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Steve Jobs’ Coach Shares Tips for Passionate Leadership

March 25, 2016

The secret to passionate leadership is to operate from the heart

True passion is serving people in a way that will move the needle in the world.Passionate leadership secrets: John Mattone is considered to be the world’s #1 Authority on Leadership, he coached Steve Jobs amongst many other global leaders. His book "Intelligent Leadership" has been names Best Leadership Book Since Covey's "Seven Habits."John revealed some of what he believes are the characteristics that made Steve Jobs so successful which include his passion for breaking the comfort zone and letting people know, “it is time a think differently and think big.”He says: “The secret to passionate leadership is to operate from the heart, how are people going to be passionate about your business unless you show passion!”The passionate leader secrets will be required to give people a sense of being connected and aligned to a bigger mission and have the mindset that it is a privilege to have an impact on people’s lives, and doing work that will move the needle in the world.We are sure you will find that your passion for leadership will have its needle moved after this interview so spread it and share the love.Live PassionatelyMoustafa HamwiMoustafa: Hello everyone! And welcome back to Passion Sundays. The best way to end a week and start another.What would you do if you had a chance to talk to a man who coached “Steve Jobs”, one of the most passionate people on this planet? He is also considered to be one of the top ten executive and leadership coaches in the world. Now let’s talk Passionate Leadership.Moustafa: John, how are you?John: Moustafa! Great to be here.Moustafa: Thank you very much!John: Thank you, my honor.Moustafa: You just did a phenomenal job on the stage. I love the energy and the passion that you deliver.John: Thank you very much.Moustafa: And obviously we are talking to somebody who is known to be the man on leadership. The first thing I will ask you about is how does passion make a good leader?John: Passion starts in the heart and we just don’t have enough leaders out there Moustafa, who operate from the heart and it’s a feel and you know, we are so intellectual in fact I made the point today that we have, really honestly, almost too much intelligence. We have got to shift if we are going to be moving people to a much stronger mode of leadership, where leaders are operating from their heart, feel where they can touch the hearts and minds of others.Moustafa: Okay! And I’m definitely going to have to ask this question; you’ve had the opportunity to coach and work with Steve Jobs. So, to me he is one of, you know, the top passionate people in the world.John: Absolutely!Moustafa: What you have got to say about his passion and how does that makes him a successful leader?John: I think, the thing that I learned in two coaching sessions was his creativity, his innovation, his comfort with being uncomfortable, as being disruptive, thinking outside the box, never resting on laurels, continuous improvement, all of that energy he brought obviously to the world. I think that’s his legacy, you know, in addition to the creativity was the passion for breaking the comfort zone. If you look to the Apple culture that exists today, Moustafa, it absolutely was formed when he came back in 1997 on the hills of that speech in Cupertino, California because he communicated to his people that it’s time to think differently and think big. So, you talk about passion, right? That’s what I would say.Moustafa: So, this brings us on an important question. How do you transfer that passion because there are a lot passionate people, but the characteristic of a leader is somebody who is able to get all of this through to other people around them. So, how can somebody convey and take that passion from an individual, leader on top, to run across the whole organization?John: Yeah! It’s a great point and again we have a huge gap out there and I know you have seen it too. Authentic. We need authenticity and I think when we start to see leaders who are real. You know, I mentioned today the CEO of Genpact, Tiger Tyagarajan. What an absolutely amazing CEO! 54 years old, running Genpact, sixty thousand employees, and I sit down with him and he is perspiring and he is so excited talking about the privilege to lead people. You know, you have an impact on their families and you know, I was worried that he was getting sick, but in reality he told me- “Listen! How are people going to be passionate about my business unless I show passion?” We need more leaders to show passion, don’t be afraid to be passionate, be a role model around that. I think also when you look at passion its gonna come from giving people the sense that they can believe that they have the skills and capability to drive the business forward, that’s gonna give passion and motivation. Then, I think a sense of being connected and aligned with the mission. That’s gonna drive passion.Moustafa: Beautiful! And talking about now moving that from just being a passionate leader into creating a culture and that’s gonna require a bit of structures and systems around it. What’s the best way for a leader to convey that passion in a structured manner around the organization?John: I think there is a number of steps that any leader can do to create a culture and I do think, without question, think differently, think big. I think you got to be vulnerable, I think you’ve got to have the guts to open up and say you know, I’m good here but I have got to improve here. I think, the third thing is you’ve got to leverage your strengths and gifts and I think you got to leverage your strengths and gifts of your people. Not just focus on the development needs, right? I mean, everybody wants to do that. But, what about your gifts and strengths that have served you well? That we can continue to leverage and polish those strengths, like an athlete, right? I think execute, having the courage to execute is a great thing that a leader can do to create that culture. Being vigilant, as you execute, look around, be vigilant to what’s happening. Of course correct, based on what you see and I think the most important thing is, is to have a mindset around being privileged. This privilege to touch the hearts and minds of people, you know, and if you operate from the standpoint of that mentality of it’s a privilege, then it brings so much more value and passion I think to the workplace.Moustafa: Awesome! So, that’s an amazing point and how worried should a leader be when they start applying passion systems with the organization, about people turning out to be not actually the right fit, because when you start doing this passion work, you are obviously gonna come across people that are not there and they really wake up to realize that their heart is not there and they just don’t want to be passionate about being here. What’s the best solution?John: I think it’s a couple of things, the Amazon with Jeff Bezos story that broke about a year ago, about six months ago actually in New York Times. I was interviewed for that story and it was pretty tough. The disgruntled employees were leaving because they didn’t like the evaluation systems that were in place. So, to me Moustafa, the culture didn’t fit to those people. So I think it’s important for companies to make sure that they give a realistic preview, right? To people about this, is the world that you are coming into and this is what it is like to work in our environment and give that realistic preview and give people the choice to opt out upfront. Obviously, mistakes are gonna be made and when somebody doesn’t fit a culture it’s important that they be exited, honestly or they make the choice to exit themselves, that’s what I would say.Moustafa: I totally agree with you, I mean. I think in one of the interviews somebody said those are the kind of people you want to give to your competition.John: Oh yeah! Well said. I will agree with that.Moustafa: A cleanup is not bad, it’s a good thing. And talking about values which you touched upon earlier, now do you see a match between values and passion? Does passion come from knowing your values?John: Yes!Moustafa: Okay!John: I would say the three values to drive passion would be- Be other oriented.Moustafa: Okay!John: Okay. And again, great leadership and you think about it right, is a function of not being inner oriented but other oriented. So the whole value of altruism is so powerful right? And I think the second value this worthy, is achievement, making sure that you are committing every day that those things that are gonna move the needle in the world, okay? Whatever your pursuit is, you got to make sure you are moving the needle in an effective way and something is adding value. And I think the third is, to the extent that you can build up abundant relationships and I think those three values, if we were all to live by those values every single day it would be energetic, energized, passionate, unleashed world, that’s what we need.Moustafa: I love that.John: Yeah!Moustafa: And how does then a leader refurbish their passion along with their journey, because you might be 10 out of 10, 100 out of 100 on passion and if the rest of your team is not there, you start sometimes to feel like you are pulling everybody. And how does a leader find that and tap inside and say, you know what, I have got a way to find my own passion even if everybody is low? Because he is the one giving it to everybody. Where does he get it from?John: Yeah! You know, I think I’m a big proponent of calibrate, recalibrate, calibrate, recalibrate. It’s important that every night before you put your head down on the pillow, you reflect on the essence of your day and where things went well, that’s great, you give yourself a quick pat on the back. Where things didn’t go well, you need to cause correct, you need to commit that tomorrow. So, I think, just being diligent around calibration is very, very important. There is always room to read and nourish the soul and continue to listen to the great speakers and go to the executive education programs and actually here’s what I would say, you can learn from everybody, just open up and connect with everybody because there’s always somebody you can learn from and often we shut people out that we shouldn’t shut out.Moustafa: True! True! So all of this is great, we know what’s our passion and then there’s this point of hoping that passion will be easy. You know it will come, I attract it. Is it really that or is there a lot of hard work to make passion come true?John: I think for a lot of people it’s ebb and flow, inevitably because reality hits. So, you can be passionate about a pursuit and then you might hit incredible failure, after failure, after failure, welcome to the world of entrepreneurism, right? What I have seen, I think we all have seen, is that there is gonna be an even flow always but if you always stay close to the strength and the vibrancy of your inner core, true to your character and true to your values and you continue to be a positive thinker and your emotions are positive, because it’s the positive emotions that are gonna drive the good behavior and you are gonna be able to work through it, being persistent and ultimately you are going to overcome it. So, inevitably with ebb and flow but success is staying with it and being persistent and that’s how I would look at that.Moustafa: I love it. Well I love the obvious passion and energy. So, thank you very much. I’m sure you all enjoyed and loved this with a passionate Leadership Coach. He is phenomenal. So, thank you very much John for having us here, I really appreciate it!John: Thank You Moustafa!Both: PASSION!!Moustafa: AWESOME!!What do you think? I would really love to hear your opinion. If you’d like to stay engaged, subscribe to our social media channels and if you want even more valuable interviews, and tips and tricks on how to live passionately, then go to and subscribe to our Passion Sundays newsletter.Until the next episode, live passionately!

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Moustafa Hamwi - Keynote Speaker, Coach, Author