Steve Jobs: Unemployable

Stanford University Professor Bob Sutton advises companies to hire “outliers” but says few do: “The fact is, Steve Jobs couldn’t get hired in most American companies, much less be the CEO. He couldn’t pass through the interview screens.”

Steve Jobs is today considered perhaps the greatest CEO in many decades, but he was once fired by Apple, the company he founded!

Like Jobs and many other unconventional geniuses, Bill Belichick was fired. Belichick had the Cleveland Browns moving in the right direction till owner Art Modell announced he would move the team to Baltimore. Belichick inherited a 3-13 Browns team and, over four seasons, coached them to continually improving records of 6-10, 7-9, 7-9, and 11-5 (plus a playoff win). The following season, things started well, but Belichick’s Browns collapsed after news of the move to Baltimore leaked, and he lost his job. The renamed Ravens suffered three consecutive losing seasons after Belichick left. Even ignoring Belichick’s amazing post-Browns success, Belichick’s Browns record looks pretty good. But Art Modell (and most sports journalists) failed to appreciate Belichick’s football genius.

Many pay lip service to “thinking outside the box” but few firms actually behave as if they value and reward innovative, creative, multi-disciplinary people. Radical innovators often must build their own firms from scratch to breathe life into the wild visions in their minds.

Posted by James on Monday, September 19, 2011