I finally had a chance to watch Steve Jobs (2015) the movie starring Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet. Amazing movie with amazing performances regardless of whether or not it was accurate to the real late Steve Jobs. I really don’t have a comment on the historical accuracy of the script, other than of course, I know a lot of it was fictional to be entertaining. I have read commentary from some of the actual individuals portrayed in the movie and overall it seems nobody has a major issue with how Jobs was presented.
That being said, Aaron Sorkin, who wrote the screenplay for Steve Jobs also wrote The Social Network about Mark Zuckerberg. And in many ways the movie about Facebook was way off. Yet it was entertaining nonetheless. So for the purpose of this article, I am just going to focus on Steve Jobs the movie on its own and what the IAF (Intuitive Alignment & Fulfillment), and everybody else, can learn from the characters.
Just a warning in advance. This is not your basic MDNA profile. We are going a lot deeper here and you will need to be familiar with MDNA in general. If you want some foundational material, please check out our archives and read about the IAF on the MDNA Institute website.
Steve Jobs IAF/UCD Verified
First, the movie does confirm my initial profile of Steve Jobs being IAF/UCD. (I was a little shy of committing to UCD secondary back then but no issues with it now.) It also verifies my belief that Apple as a company’s MDNA Brand Culture is IAF/KWR. For those who are certified or learning MDNA Brand Culture, the reason Apple is IAF/KWR is the merging of Steve Jobs’ and Steve Wozniak’s MDNA as Apple’s two co-founders. (Apple is an intimate ecosystem with the brand tagline “Think Different” which is total IAF/KWR.)
I do highly recommend watching the movie even before you read the rest of this profile.
IAF/UCD is a Potent Yet Very Conflicted Combination
I have met many IAF/UCDs before. And all of them, without exception, have been very, very smart. In their own ways, like Jobs, they were geniuses. This is not to say that you need to be IAF/UCD to be intelligent or everybody with the same Motivational Value System will be smart. It’s actually how the two MDNA gifts work together that make it so intellectually potent. In fact, I recommend that every IAF learn how to operate UCD in some form.
Just remember that the IAF and UCD are on complete opposite ends of the MDNA spectrum. This means individuals with this Motivational Value System will actually experience quite a bit of internal conflict. For example, the IAF is highly relational. The UCD is not and requires no social engagement to be effective. Where the IAF will want to sacrifice for relationships, the UCD would rather cut people out of their lives than deal with ideological tension. You can see the potential problems here.
Some might assume that Steve Jobs is primary UCD because he was considered innovative. I touch on this in my original profile but will reiterate this. The UCD tends to be a research and development machine that has no problem creating something out of nothing–especially being strategic from of chaos. Yet many discount that the IAF is highly innovative as well. This is because they have the ability to envision a state of fulfillment and excellence in anything they are passionate about. On top of which they can make things beautiful in a way the UCD never can. This was Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs did not innovate because of an ideology or conviction. Yes, he did have an ideology and was driven by personal convictions. But Jobs’ ideological convictions were based upon a vision of fulfillment and excellence. He could see into the future of the interactions between humans and technology. He was completely intuitive on how all details could align to create a perfect ecosystem to make people more efficient and put a dent in the universe. He was driven by every detail of design and intimate experience (example: why use a stylus like one finger when you have ten that can interface with the screen?). From the angles on a computer, to the the exit lights being on or off during a product demonstration, he just had a visionary gut feeling about everything.
In many ways, although the IAF and UCD may seem vastly different, the MDNA spectrum can be circular. Meaning that the IAF’s ability to create intimate ecosystems can open the door for innovative paradigms. Nothing expresses this more than the opening of the above trailer where Steve Jobs envisions a beautiful computer empowering people’s lives to which John Sculley responds would be a historical “tectonic shift.”
Yet being IAF is not what made Steve Jobs successful. It is because he was willing to deliver his IAF promise through a UCD personality.
There are many reasons why people develop a UCD secondary. But one of them is emotional trauma. Without getting into it too much here, I have noticed that many IAFs, that have had emotional trauma, use the UCD black and whiteness as a personal protection of sorts. Through the UCD, they can anchor themselves to what is wrong and right and the principles that keep them from being emotionally overwhelmed. I had no idea that Steve Jobs was adopted which could be a potential source of emotional trauma. This is something the movie delves into and gives us an interesting perspective on why Jobs had the personality he did.
Most of the time, the IAF is very personable, warm and friendly. That is, if they are not secondary UCD. Steve Jobs, by all accounts, was not friendly at all. The movie really goes after this. It seemed nobody really liked Jobs at all. Yet you see these flashes where Jobs becomes very sensitive and wants to deeply connect with the people around him. In many instances, after an initial fight, he is willing to sacrifice for people to show the love in his heart. He also had moments where he realized he hurt others which unnerved him greatly–an IAF core trait.
What happens to most IAFs however, because they are emotionally complex and sensitive to people, is they get railroaded and dominated by others. Dare I say they can be easy targets for bullies and victimization. But not Steve. He needed to have control. He “played the orchestra.” That’s where the UCD served him well.
The UCD has an ability to clearly articulate what the IAF is feeling and sensing. This is one way the IAF and UCD, as two different people, can really work together. Job was highly articulate and could make things black and white like no other. This is where the power is. The ability to take an emotionally complex intuitive vision and spell it out for others in strategically blunt terms to follow. Jobs was a leader. He might not have been the most functional leader when it came to employee engagement, but he had no problems leading. This is why his legacy is of innovation and being able to realize visions of design excellence that shaped culture and our behavior as people.
The take away for IAFs here, especially in a leadership environment, is learn to give your IAF gift in a UCD delivery. Stop caring how people feel. Believe in the principles that stay true no matter what the relationships look like. It’s not that you have to throw relationships and emotions away. You just can’t let them control you. And just like Jobs, no matter how much of a jerk you might think you are being, people will still believe in you because they are drawn to the vision in your heart. Trust it. If those around you can’t handle that, they shouldn’t be part of your team anyway.
The biggest problem I saw with Jobs in the movie was how emotionally stubborn he was. He wasn’t just stubborn like a UCD. Being a UCD myself I can tell you that, once I have convictions, I am the unstoppable force meets the immovable object level of stubborn. Jobs was emotionally stubborn. This is what the IAF needs to watch out for. And when both the IAF and UCD gifts collide in one person for stubbornness, look out. It gets bad.
This is where every IAF needs others to help them look into a full length mirror and examine the blind spots of character. We all need this. In the movie, John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple was called the “Steve Whisperer.” Joanna Hoffman, acted by Kate Winslet, played that role as well. As an IAF, you need those people that know you to the core and have the permission to present what they see–without emotional bloodshed (the entire movie was washed with emotional blood). But unlike Steve Jobs, you don’t have to make it hard for them. It may sting the pride, but you need it. In the movie, Hoffman in particular went to great lengths to be a loving friend to Jobs, including threatening to quit, so he would listen. Don’t let your emotional stubbornness make people in your life do the same.
There are dozens of other lessons we can learn on how to lead as an IAF from the life of Steve Jobs. But the most important is, we can see what the IAF gift is truly capable of. It doesn’t have to be in technology either. The IAF gift can transform cultures, industries and history. I truly believe, more than any other gift, the IAF really is designed to put a “dent in the universe.”