In the wake of Steve Jobs retirement announcement as CEO, Apple shares fell by 5%. For most people Apple is Steve Jobs, so that’s not a surprise. He is staying on in a leadership role, can you imagine the fall if he had stepped away entirely? Jobs created, then saved and kept Apple as one of the world’s most valuable and innovative organizations. But it wasn’t just vision and inspiration. He created new and must have products during a recession! But more importantly over his career he also ensured that product planning focused on a clear strategy with clean and simple products, avoiding or keeping bureaucratic infighting to a minimum and attracting the best in the world. Steve Jobs is unique and it’s always hard to compare one industry to another, but as Apple deals with this, what are the lessons? What questions should we ponder for our own situation? The most obvious is the need for succession planning, something so many organization ignore totally or put off. But beyond this, let’s take inspiration from Steve Jobs. While no one is irreplaceable and while this is not about ego, would we create the same stir within our own organization if we announced we were leaving? Is your leadership impact such that its loss would shake the company, the department the group which you lead or are a member? Are you known for detailed product planning, inspiration, having a focus on strategy, stamping out infighting and clearing bureaucracy? While we can’t match Steve Jobs and even he is not perfect we can certainly reflect on what we can learn from him.
Steve Jobs and Leadership
August 25, 2011