s own Jobs.
Though I thought I explained my reasoning quite well it’s always amazing how the universe conspires for our success and to place us exactly where we need to be; an Alchemist reference, one of my favorite books of all time.
Shortly after this conversation, I picked up the book “The E Myth” by Michael Gerber being a recommendation from another entrepreneurial mind I respect greatly and wow does this book cover this topic in spades. Probably a reason why I love picking up so many different reads is the clarity a topic that you felt you knew so well that can come across with additional perspective is always so humbling.
The E Myth covers a sort of playbook that Gerber has built for the small business owner that transitioned over, but never quite gotten to the next level. I selected the innovation quote for, as covered in the book, small business owners do have that moment of brilliance / innovation that does set them a part as a leader however there is a difference between accidentally acting like a leader and starting a business vs actively understanding what being a leader is and continuing that success. That in essence there are three yous. The technically skilled, the manager and the innovative entrepreneur.
Though the ideal situation would be to have your Wozniak to your Jobs, if you can learn to understand what your strengths truly are and what your weaknesses truly are; you can then continue to innovate and evolve to the next level. The E Myth is a great stepping stone to understanding those foundational pieces.