Leadership Lessons from Visionaries, Part Four: Steve Jobs

January 1, 2020.

It was the beginning of a new year, and most would say, a new decade.

Many people, and certainly most leaders, look at the beginning of a new year to look ahead to what might be – to dream.

Since it was a new year, many of those dreams might even be worded as “resolutions” – or goals – for 2020.

Of course, looking back to January 2020 from the vantage point of early 2021, no one on earth could have predicted what the year was going to turn out like.

In spite of that, no, even BECAUSE of the way the year went, the team at Auxano would like you to focus instead on clarity.

Clarity isn’t everything, but it changes everything.

To help you understand clarity from a different perspective, this issue of SUMS Remix departs from our usual format of a common problem statement, with solutions from three books and accompanying action steps.

Instead, we invite you to take a brief look into the lives of two of the most brilliant, creative, and clarity-practicing geniuses: Walt Disney and Steve Jobs.

Though born in different generations, and living vastly different lives, Disney and Jobs have influenced millions of people through the respective outputs of the companies they founded, the Walt Disney Company and Apple.

The first installment was a look at Walt Disney. The second installment of the four-part series is a brief excerpt from a select biography of Steve Jobs, giving you background on his excellent of use of “vision” and “communication.” The third installment, along with this one, will give you a brief excerpt from other books that illustrate these two concepts from each man, each with action steps to help you do the same.

As you look at some specific events of their lives through the lens of “vision” and “communication,” it is my hope that you will be inspired to live and lead 2021 with clarity.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo

Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ wildly popular presentations have set a new global gold standard―and now this step-by-step guide shows you exactly how to use his crowd-pleasing techniques in your own presentations.

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs is as close as you’ll ever get to having the master presenter himself speak directly in your ear. Communications expert Carmine Gallo has studied and analyzed the very best of Jobs’ performances, offering point-by-point examples, tried-and-true techniques, and proven presentation secrets in 18 “scenes.”

With this revolutionary approach, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to sell your ideas, share your enthusiasm, and wow your audience the Steve Jobs way.


According to author Carmine Gallo, if you want to utilize the techniques he writes about that Steve Jobs used so successfully, you must also understand and practice another quality of Jobs: a profound sense of mission.

If you are passionate about your topic, you’re 80 percent closer to developing the magnetism that Jobs had. Steve Jobs didn’t just lead a company to develop and build computers, music players, phones, and pads – he fell in love with the vision of how personal computing would change society, education, and entertainment.

He then translated that vision with a passion that was contagious, infecting everyone in his presence.  It was that passion that comes across in every presentation, and can serve as a model for you.

The most inspiring communicators share the ability to create something meaningful out of something esoteric or everyday products.

In keeping with Jobs’ metaphor of a presentation as a classic story, here are three acts, along with the respective “scenes” that flesh the acts out.

Act One: Create the Story. These seven scenes will give you practical tools to craft an exciting story behind your brand. A strong story will give you the confidence and ability to win over your audience.

  1. Plan in Analog – Visualize, plan, and create ideas before you open the presentation program.
  2. Answer the One Question that Matters Most – Why should I care?
  3. Develop a Messianic Sense of Purpose – What is the foundation of your charisma?
  4. Create Twitter-like Headlines – Be persuasive in fewer words.
  5. Draw a Road Map – The rule of three.
  6. Introduce the Antagonist – What is the common villain of your audience?
  7. Reveal the Conquering Hero – Who will offer your audience a better way?

Act Two: Deliver the Experience. In these six scenes, you will lean practical tips to turn your presentations into visually appealing and “must-have” experience.

  1. Channel Their Inner Zen – Be simple, visual, and engaging.
  2. Dress Up Your Numbers – Data is meaningless without context.
  3. Use “Amazingly Zippy” Words – Discover and use words that work.
  4. Share the Stage – Treat your presentations as a symphony.
  5. Stage Your Presentation with Props – Deliver demonstrations with pizzazz.
  6. Reveal a “Holy Cow” Moment – Plan surprises for maximum impact.

Act Three: Refine and Rehearse. The remaining five scenes will take topics such as body language, verbal delivery, and making “scripted” presentations sound natural and conversational.

  1. Master Stage Presence – Understand and utilize body language.
  2. Make It Look Effortless – Perfect practice makes perfect.
  3. Wear the Appropriate Costume – Know your audience and dress accordingly.
  4. Toss the Script – Talk to the audience with strong eye contact.
  5. Have Fun – Even when things don’t go according to plans.

Carmine Gallo, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs


If you haven’t already, check out samples of Steve Job’s product presentation events listed below. Even if you have already viewed them, rewatch them with the 18 “scenes” above handy for reference.

Watch videos of Steve Jobs conducting select product launches:

How can you improve your presentations with these guidelines?

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 135, released January 2020.

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

>>Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

>> Purchase prior issues of SUMS Remix here<<


Sharpen Your Presentation to Fuel Transformation

Do you think people care about what you have to say? The truth is that the average person doesn’t know you. It’s not that you’re not likeable or smart; it’s just a matter of survival for people in today’s world. There is simply too much out there and not enough time to take it all in.

These words by communications expert Kem Meyer succinctly point out the dilemma for communicators today: for many people, the last thing they are looking for is unsolicited information, or someone to tell them to change their ways.

And yet many, if not most, of the sermons preached by pastors attempt to do just that.

However, many people will take the time to read or listen to something that reinforces an opinion they already have or speaks to a real need in their lives. If they are not looking for it, they won’t hear it. But, if you take the time to learn what they’re looking for, you can get in on a conversation already in progress in their minds.

How then, can a leader understand their audience in such a way to make their message more receptive? How can you connect, communicate, and influence your audience toward life-long transformation?

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Five Stars by Carmine Gallo

Ideas don’t sell themselves. As the forces of globalization, automation, and artificial intelligence combine to disrupt every field, having a good idea isn’t good enough. Mastering the ancient art of persuasion is the key to standing out, getting ahead, and achieving greatness in the modern world. Communication is no longer a “soft” skill―it is the human edge that will make you unstoppable, irresistible, and irreplaceable―earning you that perfect rating, that fifth star.

In Five Stars, Carmine Gallo, bestselling author of Talk Like TED, breaks down how to apply Aristotle’s formula of persuasion to inspire contemporary audiences. As the nature of work changes, and technology carries things across the globe in a moment, communication skills become more valuable―not less. Gallo interviews neuroscientists, economists, historians, billionaires, and business leaders of companies like Google, Nike, and Airbnb to show first-hand how they use their words to captivate your imagination and ignite your dreams.

In the knowledge age―the information economy―you are only as valuable as your ideas. Five Stars is a book to help you bridge the gap between mediocrity and exceptionality, and gain your competitive edge in the age of automation.


If your great ideas are locked in your head they are useless to you, your team, and your audience. You have to be able to explain your ideas efficiently and persuasively.

Mastering the ancient art of persuasion is the key to thriving in a world of rapid change. Developing superior communication skills is no longer an option; it’s fundamental for success. Being able to communicate persuasively and entertainingly makes a compelling case for communication as the crucial differentiator – even in this digital age.

In a world where everything and everybody is competing for the attention of your audience, the ability to communicate is becoming more important than ever.

How can you get better at transporting your thoughts and emotions into the minds of other people?

Mastering the ancient art of persuasion – combining words and ideas to move people to action – is no longer a “soft” skill. It is the fundamental skill to get from good to great in the age of ideas.

The TED stars all practice five presentation habits.

Replace bullet points with pictures

People love pictures because they are a communication tool that dates back as far as humans roamed the planet – back to the cave drawing. Study after study confirms that pictures are far more impactful – and, ultimately, memorable – than text alone.

Make the audience laugh

Humor almost always leads to engagement because it’s one of our most primal and engrained emotions. While you don’t need to be a stand-up comedian to be a hit on the TED stage, a little humor will help you stand out. If they’re laughing, they are listening.

Share personal stories

The ancient brain is wired for stories. Today neuroscientists in the lab are using science to prove what we’ve know for thousands of years – stories are the best tool we have to develop deep, meaningful connections with those we wish to persuade. Facts don’t launch careers; stories do. Facts don’t launch movements; stories do.

Make presentations easy to follow

Skilled TED speakers use humor, tell stories, and structure the argument so that it’s easy to follow and easy to remember. They rely on two specific techniques to do so: headlines and the rule of three.

Promise your audience that they will learn something new

Learning is addictive, thanks to that part of our brain known as the amygdala. When you receive new information, the amygdala releases dopamine, which acts as your brain’s natural “save” button. The need to explore, to learn, something new, to be attracted to something that stands out is wired deep in our DNA. Give your audience something new and delicious to chew on.

Carmine Gallo, Five Stars


While preparing for your next communication opportunity, take the time to review the five ideas above, using them to sharpen your presentation skills.

On a chart tablet, write the five key points listed above, leaving space below each one.

With an outline of your topic in hand, go down the list and write in ideas and actions that can be used for each of the points. After you have finished, review the list and choose at least one from each of the five areas to implement.

Prior to your presentation, enlist the help of a close friend or colleague who is familiar with your communication style. Tell them you would like for them to listen to your presentation, taking notes on not just the information being presented, but also the style and methods used.

Within a day after the event, arrange for a “debrief” with your friend or colleague. Bring out the chart tablet, and make notes from the debrief on it in a different color.

Use the debrief time to sharpen your presentation skills by adding the ideas and actions that worked to your regular preparation and presentation methods.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 104-3, released October 2018.


Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

>>Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

The Apple Store: Informed, Empowered, and Motivated to Deliver an Unbeatable Customer Experience

The most important component to the Apple experience is that the staff isn’t focused on selling stuff. It’s focused on building relationships and trying to make people’s lives better.

– Ron Johnson (Apple’s former head of retail)

When the Apple Store celebrated its 10 year anniversary in May 2011, the media attention was on the growth: one billion visitors, 325 stores, $10 billion in sales, and so on. The numbers were and continue to be astonishing: $6 billion in quarterly revenue, $4,700 in sales per square foot, and 22,000 weekly visitors in a typical store. But numbers alone won’t teach you anything. It’s the story behind the numbers where you’ll learn how to turn your business into an experience so thrilling that your customers will become true advocates for your brand.

Today is the sixth session of Summer Term II of the 2013 GsD program with Applied Guestology 201, a review of some of the leading organizations who deliver exemplary Guest Experiences with application to ChurchWorld.

The Apple Experience, by Carmine Gallo, tells the story of Apple’s retail stores. Gallo, a communications coach, speaker, and journalist, is no stranger to Apple. He has written two other books about Apple’s founder and late CEO Steve Jobs: The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs. The Apple Experience rounds out the trilogy and will help readers understand what it means to deliver an Apple-like experience in any organization that deals with people.

Apple Genius Bar

The core of Apple’s success and intense customer loyalty isn’t just insanely great products but great people who are informed, empowered, and motivated to deliver an unbeatable customer experience. In The Apple Experience, Gallo breaks down Apple’s customer-centric model to provide an action plan with three distinct areas of focus:

1. Inspire Your Inner Customer with training, support, and communications that create a feedback loop” for improving performance at every level

Apple touches the lives of its customers only after touching its employees.

If your team members are not trained, personable, and passionate about the brand, you’ll have no chance of building an organization that delivers an Apple quality experience. Unfortunately, many organizations rank low on the customer satisfaction index because their teams are discouraged, disillusioned, and uninspired.

Apple intentionally has a “first focus” on its team members by taking these actions:

  • Dream Bigger – an innovative customer experience cannot happen in the absence of a loftier goal, an inspiring vision that attracts evangelists and reveals every ounce of your creativity and potential
  • Hire for Smiles – Apple hires for attitude and not aptitude
  • Cultivate Fearless Employees – team members believe in something and they are willing to “fight” for it
  • Build Trust – integrity and trust are a basic threshold requirement to be a part of the team
  • Foster a Feedback Loop – employees feel comfortable and empowered to make comments and suggestions
  • Develop Multitaskers – true multitasking is accommodating three customers and making them all feel special
  • Empower Your Employees – give your team more autonomy, authority, and flexibility when it comes to serving the customer

2. Serve Your External Customer with irresistible brand stores and dedicated salespeople who embody the APPLE five steps of service – Approach, Prove, Present, Listen, End with a fond farewell

People don’t just want to buy personal computers anymore. They want to know what they can do with them, and we’re going to show people exactly that.

– Steve Jobs

The first secret to offering insanely great customer service is to make sure your team is happy, motivated, and passionate. But passion and energy take you only so far. Step Two is to master the skills required to make your customers feel special.

Follow Apple’s Five Steps of Service

Walk into an Apple Retail Store, and you’ll be greeted with warm, friendly, cheery welcome within seconds of stepping inside. It’s the first of five steps employees are instructed to take to create an enriching and memorable experience for all Apple Store customers. The steps are known to employees by the acronym APPLE:

  • Approach customers with a personalized, warm welcome
  • Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs
  • Present a solution for the customer to take home today
  • Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns
  • End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return

Apple, like other customer service champs (Disney, Ritz-Carlton, Starbucks, Nordstrom’s, and Zappos) are successful because they make customer feel special. They approach with a warm welcome, they ask questions, they listen, they enhance the conversation, and they give you a feeling of empowerment. If you can make your customers feel appreciated, confident, and admired, they’ll reward you with their loyalty.

3. Set the Stage by ensuring that no element is overlooked in creating an immersive retail environment where customers can see, touch, and learn about your products

Get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.

– Steve Jobs

But even if you have the people and the communication right, poor packaging will actually detract from the experience you worked so hard to achieve. “Poor packaging” in this case can refer to your digital presence (or lack thereof), your branding efforts, and your physical spaces. Here’s how Apple fights against “poor packaging”:

  • Eliminate the clutter – According to Apple designer Jonathan Ive, “We are absolutely consumed by trying to develop a solution that is very simple because as physical beings we understand clarity.” Though he was speaking about product design, this philosophy extends to the design of the Apple Store experience as well. In Apple’s world, anything that detracts from the user’s experience is eliminated.

Apple cares about things other organizations don’t. It cares about elegance, space, and simplicity. It cares about smudges. Most people don’t care about this as much as Apple, and that’s the difference.

  • Pay Attention to Design Details – Steve Jobs once said “Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.” Design matters.
  • Design Multisensory Experiences – When you walk into an Apple Store, the screens on MacBook computers are set at ninety degree angles, forcing you to touch the computer and move the screen to your ideal viewing angle. In One to One workshops, Creatives don’t touch the computer without permission – instead, they guide customers to find the solutions themselves. Everything in the Apple Store is connected for the purpose of encouraging customers to touch, play, and interact with the devices.

Steve Jobs intuitively understood that there’s power in touch.

By giving Apple’s customers the ability to manipulate the devices for themselves and to play, learn, and have fun, customers would be able to immerse themselves in the ownership experience.

Apple store Northlake Mall

Application for ChurchWorld

Here are some lessons learned from Apple’s retail stores that you can put into practice at your church:

  • Know the Why – the vision of your church is the foundation of your team. Make sure it is bold, specific, concise, and consistently communicated.
  • Design the culture – build a team whose attitudes reflect the culture you’re trying to build.
  • Listen first – encourage open dialogue with your team to share ideas.
  • Solicit feedback – everyone on your team must feel comfortable and confident giving and taking feedback.
  • Learn to multitask – address your guest, assess their needs, and assign a team member to your guest
  • Foster empowerment – even small measures of empowerment will lead to huge returns when it comes to serving your guests.
  • Study the five steps of service – review Apple’s five steps of service and evaluate how you can incorporate each step in your organization
  • Review all of your customer’s touchpoints – are you and your team greeting Guests warmly? Are you making them feel as though they have entered a special environment prepared just for them?
  • Communicate consistently – digital, print, and spoken communication needs to be consistent – with your vision and your actions
  • Create culture-focused team descriptions – design a Guest-focused culture starting with your team descriptions
  • Follow the ten-minute rule – provide a memorable WOW in the first 10 minutes of your Guest coming on campus
  • Script your story – make sure that every part of your weekend experience has a story that has been scripted so that everything flows together, is repeatable, and memorable
  • Hold regular meetings to reinforce your vision – providing superior Guest services requires constant reinforcement and modeling
  • Unclutter your space – ten years of research have confirmed that open spaces and uncluttered environments make customers more relaxed and receptive to connecting with your message
  • Open space applies to your digital world – eliminate clutter on your web site; be sparing in the use of content
  • Take a field trip – visit Apple stores and AT&T retails stores for design inspiration
  • Review every detail of your Guest experience – consider it from their point of view: website, marketing materials, physical spaces. Are all the design elements telling the brand story you want to convey?
  • Develop a consistent experience – train yourself and your team to make every experience memorable from one event to the next by minding the details and not slacking off
  • Start from scratch – use a mental exercise by asking the question “How do we want our Guests to feel when they experience our church?” New questions will usually give you new answers.
  • Create multisensory experiences – using all five senses in your environments are at the heart of breathtaking, memorable experiences
  • Bombard your brain with new experiences – Steve Jobs said that “creativity is connecting things.” He meant that creativity comes from seeking out new experiences, which in turn can help develop creative, groundbreaking ideas.

Recommended Reading for this session:

The Apple Experience, Carmine Gallo

(for a complete reading list, see The Essential Guest Experience Library)

Guestology – the art and science of knowing and understanding your guests – is a term originated by Bruce Laval of the Walt Disney Company. The use of GsD is a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment that organizations that really want to understand and deliver a WOW Guest Experience need to study the best practices and principles in use today, and then adapt them to the context of their own environment.

the GsD (Doctor of Guestology) journey: 2nd Term Summer 2013


Speed Reading Week, Day 2

The Power of foursquare, Carmine Gallo

Author Carmine Gallo has discovered seven big ideas that will help you CHECK IN to the power of foursquare to unlock your brand’s potential:

Connect Your Brand – Align your foursquare strategy with your brand’s value proposition and your brand story.

Harness New Fans – Use foursquare to attract new customers who otherwise might not know about your business or who don’t keep it top of mind.

Engage Your Followers – Add insights and information to keep your brand in front of your customers and fans wherever they are.

Create Rewards – Leverage foursquare’s powerful and free tools to learn more about your best customers and to create rewards for their loyalty.

Knock Out the Competition – Outsmart your competitors by being a leader in this new space and develop creative campaign. Don’t wait for case studies – be the case study.

Incentivize Your Customers – Give your customers a reason to check in, again and again.

Never Stop Entertaining – Foursquare is a playful platform. Always have fun.

If someone asked you what foursquare is, you would be entirely correct to use any of the following answers:

  • It’s a social, local, and mobile networking tool
  • It’s a location-based social network
  • It’s a geolocation app
  • It’s a game
  • It’s a communications tool
  • It’s a new social-media marketing platform

That’s the business world of foursquare – what about ChurchWorld?