Steve Jobs’ advice for being a good CEO? Throw tantrums.

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Steve_Jobs_2007
Who wouldn't take business advice from this guy?
Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

At yesterday’s DealBook Conference in New York City, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi related the advice Steve Jobs gave her when she took over as CEO.

That advice? That sometimes the best way to get what you want is to throw tantrums.

“[Jobs] was very, very gracious to agree to see me when I first became CEO,” Nooyi told CNBC anchor, author and New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin. “I didn’t know him, but I knew somebody who knew him and he said come on down to the Apple office.”

She says that Jobs spent two hours giving her a management master class — with one of his most important suggestions being about how to get your way by losing (or appearing to lose) your temper.

“He said, if you really feel strongly about something — if you don’t like something people are doing — throw a temper tantrum,” Nooyi said. “Throw things around, because people have got to know that you feel strongly about it.”

Later on, she recalled how she heard firsthand the impact that Jobs’ tantrums would have when she spoke with people who had worked with him on ad campaigns. According to them, Jobs “would throw the papers across the room and make them work all night.”

Although she says that she’s not quite gone to Jobsian lengths with her tantrums, the lesson has certainly resonated.

“I’m beginning to use certain words a little bit more freely and I am screaming a bit more, pounding the table … which is really not the way I was,” Nooyi told Sorkin. “But it is effective. It shows the passion that I have for what I’m doing.”

Steve Jobs the mentor

Jobs’ mentoring of other CEOs has always struck me as one of the most inspiring and unexpected aspects of his personality. As someone who benefited from the advice of other Silicon Valley elders early in his career, Jobs always took the role seriously — and dedicated a large amount of time to it.

Not all of Jobs’ advice was about losing your temper, of course — any more than his success as a CEO can be put down to his willingness to yell at people. Speaking with Google’s founders, Jobs’ advice was to concentrate on trying just a few ideas but doing them exceptionally well.

Speaking to Mark Zuckerberg, meanwhile, he once recommended that the Facebook CEO take a pilgrimage to India, which is where Jobs had formulated some of the ideas that would serve him so well in the future.

Via: Yahoo Finance