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Steve Jobs and Entrepreneurialship
College dropouts Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer in April 1976. The 1984 launch of the Macintosh computer finally moved Apple into the business office, and by 1988, over one million Mac's had been sold. Jobs stunned the world with the 1984 Super bowl commercial, and literally changed computing for all time (Appleseed, 1984). Now, Apple designs, develops, produces markets and services microprocessor-based personal computers, related software and peripheral products, including laser printers, scanners, compact disk read-only memory drives and other related products; and manufactures communications products that connect Apple systems to local area networks, connect the Macintosh to other computers and integrate the Macintosh into various computing environments. One of Apple's most successful new products is considered by many to be the current "ultimate" smart phone -- the iPhone, capturing over 40 million sales in 2010 alone, and almost 20 million in Q1 2011 alone. Combined with the I-Pod, Apple remains a global icon and technological force (Garside & Arthur 2011). In fact, with Apple guru Steve Jobs' passing, Apple and Jobs now receive almost "superstar" mythology (Schaefer 2012).
Briefly, Jobs was born in 1955, the son of Syrian immigrants. He moved to California and attended Homestead High School in Cupertino, where he met Steve Wozniak. He was not successful in College, dropping out of Portland's Reed College. He took a job at Atari in 1973, his supervisor noting that he was often the smartest person in the room, but he was sure to let everyone know that. He spent some time in India, and by 1975 had collaborated with Wozniak in several small, some illegal, adventures. In 1976, they founded Apple Computer and began selling circuit boards. The rest is history -- moving from the Apple to the Apple II to the Macintosh and then onto phones, music devices and computers that pushed the design and technical limits of the industry.
Jobs was removed from Apple in 1985 over a power struggle with CEO John Scully, whom Jobs had lured away from PepsiCo. Jobs briefly toyed with the idea of opening a computer company in the Soviet Union and of being a Civilian Space Shuttle pilot, but eventually designed and opened up a new company, NeXT computers. NeXt was acquired by Apple in 1997, but Jobs was already well into another venture, Pixar and Disney. Despite some early challenges, there were a number of successes in animated films, causing Disney to purchase Pixar in an all-stock transaction worth $7.4 billion (Linzmayer, 2004).
Jobs came back to Apple in 1996 and named interim CEO in September 1997. To return Apple to profitability, he terminated a number of products, changed the licensing requirements on the Macintosh, and branched out to improve other digital appliances. Until he resigned as CEO in August of 2011, however, Jobs moved Apple into not simply a computer operation, but an electronics and communications mega-giant. At the time of his death on October 5, 2011, Jobs' wealth was estimated at over $8 billion (Forbes, 2011)
Leadership Style and Culture
For organizations of all types, the last three decades have been crucial in changing the manner in which organizations interact with each other, stakeholders, the government, and themselves. Most of these changes occurred because of the evolution of globalization, which after the Cold War, increased cooperation between nations and regions while, at the same time, increased stakeholder expectations, opened hundreds of new markets, and now requires that organizations operate on a new level. Particularly after the Enron scandal, stakeholders expect more transparency and honesty from business. In fact, a recent survey found that 74% want to know more about the ethical stance and the nature of a company prior to purchasing from them. At the same time, 92% of FTSE 100 companies provide no metrics, benchmarks, or quantitative measurements within their annual report (Suter 2012).
This very real conundrum is at the heart of the manner in which modern businesses have changed in the 21st century: new technologies, new methods of delivering messages, new expectations, and new products. Businesses have also undergone a change in its overall philosophy -- not just moving toward entrepreneurial thought as a way to change their marketing paradigm, but through consumer and corporate expectations of business in a more ethical and sustainable manner. Equally, the culture and innovation of Apple is inexorably tied to Steve Jobs -- and through that he is recognized as one of the seminal pioneers of the personal computer revolution and the transformation of consumer electronics, "one industry after another, from computers and Smartphones to music and movies" (Sarno & Goffard 2011).
Jobs did not have a singular leadership style, but one that evolved over time. He eventually became a charismatic leader "most of the time," but as with any theoretical precept, nothing is always true or never true -- it is part of the day-to-day blending of styles. Most everyone who encountered Jobs at any level said he was aggressive and demanding. Hey was frequently quoted as saying that most people are not used to an environment that expects excellence as the norm. One of Jobs' skills, though, was to use a mix of charm, charisma, bravado, hyperbole; marketing and persistence to help other people (employees and customers) see the possibilities and potential of a product and of innovation. The term used for this, taken from a Star Trek episode, was that Jobs had again evoked the Reality Distortion Field, a way Jobs swayed the public regarding new product announcements (Furber, 2008)
For organizations that are movers and shakers, the new leader, particularly the charismatic leaders, is one who has managerial ability to make appropriate decisions at the right time, in the right way, and using the right resources (Drucker, 2007). Many see Jobs' success focusing on his charismatic leadership style, which evolved over the years as the product lines developed and competition heightened. The charismatic leader tends to personify confidence and vision, but still manages to bring a special "chemistry" to the entire organization. They have high motivational skills, and have the ability to use their positive personality traits to make subordinates "feel" the vision. There are five key behaviors most scholars agree are indicative of charismatic leadership in the modern world:
Jobs as Paradigm
Challenge the process
Avoid the status quo, innovate and encourage dissent.
Just because something "has been this way for years" does not mean it is right.
Worked to overturn the DOS and IBM manner of Operating Systems and redefine computer culture.
Inspire a shared vision
Communicate and be open, share goals.
Meet with employees and managers to share strategic and tactical goals encourage communication.
Included Apple employees in a number of innovations and beta tests.
Enable others to Act
Be the kind of leader that makes it easy for others to be successful
Clear boundaries, find resources, make way for the doers.
Challenged departments to use their insights to come up with new ways of envisioning technology.
Model the way
Be mindful that actions speak louder than words
Walk the talk and talk the walk
Continually preached the Apple way at conventions, through the media, to the board, and was a coach on a daily basis when on Apple's campus.
Encourage the heart
Don't forget your humanity
People are people, what ties us together ultimately is our humanity.
Even after being ousted in 1985 Jobs continued to encourage the heart of Apple, pushed the NeXT and Pixar organizations, and knew he would be back to Apple soon.
(Cited from: Kouszes, 1994).
Charismatic leadership can often be less formal and more psychological than simply managing. Charismatic leaders are always pushing the envelope, challenging the status quo. They tend to look at the current situation and ask: "What can we do better?" Charismatic leaders rarely wait for things to happen -- they make them happen by inspiring their own unique vision. The charismatic leader believes in the role of human resources as one of the primary assets of the organization. They inspire by looking at the emotional, as well as intellectual, needs of their staff. The charismatic leaders is a lightning rod for change management. They are rarely content unless the organization is rapidly evolving, improving technologically and in the market. More than anything, the true charismatic leader moves the process -- motivates the resources -- and typically succeeds based on personal charisma backed with sound and thoughtful judgment (Shea & Howell, 1999). All these traits embodied the Jobs' style.
Jobs changed and evolved as a manager -- the pre and post 1985 years were quite important to him. He noted that after 1985 he had time to think and regroup a bit and formed his idea of management from the Rock Group The Beatles. In this he meant that each one of the Beatles were key to the success of the group -- and these key people kept others in check and kept the group focused on what it could do best. Once…[continue]
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