As an Apple fanboy (nut?) I was shocked to read about Steve Jobs retiring as CEO. Then, seeing all the articles pondering what Apple will be like without Jobs interested me. From a leadership perspective here is what I think…
Apple’s best days are ahead…
Enduring organizations hold vehemently to their set of values. The language used over the last decade from Apple centered on its DNA. Steve focused on keeping Apple’s values first and foremost. The saga around the iPhone 4 Gizmodo deal pointed this out greatly.
Apple figured out its culture
Culture leads long term where a person cannot. Apple returned to its culture and who it was. At a point where everyone thought Apple was done, it came back. Many companies have gone through this cycle. Ford is going through this journey.
Apple figured out discernment
Apple figured out the power of no is a stronger yes. This is hard for anyone to do. Learning to say no also sets an organization up to act vs react. Apple astutely states: if people don’t like it, they wont buy it. Apple gave realization that people really want quality & artistic expression.
Apple learned to take steps not add programs
Everything Apple did since ’97 propelled it to the next step. A key part was choosing to focus on usability vs speed & specs approach to development. In the computer race Apple was the tortoise as its 30% market growth over the last few years demonstrates.
Apple may not succeed
Qoheleth states one cannot control what happens after them. Is it possible Apple is Jobs? Yes. Is it possible that for other reasons not related to Jobs Apple will decline? Yes. But, it’s possible for reasons stated above that Apple may endure as well. And, we may suppose, that a day will come when another company will take the reigns of innovation and wow us.
The bottom line:
We cannot control what happens after us.