Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Move like Jagger, Think like Jobs

The one on my right is Steve Jobs!

Would the Rolling Stones exist without Mick Jagger? No, it wouldn't. It would be either a cheap copy of the wiggly legendary lead vocal or something that wouldn't resemble anything of the former band, which means it would literally cease to exist. Soon we will find out whether Apple was a one man show.

In a world built on volatility, it's hard to say Apple's leadership has been established. Mostly for 2 reasons: (1) no company is ever assured of keeping a leading position without continuous improvement; (2) there is no longer such a thing as established leadership.

What was Steve Jobs' legacy to Apple? Was it a roadmap or pipeline of ideas and products? Was it his creative and visionary brain? Or was it a way of thinking? No company can depend on a single individual for its success. No company will achieve competitive longevity based on a single leader, no matter how good he/she is.

We know great leaders not only when they have the job but perhaps more importantly after they leave, their legacy. We often see companies striving under a leader just to lose its momentum after a leadership transition. If the way of working has been ingrained into people’s beliefs and behavior, the company no longer depends on a single visionary individual to achieve greatness.

It’s a fact we can’t only blame Jobs in case Apple loses its luster. But preparing someone who can take your job is a key role of a leader. Hopefully the new person will bring even better and greater ideas. Inheriting a winning company is probably more difficult than taking a company that needs change, if we can really say a job is easier than the other. The rationale before this statement is that in relative market position a leading company can only keep it or go down.

I don’t know how much value there is learning how to move like Jagger, but I can say that if you can do it along with perpetuating a winning corporate culture you’ll be a hilariously entertaining leader on top of being a great one.

Jobs didn’t have Jagger’s moves that’s for sure. It now remains to be seen whether he succeeded making Apple think like him.

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