Steve Jobs has announced his departure from Apple. And while the timing was a surprise, the resignation was not. The market has been preparing for this moment for quite some time. Yet in the wake of the announcement, Apple’s stock was impacted not because of company performance but as an emotional response from the market to the departure of a dynamic leader.
An iconic figure, Job’s signature black turtle neck and jeans are arguably as much a part of the Apple brand as the Apple logo. So the questions begin: “Can Apple still be Apple without Steve Jobs?”
Obviously, the success of Apple is the result of the hard work of thousands of employees. However, the dip in the stock and the ensuing questions about the brand’s ability to sustain its competitive edge highlights the important role of an organization’s leader.
Good leaders don’t just focus on the short term business outcomes, they must recognize the impact they have on the organization overall and therefore the long-term success of the company.
Good leaders recognize that:
- through their actions they establish the culture of the company
- they reflect on the brand and in some cases are synonymous with it
- it is important to communicate their vision for the company in order to set direction
- employee morale is often a mirror image of management style
To these points, yesterday was Founder’s Day at Cookerly Public Relations. On this day we celebrate, somewhat to her chagrin, our founder, Carol Cookerly’s birthday. While any attention is slightly embarrassing to her, for her employees it’s the opportunity to recognize the impact she has on our daily work lives. From quick rounds of Pin-the-Tail on the Donkey, Cookerly Bingo, Cake Day and Bocce tournaments to spontaneous office outings, happy hours and fitness contests, Carol creates an environment of creativity and camaraderie. And by example, she also demands diligent, hard work with a relentless attention to detail. Importantly, Carol recognizes that she alone cannot be the Cookerly brand so she inspires all to understand their responsibility as an ambassador of the company. The sign of a good chief, she recognizes the importance of developing leadership from within the company.
Time will tell if this is the case with Apple. A true test of Steve Jobs’ legacy will be whether he has been able to develop leadership and a culture that can thrive following his departure as CEO.
The question remains: “Can Apple still be Apple without Steve Jobs?”