This post is a bit delayed, but most of you have read that Steve Jobs has resigned from Apple after a battle with pancreatic cancer. It’s truly a sad situation, and he deserves our prayers. Previously, he had placed Tim Cook as acting CEO. Cook will now take over as CEO on a permanent basis.
Steve Jobs is synonymous with the Apple brand. He, despite being a very private and hidden individual, who is open about the fact that he doesn’t worry about his reputation with the news media, is the face of Apple products. Apple’s innovations are largely his brain child, and he is notoriously obsessive about products. News reports have written about how he would work his staff to the bone over every little detail of product design, product capability, colors, the layout of Apple stores, and virtually every other thing you can imagine.
His drive, obsession and passion for products and being the best plays a major role in why Apple is what it is. But interesting though it may be, none of these traits are what Catholics can really learn from Steve Jobs. The Catholic Church already has plenty of examples of driven, passionate people who have succeeded in one way or another.
The most important thing Jobs can teach the Catholic Church is to bring the most qualified people onto your team. Yes, I’m sure Catholic leaders have done this too, but it’s not done often enough. Find out how long your youth minister at your parish has been working there. If it’s more than 5 years, then I owe you a lunch.
This is but one example of how we talk about how important communications, the youth, spreading the Gospel, and other things are to the Church; but more often than not, we don’t employ the right people to help us succeed in our goals—both logistic and ministerial.
If you want your blog to succeed, if you want your parish website to be impressive and evangelistic, if you want your ministry to be effective, then you need to find the most qualified, passionate people and get them to work with you.
Tim Cook, for instance, worked as VP of Corporate Materials at Compaq, a competitor of Apple. Jonathan Ive is Senior VP of Industrial Design, and is considered one of the worlds most impressive designers and is credited with the iPod design as well as other products like the iPad, the iMac, etc. Jobs picked up Ive in 1997, when Ive was only 30-years-old. Talk about vision! Senior VP of Retail Ron Johnson worked for a little ole’ company called Target before joining Apple (heard of it?). Senior VP of Operations Jeff Williams worked for IBM from 1985 to 1998, again, another competitor.
What’s the point? Steve Jobs might be impressive in his own right. He certainly deserves credit for most of Apple’s success. But he would have gone NOWHERE if he hadn’t assembled a cutting-edge team who shared the same vision and overwhelmingly have the skills to succeed.
If you have a blog that you want to succeed, then you need it to be about more than just you. Brandon Vogt’s book “The Church and New Media” isn’t written by just him. Priests, bloggers and apologists wrote chapters included in the book. After that, he got Cardinals and Archbishops to write endorsements. Clearly, this book was about more than him.
Invite guest bloggers to post on your blog. Do interviews with priests or your bishop. If you have a family blog, interview some married couples about what brought them together and what held them together over the years.
If you have a parish ministry, seek out the people in your parish who have the professional and pastoral skills necessary to help you succeed. If they resist, persuade them with reasons of why they should help. Sell them on your vision.
If you’re a bishop that wants your diocese to effectively communicate the Gospel message and lead your parishes, then you need to ante up and pay for the best of the best. Can’t afford the best of the best? Talk to donors about your vision, and tell them that you need to hire people who have the skills and the passion to make it happen. It’s more important to have the right staff than brand new buildings.
All this being said, the message of the Church, its loyalty to the Magisterium, Scripture and Tradition must come first. The people you need to succeed must come without question of their loyalty to the Church.
Steve Jobs isn’t a good example for the Catholic Church in a number of ways. Some of those reasons have been blogged about here before. But he knew how to take his vision for Apple and make it happen.
How can you improve your new media outreach (blog, website, etc) and make it succeed? What are your needs? Who are the people that can fill those needs, and fill them REALLY well?
What do you think: does the Church think enough about finding the best of the best to succeed in our goals?