Some things are just meant to be together. Abbott and Costello. Sonny and Cher. Lady Gaga and weird. Jobs and Woz. Each has an affinity or a natural attraction toward the other and together produce better results together than alone.
Steve Jobs, based largely off his personal experience with Steve Wozniak, inherently understood the benefit of attraction. In the case of Steve and Apple, however, he wanted to have a company full of “A players” that would in turn attract other star performers. The most successful business collaborations show that when people respect, trust, admire, and are comfortable with one another, spectacular results can follow. Forming such a group does not imply mediocrity. On the contrary, the magic happens when each member challenges the rest of the group from their individual expertise, beliefs, morals, and perspective.
What Jobs realized from his previous experience from Apple and Pixar, and vowed to not let happen to Apple on his return, is the fact that A players want to be around other A players.
What I saw with Woz was somebody that was fifty times better than the average engineer. He could have meetings in his head. The Mac team was an attempt to build a whole team like that, A players. People said they wouldn’t get along they’d hate working with each other. But I realized that A players like to work with A players, they just didn’t like working with C players. At Pixar, it was a whole company of A players. When I got back to Apple, that’s what I decided to try and do.
History has a way of condensing and glamorizing the truth. In many ways, this holds true for Steve Job’s Biblical like resurrection of Apple. After all, we like our heroes. In reality, though, Apple’s success and Steve’s genius could be found in his ability to gather and garner results from his A team.
If A players are X times better than the average, then they should be easy to spot amongst the crowd. Why, then, are you not finding more like them and shedding the rest?
photo credit: Simon Blackley