“Pity whoever has to follow Steve Jobs at Apple,” Brian Caulfield writes for Forbes. “Not every great company stumbles into oblivion after the departure of a visionary founder. The problem: Jobs has left once before, and until he came back, it looked like Apple would be one of those companies.”
“Whether a leadership transition takes place 12 months from now or two decades from now, picking a Jobs successor is a tricky task. ‘When you’re dealing with someone who really is a genius, it’s not like you can say, ‘Let’s go find ourselves another genius,” says Patrick Sweeney, executive vice president at Caliber, an organizational consulting firm,” Caulfield writes.
“The first time that Jobs tried to share leadership of Apple was a disaster. Pepsi President John Sculley, whom Jobs had picked as a mentor, ousted him in 1985–and the company began to crumble. Only when Jobs returned, about a decade later, was Apple able to surge from a computing also-ran to an innovator able to crank out products that shattered the status quo,” Caulfield writes. “Books have been written about why that happened. But here’s one intriguing thread: Sweeney says Jobs is the ultimate ‘ideational’ personality–someone able to find the links between seemingly unrelated ideas fluidly. The result is a company that has transitioned from strength to strength, moving from the Mac, to the iPod, to the iPhone.”
Caulfield writes, “Sculley could not create products that Apple customers didn’t know they wanted. Nor did Apple succeed under the sort of sharp-penciled manager able to turn a troubled company into a booming business. Gil Amelio, who cut costs and ground his way to profitability at National Semiconductor.”
Caulfield writes, “Apple will need much more than a skilled manager.”
Full article, in which Caulfield reports that “Jobs seems to have assembled a smartly functional team,” here.