Apple – testing succession planning

Steven Paul Jobs, called Steve Jobs, co-founde...
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Steve Jobs has been the icon in terms of the IT industry over the last 25 years.  Apple was built, rescued and transformed by Steve Jobs.  Apple has transformed the industry.  In the last number of years Jobs has battled serious illness, continued to drive the company forward and developed and implemented succession plans.

As external business advisors we spend a significant amount of time talking about ‘competitive edge‘, strategy, succession planning, talent pool, etc.  Clearly Apple has a real talent pool and has planned for succession.  The real question is how much of the competitive edge was actually Steve Jobs.  His innovative mindset, his emphasis on design, his demands around quality, his show.

It will be interesting to watch this play out.  No doubting the talent of his successor, Tim Cook.  Apple will be different.  This does not preclude Apple being even more successful.  But, to date, this has been a company very much focused on delivering the Jobs magic.  The test of the succession planning is the continued development of the magic.

Good piece in the FT editorial.




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How do you do succession planning when you are Apple?

We all need Steve Jobs back in harness. Love him or hate him – he has contributed gugely to what we are all enjoying now in terms of useful, personal, mobile, flexible, technology.

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...
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We all talk about succession planning – at CEO level, at functional head level, in key skills areas.  And then I look at Apple.

Don’t get me wrong – there are things about Steve Jobs that drive me mad.  In some respects while he is a pioneer he also holds back the industry through insisting on living in his world – your music in iTunes, etc.

But…he is a genius.  And he is unforgiving in his drive for excellence and his commitment to design.

And I guess that’s the question that Steve Jobs poses – how does succession planning work when you need to plan to have someone succeed a genius?

Here’s hoping that he cheats his illness again and makes another comeback. The world is a hell of a lot more interesting because of this guy.

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