Eric McNulty takes a look at the leadership impact of Apple CEO Steve Jobs — with a view to why the many assessments that poured forth after his death were premature. Apple certainly makes wonderful products but it will take time to determine if Jobs was as great a leader as some have dubbed him after his unfortunate early death:
In natural systems, hierarchies are built from the bottom up: each subsequent layer is added only if it supports the layers below it. Corporations tend to build them from the top down. If Jobs was the personification of the DNA of Apple, and spread that DNA to empower others to create and lead, the company may well continue to succeed at a high level. If Apple was, instead, simply an organization built to support Jobs, it may not. Jobs’ role as CEO and leader was to deliver short-term results, while building the conditions for long-term success. Long-term has only just begun, and the most important dynamic to track will be whether the genius of Apple was Steve Jobs, or a genius in building a company that has a collective capacity for striking innovation and discovery.”