Friday, August 26, 2011

"Is It End of The Road for Apple Without Steve Jobs?" - Professor M.S.Rao

“Steve Jobs is the most successful CEO in the US of the last 25 years.” – Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman

Steve Jobs resignation from Apple as CEO has been expected by many due to health reasons. In fact, 56 years is too young for a person to resign as CEO of any company. His successor, Timothy Cook will have tough to fill the leadership vacuum created by his predecessor. In fact, Steve Jobs is synonymous with Apple and that is the image he has built for himself through his innovative strategies. Nobody expected that a college drop out would create a history in the business world through his unconventional strategies and unflagging determination and perseverance. Nobody expected that the man who was fired would be in command for 14 years at a stretch and exit with great acclaim. It is often said that the people who are fired from jobs will lose their morale, energy and enthusiasm. In contrast, Steve Jobs persisted, returned and turned around the company which was at the brink of disaster and excelled as an innovation legend globally.

Share prices tumbled hearing the news of his exit and subsequently stabilized. He is a college drop out like other corporate leaders such as Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell and Mark Zuckerberg. He rose from humble origins who is a symbol of hard work and hope for millions of people across the world. Before his venture into Apple he survived by selling coke bottles and having free meals at Hare Krishna temple in Oregon. His corporate success calls for developing a case study to inspire budding leaders and entrepreneurs. He worked on what he had rather than blaming his circumstances thus proving to the world that everything is possible in this world.

If you ask an Indian child what does alphabet ‘A’ stand for? The child would immediately say “A for Apple”. If you ask the same question to an American child the response would be “A for Apple and innovation”. That is the impression the Apple Computer has created in America and across the world under the leadership of Steve Jobs. Innovation is almost synonymous with Apple Computers. It has created new products and services by following the road less traveled. It took many years for Apple to build brand for innovation under the innovative leadership of Steve Jobs.

He was ousted from Apple in 1985 and was brought back subsequently. Steve said on his ouster from Apple, “It was awful-tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life’s gonna hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” And he was more successful in his second innings as he successfully introduced iPod, iPhone and iPad at the cost of Apple’s competitors Sony Corp, Nokia Oyj and Hewlett-Packard. With his departure from Apple his competitors will heave sign of relief.

Steve – A True Leader

He is a leader, not a boss. He is a leader, not a manager. He is an entrepreneur, not an intrapreneur. He knows the picking up the right people, putting them in the right place, building effective teams and inspiring them to dream big and achieving the objectives. This is his leadership style. He is a visionary leader, inspirational leader and above all, a charismatic leader. As an apple a day keeps the doctor away Steve has kept Apple healthy from competitors through his innovative and inspiring leadership. He is not only a great American leader but also an international leader who inspires all of us. He is not only the embodiment of American dream but global dream. It is tough to match with his personality in the current corporate world.

Speaking about innovation, Steve said, “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.” He has created a cult such as, “The Steve Jobs Way” during his tenure. He has a special place in the hearts of both friends and foes for his innovative leadership. His contribution for the computer industry, especially consumer electronics, is unparalleled. And his toughest critics will have a hard time arguing against his contributions to the industry. His successor has a tough task ahead to meet the expectations of others and Professor David B Yoffie, Harvard Business School expressed the same concern, “The real challenge for Apple will be what happens beyond that road map. Apple is going to need a new leader with a new way of recreating and managing the business in the future.”

1 comment:

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