Lesson From Steve Jobs: The Power of Inspiration


One way to keep techies inspired is to make sure their brilliance is not only recognized but actually makes a difference. In Jobs' case, not every engineer liked him but they respected his ability to envision and enhance technology's role in society.

"Engineers respect leaders who love technology and can take their ideas and turn it into a product that sells," executive leadership expert Paul David Walker, author of Unleashing Genius (Morgan James Publishing, 2008), . "In this way, Steve Jobs is an engineer's greatest ally."

For the typical CIO, though, creating a game-changing product like the iPad or iPhone isn't in their future. But they can still find ways to inspire staff and keep workers invigorated about their jobs.

Wes Wright, CTO at Seattle Children's Hospital, found a way to inspire and motivate a group of his IT staff. Because the group (mainly data center operators, programmers and analysts) work in an offsite location, they sometimes feel disconnected with the mission.

So Wright set up regular tours of the hospital, whereby clinicians would accompany IT workers and explain how they use technology. IT workers could understand first-hand the impact their work was having on children's lives. They could see the children's faces and listen to their stories.