Posts Tagged ‘Steve Jobs’

Succeeding the Founder

Monday, February 20th, 2012 by Ben Anderson-Ray

On August 24, 2011, Steve Jobs resigned his role as Apple CEO and was replaced by Tim Cook. This followed a seven-month period in which Cook was already functioning as CEO while Jobs focused on fighting the health problems that ultimately took his life on October 5.

Many are watching to see how this unique leadership transition will work out for Apple, but it is not the first unique leadership transition they have faced. Jobs, of course, was the cofounder of Apple, but organizational infighting led to his ouster when John Sculley took over in the mid-1980s. Sculley oversaw the growth of the Macintosh and thus the company, but when that growth slowed and new internal issues arose, a series of CEOs failed to get the company back on track. In 1997, a more experienced Jobs returned and drove tremendous growth.

The leadership history of Apple is a good reminder that a leadership transition–particularly one involving the founder–presents both risk and
opportunity to any organization. If done poorly, it spawns uncertainty, conflict, and stress, stalling growth and exacerbating misalignment that may or may not have already been there. If done well, it brings new vision and strategic clarity to the organization. Indeed, success for an organization begins with the leader and the culture he or she creates and nurtures.

Much has been written about how to manage effective transition, but most of it focuses on the outgoing founder or CEO. Our work as advisors to midmarket companies has enabled us to closely observe numerous transitions, and we would like to look at this issue from the perspective of the successor.

(Read this full article, which was recently published in The CEO Advantage Journal.)


In 100 Words: Difference Between Purpose & Value Proposition

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 by Troy Schrock

Purpose and value proposition are not the same thing.  Purpose is primarily an internal message that aligns employees; value proposition is an external message that tells customers how you will meet their needs.

Customers may admire your purpose, but they buy your value proposition based on how it meets their needs.  For example, I personally admire Southwest Airlines as an organization, but I typically fly with another airline that better meets my particular business travel needs (even though I have far less admiration for their company).

Let your purpose drive you, but let your customers’ needs drive your value proposition.

“A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them.  We chose a different path.  Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.”  (Steve Jobs)

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Becoming a Courageous Leader

Friday, December 16th, 2011 by Ellen Bryson

Courage is one of the primary characteristics we need to possess to be an effective leader.  It is an attitude that helps us deal with anything we recognize as difficult or possibly dangerous without withdrawing from it. Possessing this skill is especially important during times of uncertainty or adversity when fear of the unknown can hold us back or immobilize us. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to act in spite of it.

As I reflect on this statement and think about business leaders in the 21st century, Steve Jobs comes to mind. Jobs exemplified courageous leadership. He was a visionary; he was passionate about his dream and he pursued it every day. He overcame great personal and professional adversity during his career, but never lost sight of his goal to make the world’s best PC. Jobs dreamed big, took lots of risks, inspired others to follow him, overcame obstacles, and delivered a new way to work and play to millions of people around the world. He demonstrated courageous leadership!

Following are some lessons taken from Jobs’ example that can assist you in honing this skill:
1.  Dare to dream big dreams. Believe in your ideas. Embrace your values and vision and let them be your guide.
2.  Persevere, never give up!
3.  Define who you want to be as a leader and commit yourself to doing the things necessary to achieve that reality.
4.  Develop skills that enable you to act quickly and deliberately.
5. Develop a plan, but remember, a good plan is not enough; it requires action. Execution produces sustainable results.
6.  Take calculated risks. Accept failures or setbacks as learning opportunities. Mistakes are our greatest teacher.
7.  Keep pursuing your dream.
8.  Deliver results.

Stephen Covey said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Courage isn’t a characteristic that you are born with. It is one that has to be developed or created through experience. As you develop as a leader, mastering this trait will help you define your way.


In 100 Words: Engorging at the Trough of Opportunity

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 by Troy Schrock

One thing that makes Apple CEO Steve Jobs unique is his reported ability to listen to three or four high quality ideas and very matter-of-factly say, “dumb idea…dumb idea…good idea!  That’s the one!”

In contrast, many entrepreneurs and executive teams, when faced with several worthy ideas, will want to pursue each one.  I call it engorging at the trough of opportunity.  There is lots of appealing food, it tastes good, but you walk away bloated and weighted down.

Businesses rarely suffer from lack of opportunity, but few have the discipline to choose the best opportunity and let the others go.

“It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires great strength to decide on what to do.”  (Elbert Hubbard)

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