Steve Jobs once was asked which product he was most proud of. He said it was not the Mac or the iPhone, it was Apple, the company. He hoped to leave a legacy with the company and its culture that outlived him and any single product. So far, so good.
How did he plan to keep that going, even after he was gone? There’s an article in the New York Times about Apple’s secretive training program for employees that is designed to perpetuate Apple’s philosophy and culture and continue their run of success.
Culture is everything for an organization. A great company or non-profit or family, even, has to be intentional about connecting its people with what it considers its essential values and principles, and doing it continually and effectively. Don’t take anything for granted about what your people know about your whys and hows. Be relentless in telling the story of what made your organization what it is, but also in searching for opportunities to grow and rethink and shed what no longer resonates. Keep skating to where the puck is going, not where it is.
And consider this quote from Jobs in the article:
“Expose yourself to the best things that humans have done, and then try to bring those things into what you’re doing.” –Steve Jobs
That’s good advice for all of us. Seek out the best of what’s around (DMB reference for the win). Read the best writing and see the best movies. The classics are classics because their quality stands the test of time. Follow those at the top of your field. Be a connoisseur of quality in the things you surround yourself with. Appreciate the grace of great things and use those things to bring out the best in you.