Newsweek names Steve Jobs as the best of the 10 Best Leaders of 2005. Let us examine why.
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Why is CEO Steve Jobs considered to be a (the) best leader of the decade by Fortune Magazine! Using what you have learned in this module on the functions of leadership, define Job's leadership style and analyze how he fulfills the functions of leadership?
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How Apple's demanding visionary will shake up Disney and the world of entertainment
COVER STORY PODCAST
Early on a July workday in 1997, Jim McCluney, then head of Apple's worldwide operations got the call. McCluney was summoned with other top brass of the beleaguered company to Apple Computer Inc.'s boardroom on its Cupertino (Calif.) campus. Embattled Chief Executive Gil Amelio wasted no time. With an air of barely concealed relief, he said: "Well, I'm sad to report that it's time for me to move on. Take care," McCluney recalls. And he left.
Slide Show >>A few minutes later, in walked Steve Jobs. The co-founder of the once proud company had been fired by Apple 12 years before. He had returned seven months earlier as a consultant, when Amelio acquired his NeXT Software Inc. And now Jobs was back in charge. Wearing shorts, sneakers, and a few days' growth of beard, he sat down in a swivel chair and spun slowly, says McCluney, now president of storage provider Emulex Corp. (ELX ). "O.K., tell me what's wrong with this place," Jobs said. After some mumbled replies, he jumped in: "It's the products! So what's wrong with the products?" Again, executives began offering some answers. Jobs cut them off. "The products SUCK!" he roared. "There's no sex in them anymore!"
The one-time enfant terrible of the technology world has calmed down considerably en route to becoming a 50-year-old billionaire. But what hasn't changed is his passion for doing, and saying, just about anything to help create the kinds of products that consumers love. In the nine years since Jobs returned to Apple, his unique modus operandi has sparked broad changes in the world of music, movies, and technology.
Now Jobs is stepping into the Magic Kingdom. On Jan. 24, Walt Disney Co. (DIS ) agreed to pay $7.4 billion in stock to acquire Pixar Animation Studios (PIXR ), where Jobs is chairman, CEO, and 50.6% owner. As part of the deal, Jobs will become the largest shareholder at Disney and take a seat on the entertainment giant's board. His top creative executive at Pixar, John A. Lasseter, will oversee the movies at both Pixar's and Disney's animation studios. Pixar's president, Edwin Catmull, will run the business side for the two studios.
Slide Show >>The alliance between Jobs and Disney is full of promise. If he can bring to Disney the same kind of industry-shaking, boundary-busting energy that has lifted Apple and Pixar sky-high, he could help the staid company become the leading laboratory for media convergence. It's not hard to imagine a day when you could fire up your Apple TV and watch Net-only spin-offs of popular TV shows from Disney's ABC Inc. (DIS ). Or use your Apple iPhone to watch Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant's video blog, delivered via Disney's ESPN Inc. "We've been talking about a lot of things," says Jobs. "It's going to be a pretty exciting world looking ahead over the next five years."
One reason for the rich possibilities is that Disney CEO Robert A. Iger is a kindred spirit. The 54-year-old Iger, who succeeded longtime Disney chief Michael D. Eisner on Oct. 1, is a self-avowed early adopter who listens to a 120-channel Sirius satellite radio in his car. He travels with a pair of iPods, bopping along to the new nano during his 5 a.m. workouts. Jobs seems to know it: Iger says the first call that he got in March when he was named to the top job came from the Apple CEO. "He wished me well and hoped we could work together soon," recalled Iger in an interview two months ago.
Lightning fast is more like it. Two weeks after Iger took office, the Disney CEO was on stage at a San Jose movie theater with Jobs as the two men introduced Apple's new video iPod and the availability of such ABC shows as Lost and Desperate Housewives. The deal came together on Internet time, in just three days. Iger wanted to show that Disney can be a nimble company, willing to embrace the latest digital technologies to deliver its content. "I think we impressed [Jobs and other Apple execs] with how quickly we could make a decision," said Iger in the earlier interview.
Yet the alliance has plenty of risks, too. Jobs will have to navigate a minefield of conflicts as he runs Apple and sits on Disney's board. He'll also have to demonstrate he can take on the unfamiliar role of supporting player. The same perfectionism that allows him to help create great products has made it difficult for him to stand by if someone is going in what he considers the wrong direction. When he returned to Apple as part of the NeXT acquisition, he insisted he didn't want Amelio's job, and then quickly took charge. Already, there's speculation in Silicon Valley that Disney's chief could get "Amelioed."
Iger isn't in the most secure spot. He has revamped Disney's management style and has improved some operations. Still, the company's stock is at about the same level it was a decade ago. And Iger has only been CEO a few months, so he's on new footing with Disney's directors. One management expert calls the Jobs move "courageous" but says "Iger just put a gun to his head," predicting that Jobs' influence in the boardroom would be so pervasive that Iger could be gone within a year.
Particularly ticklish will be Disney's animation business. While Iger has stressed that it's crucial to the company's future, Jobs may have closer ties, since his two lieutenants will be running the show. Even during the conference call announcing the Disney-Pixar deal, there were hints of differences. One analyst asked whether Lasseter would have authority to decide whether Pixar movies such as Toy Story will be made into Broadway plays. Jobs began by acknowledging that Lasseter works for Iger, then added, "[Lasseter] has always had strong feelings about the exploitation of stories and characters." So if Lasseter and Iger disagree, who would Jobs back?
Jobs declined to be interviewed for this article. But some executives who know him well insist that Iger has nothing to fear. "People are misreading Steve Jobs," says Edgar S. Woolard Jr., the former chairman of Apple and former chairman and CEO of chemical giant DuPont (DD ). "If he has a good relationship with you, there is nobody better in the world to work with. Iger made a very wise move, and two years from now everyone will be saying that."
Jobs certainly has much to offer. The past few years have been a thorough vindication of his ideas and leadership. Just a decade ago he was considered a temperamental micromanager whose insistence on total control and stylish innovation had doomed his company to irrelevance. While Apple tried to develop both the hardware and software for its computers, Microsoft (MSFT ), Intel (INTC ), and a flock of PC makers slashed the onetime industry leader to bits by separating the two. Asked in late 1997 what Jobs should do as head of Apple, Dell Inc.'s (DELL ) then-CEO Michael S. Dell said at an investor conference: "I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders."
Fighting words that Dell may regret today. Apple shares have soared from $7 a share three years ago to $74, and the company's market cap of $62 billion is just shy of Dell's. Why? Jobs has applied his old strategy to the new digital world. With absolute control, breakout innovation, and stellar marketing, he has created products that consumers lust after. The smooth melding of Apple's iPod with the iTunes software has helped make it an icon of the Digital Age. Rivals from Microsoft to Dell to Sony Corp. (SNE ) have been left in the dust. "He has set the basic model for any digital business from now on," says Toshiba Corp. CEO Atsutoshi Nishida. Microsoft is even considering making its own digital music player, since providing its software to Dell and other hardware developers has failed to slow Apple.
Jobs' success at Pixar is no less remarkable. He bought the business from director George Lucas 20 years ago for $10 million. Catmull and Lasseter believed they could use computer animation to create full-length movies, even though many in Hollywood and at Disney thought computers could never deliver the nuance and emotion of hand-drawn animation. Jobs bought into the vision. The result: Pixar has knocked out six blockbusters, from Toy Story in 1995 to Finding Nemo and The Incredibles in recent years. "The great thing about Steve is that he knows that great business comes from great product," says Peter Schneider, the former chairman of Disney's studio. "First you have to get the product right, whether it's the iPod or an animated movie."
Of course the trick isn't in wanting to make great products. It's being able to do it. So what is Jobs' secret? There are many, but it starts with focus and a near-religious faith in his strategy. For years, Jobs plugged away at Apple with his more proprietary approach, not worrying much about Wall Street's complaints. In fact, one of his first moves was to take an ax to Apple's product line, lopping off dozens of products to focus on just four. "Our jaws dropped when we heard that one," recalls former Apple chairman Woolard. Time and again since, Apple has eschewed calls to boost market share by making lower-end products or expanding into adjacent markets where the company wouldn't be the leader. "I'm as proud of what we don't do as I am of what we do," Jobs often says.
It's all based on a fundamental belief that a killer product will bring killer profits. That's certainly the case at Pixar. While analysts have often urged the company to crank up its movie machine and pump out more releases, the company is only now reaching the point that it can make one a year. And at least until the Disney deal was struck, the plan was to stay there for good. The reason: Pixar's executives focus on making sure there are no "B teams," that every movie gets the best efforts of Pixar's brainy staff of animators, storytellers, and technologists.
Indeed, Jobs says with pride that Pixar has made the tough call to stop production at some point on every one of its movies to fix a problem with a storyline or character. "Quality is more important than quantity, and in the end, it's a better financial decision anyway," Jobs told BusinessWeek last year. "One home run is much better than two doubles," he said, explaining that then there's only one marketing and production budget rather than two.
The fixation on quality over quantity refers to personnel as much as production. Ever since the days when he marveled at Stephen G. Wozniak's engineering skill while building the first Apple computer, Jobs believed that a small team of top talent can run circles around far larger but less talented groups. He spends a lot of energy working the phones, trying to recruit people he has heard are the best at a certain job.
This is one reason that Jobs, while a micromanager at Apple, plays a very different role at Pixar. He handles many of the business duties. But he's very hands-off on the creative side. Sources say he typically spends less than a day a week at the company's picturesque campus in Emeryville, across the San Francisco Bay from Apple's Cupertino headquarters. "Steve doesn't tell us what to do," says one Pixar employee. "Steve's our benevolent benefactor."
Jobs may be a multibillionaire, but that hasn't cut into his work ethic. He brings an entrepreneur's energy to tasks many CEOs would see as beneath them, whether it's personally checking the fine print on partnership agreements or calling reporters late in the evening to talk over a story he thinks is important. And Jobs seems perfectly willing to forgo some aspects of the executive life to focus on his own priorities. For example, unlike most CEOs he rarely participates in Wall Street analyst conferences.
His famous keynote speeches are maybe the best example of his intensity. In trademark jeans and mock-turtleneck, Jobs unveils Apple's latest products as if he were a particularly hip and plugged-in friend showing off inventions in your living room. Truth is, the sense of informality comes only after grueling hours of practice. One retail executive recalls going to a Macworld rehearsal at Jobs' behest, then waiting four hours before Jobs came off the stage to acknowledge his presence. Rude, perhaps, but the keynotes are a competitive weapon. Marissa Mayer, a Google Inc. (GOOG ) executive who plays a central role in launching the search giant's innovations, insists that up-and-coming product marketers attend Jobs' keynotes. "Steve Jobs is the best at launching new products," she says. "They have to see how he does it."
Of course, that entrepreneurial zeal is there for a reason: He's one of a shrinking collection of tech chieftains who are actually entrepreneurs. "I was very lucky to have grown up with this industry," Jobs told BusinessWeek in 2004. "I did everything coming up -- shipping, sales, supply chain, sweeping the floors, buying chips, you name it. I put computers together with my own two hands. As the industry grew up, I kept on doing it."
The same can be said of his role as a movie mogul. Following Pixar's hit with Toy Story in 1995, Jobs and then-chief financial officer Lawrence B. Levy gave themselves a crash course in movie business economics. That helped Jobs persuade Disney to agree to a far more lucrative distribution deal than Pixar had had in the past. Former Disney executive Schneider, who negotiated that deal with Jobs, says he applies equal parts industry knowledge, intensity, and sheer charisma. Jobs prefers to negotiate one-on-one, and let lawyers tie up the details after the handshake is done. "He says 'Fine, we have a deal,' and you're saying, 'Wait, wait, I need to check with Michael [Eisner],' and he's saying, 'No, it's done."'
That's not to say Jobs is an easy partner. Unlike every other electronics maker, Apple refuses to let even the biggest retailers know what new products are coming until Jobs unveils them. That means the retailers can't get a jump on arranging ad campaigns or switching out inventory. But Jobs would rather have the surge of publicity that comes with his dramatic product intros. Indeed, Motorola executives were furious when Apple surprised them by announcing the iPod nano last October, stealing the thunder from the iTunes phone that Apple and Moto had developed together.
In the final analysis, Jobs' true secret weapon is his ability to meld technical vision with a gut feel for what regular consumers want and then market it in ways that make consumers want to be part of tech's cool club. Says a leading tech CEO who requested anonymity: "God usually makes us either left brain people or right brain people. Steve seems to have both sides, so he can make extraordinary experiences."
In the wake of the Disney-Pixar deal, the question is how Jobs can apply his unique skills to the media industry. From record labels to music studios, many execs are only reluctantly experimenting with technological change. Besides being concerned that piracy protections aren't strong enough, they're petrified of losing control since it's unclear how they'll make money in the new world. And Jobs is a polarizing figure. While the major music labels were excited by the possibilities opened up by Apple's iPod, they're now leery that Jobs has pulled a fast one. Apple reaps billions from selling its hit music player, but there are sparse profits from the songs being sold over the Net.
The Disney deal may help give Jobs some additional credibility in the media world. While he had a major stake in Pixar in the past, he now sits on the board of one of the biggest media companies in the country. That means he has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the company's assets, from Desperate Housewives to Mickey Mouse.
Iger's assets and Jobs' vision could prove a potent combination. They've already shown how they can experiment in new areas and then create enough consumer excitement that others are compelled to follow. After Iger agreed to put ABC's shows on iTunes for downloading to video iPods, the other major networks followed suit. The same day as the Disney-Pixar agreement, iTunes began offering short films from the early days of Mickey and Goofy. How long before protective movie studio chiefs are digging through back catalogs in hopes of bringing in extra revenues?
It's one more way in which iTunes is evolving into something much more powerful than a simple music store. Besides songs, TV shows, and short films, it offers music videos and podcasts from National Public Radio and independents like Brian Ibbott, creator of the cover song show Coverville. In December alone, 20 million people visited the site, triple the number the year before.
What could the future according to Jobs look like? For starters, no radical changes will occur overnight. Given Apple's powerful branding, it's easy to forget that Jobs hasn't typically been the first to pioneer new areas. Many MP3 players existed before the iPod, and Microsoft has been slogging away for years on PCs fit for entertainment in the living room. Apple has taken the first steps in this direction by adding the ability to control a Mac from the couch via the Apple Remote and FrontRow software.
Speculation is rife that Jobs will move Apple fully into the living room, and there's little reason he wouldn't. The most likely scenario is that Apple would build a version of its Mac mini that could be attached to a TV and entertainment center so the mini could store family photographs and home videos along with music and videos downloaded from iTunes. Taken to the extreme, the living room of 2010 may no longer need to have a CD-rack, DVD player, TiVo, set-top box, or stereo. All those capabilities could be built into a single box, an Apple TV, or an Apple-branded home entertainment center.
IGER, THE PEACEMAKER
Then there's the wireless-phone realm. Apple purchased the domain name iPhone.org years ago and in December trademarked the name Mobile Me. That may suggest it will introduce a mobile phone or personal digital assistant to download songs over the air or sync up with a Mac or PC.
The Disney-Pixar deal could open up all sorts of strategic options for Disney and Iger if they can capitalize on Jobs' skills. For example, Disney could decide to push hard toward distributing more of its content directly over the Internet rather than relying on cable companies or movie theaters. Iger has been the most vocal voice in Hollywood on this score of late, even suggesting that new Disney movies should be released on the Internet the same day they hit the cinemas.
Since taking over from Eisner, Iger has shown himself willing to move quickly and take bold steps to remake the bureaucratic company he inherited. Among Iger's first decisions was dismantling the corporate strategic planning operation Eisner often used to scuttle risky new plans. Iger patched things up with dissident former board members Roy E. Disney and Stanley P. Gold, who incited a shareholder revolt that kept large investors away. And while Eisner warred with Jobs, Iger worked hard to improve Disney's relationship. A key part of the reason for the Disney-Pixar deal, says Jobs, was "we got to know Bob."
Still, Jobs will be joining a Disney in short supply of its old pixie dust. As a board member, Jobs may argue for fast-tracking some of the digital distribution experiments Eisner discarded. Yet that could clash with Iger's ideas about how or how quickly Disney should proceed. A board showdown could prove difficult. Not only is Iger a new CEO, but he also was the second choice among at least some of Disney's 13 board members. (Some favored Meg Whitman, eBay Inc.'s (EBAY ) CEO and a former Disney executive.)
Iger's worst nightmare may be that Jobs could sway so many Disney board members that he would win a wide-open race to become Disney chairman. Last year, with the board reportedly split between directors Gary L. Wilson and Robert W. Matschullat, former Senator George J. Mitchell was named interim chairman. He will remain as chairman until he retires at the end of 2006.
Jobs has said he doesn't want the Disney top board job. Plus, that would complicate the potential conflicts of interest with Apple, as Disney makes more high-tech deals to distribute its content. Still, the mercurial new Disney board member could make a play to become chairman, say those with knowledge of Disney's board. "The problem then is that Bob would have a larger-than-life chairman to deal with only a year after a larger-than-life CEO was running his life," says one source close to Disney. "I can't imagine he's thrilled over that." Steve Jobs' arrival at the Magic Kingdom could have more thrills than a trip to Disneyland.
Commentary: The Last Pitchman
Despite leaks and glitches, Steve Jobs proves once more that when it comes to channeling desire, no one else comes close
By Devin Leonard
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E-mailPrint Comment linkedin connections America has three indigenous art forms: jazz, baseball, and outrageously effective marketing stunts. The self-proclaimed father of public relations, Edward Bernays, was Austrian by birth (he was Sigmund Freud's nephew), but his genius blossomed in New York City in 1929 when he made smoking fashionable for women by marching models down Fifth Avenue waving their "torches of liberty."
America's reigning monarch of marketing is of course Steve Jobs, the Apple (AAPL) chief executive officer who has lately been taking a page from Bernays by describing the iPad as a weapon of freedom - "freedom from programs that steal your private data," as he wrote in a May e-mail exchange with a tech writer. "Freedom from programs that trash your battery. Freedom from porn."
Jobs may be the last true descendant of Bernays, the last great pitchman capable of making vasts swaths of the fractured American public take notice of his latest wares all at the same time. He is famous for his obsessions, such as keeping new products under wraps until he can roll them out at glitzy, tightly scripted, massively observed events. In April, however, a junior Apple engineer left a prototype of the then-unreleased iPhone 4 in a Redwood City (Calif.) bar. Gizmodo, a popular tech blog, got its hands on the device and broke the news about its impressive new features its uncanny thinness, its high-res display, its forward-facing camera designed to let users video chat with their friends. Nothing was left for Jobs to reveal.
So how is it that when he unveiled the phone on June 7 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, the event still had the aura of magic? Jobs tossed off the perfect quip about the Gizmodo incident - "Stop me if you've seen this before" - then demonstrated what he called "the most precise, beautiful thing we've ever designed." Wi-Fi went down during his presentation and it didn't matter. Like all great salesmen, Jobs knows that controlling the product is a lot less important than controlling our desire.
Jobs didn't create the modern product launch. Hollywood, which is in the business of building and marketing an endless stream of new products, discovered long ago that audiences may be fickle, but their appetites can be stoked. (Even Russell Crowe is easier to control than word of mouth.) So movie studios orchestrate dramatic buildups trailers, posters, puffball TV, Web teasers' that crescendo at glittering premieres where the stars come out, creating additional entertainment value. For hardcore movie fans, what happens before the movie hits theaters can be as enthralling as the film itself.
The car industry understands the rollout as well. It introduces new products at trade shows that have morphed over the years from dealer gatherings to highly produced events targeted at consumers. Car buffs show up with their friends and spend the day ogling the new chrome and the shapely spokes models. "It's like a day at a theme park," says Eric Hirshberg, chief creative officer of ad agency Deutsch's Los Angeles office.
Jobs brought the Hollywood-style rollout to the tech industry in 1984 when he set out to make the launch of the first Mac a pop cultural milestone not unlike the first Star Wars movie, which he studied closely. He commissioned the most famous Super Bowl commercial in history, the futuristic "1984" spot directed by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) in which a freedom-loving woman hurled a hammer through a giant computer screen from which a totalitarian figure was lecturing a room full of worker drones. The hammer of liberty was a not-so-subtle metaphor for Apple's struggle against IBM (IBM).
Jobs personally demonstrated that first Mac in an auditorium full of cheering fans. In his double-breasted blue blazer and green bow tie (since replaced by a black mock turtleneck), he looked like a character from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. "He wanted to stop the world in its tracks," says Steve Hayden, now vice-chairman of Ogilvy & Mather, who worked on the first Mac campaign.
Shortly thereafter Jobs was fired, and the company floundered for 12 years, losing its mystique as well as its profits. He returned in 1997 and the rollouts - iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPadâ?"have become self-propagating events in which the media ritualistically attempts to ferret out advance details, and Apple keeps the rabbit in the hat. What made the iPhone 4 launch worth watching was its departure from the usual script. Gizmodo created a global stir on Apr. 19 when it posted a picture of the new phone. "We got it," the blog boasted. "We disassembled it. It's the real thing, and here are all the details."
It's a sign of Jobs' mystique that some people wondered whether the iPhone-on-a-barstool snafu might be a piece of diabolically clever guerrilla marketing designed to stir prelaunch buzz. The hapless engineer who left the prototype in the bar "created a ton of chatter out there," says Dean Crutchfield, senior partner at Method, an agency that advises companies about the care and feeding of their brands. "Whether it was intentional or not, my God did it work! He should get a bonus. It also shows that Apple has a drink once in a while." In other words, even when Jobs fumbles a rollout, he still comes out looking smart.
There was something endearing about seeing Jobs struggle with technical difficulties on June 7. It turns out that even the CEO of Apple can't get his phone to work sometimes. We all know how that feels, especially those of us in bandwidth-challenged metropolises who must rely on AT&T's (T) spotty cellular service. Jobs also got a laugh when he insisted that journalists and bloggers turn off their laptops and stop hogging bandwidth. The media complied, as it so often does when Jobs commands.
Jobs makes all of this look easy. Of course, it's not. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) chose the same day to present its new smartphone-compatible printers. These are products many of us will soon be using, but the HP event was drowned out by Apple's. HP says its rollout was locked in before Apple's was announced. HP CEO Mark Hurd can't help it if Jobs makes the weather.
With the media landscape so fragmented, stopping the world in its tracks isn't easy anymore. "We sometimes think that in a connected, interactive world, salesmanship is no longer effective," adds Kelly O'Keefe, executive director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter, an advertising studies program. "But it's not true. We are still attracted to it. We are looking for it. We need something to believe in. People believe in Apple. They believe in Jobs."
He's the last great pitchman. Until the next great pitchman comes along
HARVARD PROFESSOR NANCY F. KOEHN SHOWS US HOW STEVE JOBS STACKS UP WITH OTHER GREAT ENTREPRENEURS IN HISTORY.
FIRST AND FOREMOST, Steve Jobs is an entrepreneur. And that is how history will long remember him. Not primarily as a fiduciary or an institution builder or an administrator (though he has worn all those hats), but rather as an individual who relentlessly pursued new opportunities. From the first Apple computers to the breakthrough innovations of the past eight years-the iPod, iTunes, the iPhone, and his Apple stores-he has chased new possibilities without being deterred by whatever obstacles he encountered. Over and over again he has turned his eye and his energy-and at times, it has seemed, his entire being-to what might be gained by creating a new offering or taking an unorthodox strategic path.
That puts him in the company of other great entrepreneurs of the past two centuries, men and women such as Josiah Wedgwood, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Este Lauder. Each of these people-and especially Steve Jobs-has been defined by the intense drive, unflagging curiosity, and keen commercial imagination that have allowed them to see products and industries and possibilities that might be. Each of these individuals has also been extremely hardworking, demanding of themselves and others. All have been compelled more by the significance of their own vision than by their doubts.
Jobs came of age in a moment of far-reaching economic, social, and technological change that we now call the Information Revolution. (Not so long ago-in the early 1990s-we used the term Computer Revolution, a shift in language that speaks to the breadth of change involved.) Wedgwood, the 18th-century British chinamaker who created the first real consumer brand, grew up in the Industrial Revolution, another period of profound change. And Rockefeller laid the foundations of the modern oil industry in the 1870s and 1880s, when the railroad and the coming of mass production were transforming the U.S. from an agrarian into an industrial society.
Like Wedgwood and Rockefeller, Jobs has had a sense-analytic and intuitive-that in a time of great transformation, a lot is up for grabs. Imbued with a perception of his own importance on a stage where everything from telephony to music distribution to consumers' relationships with technology is being disrupted, Jobs felt there was simply no time to lose. This understanding has fueled the rapid-fire pace of his actions and his obsession with "what's next?" in products (although he would never rush to market a product he thought imperfect). It may have also fed his often harsh, dictatorial, and somehow still-inspiring management style.
People who work with Jobs talk about his maniacal attention to the smallest design detail. For Jobs, working in a world of engineers who are focused on the power of technology, this paradigm has never been enough. Yes, his products must be functional and fast. But they must also be beautiful. One of Steve Jobs' two heroes reflects that commitment to both aesthetics and functional integrity. According to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, a longtime friend, Jobs greatly admires Gustave Eiffel, the designer of the famous Parisian tower and the Statue of Liberty. "Eiffel is an interesting character," Ellison explained, "because he was a terrific engineer and had a wonderful artistic sense."
When Jobs decided to open the now remarkably successful Apple retail stores in 2001, the money and time that he and his team put into their design-which involved building a prototype of a store in a warehouse-were intended to create an experience that went deeper than retail. And overhauling the initial store layout, not to mention going through three types of lighting just to make sure iMacs would shine as brilliantly in the stores as they did in glossy print ads, has paid off handsomely. Apple stores reached $1 billion in sales faster than any retail business in history. Customers in the stores have no idea of the resources that Jobs invested in what was initially seen as a very risky venture for the company. And from Jobs' perspective, they do not need to know. As he once explained to Fortune, "They just feel it. They feel something's a little different."
Not surprisingly, Jobs has been widely labeled as one of the most hands-on CEOs in America. Biographers have said similar things about Andrew Carnegie, who was obsessed with the minute aspects of driving down costs in the young steel industry in the 1890s, and about Henry Ford, who, 20 years later, was fixated on all aspects of bringing a Model T to every American household.
Ford, as did Jobs, put great faith in his judgment about where consumer desire was headed. "If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse," the car maker allegedly commented. For virtually his entire career, Jobs has taken that comment to heart, serving as a kind of one-man band of market research and product development. In an interview with Fortune, Jobs once described how he had turned new technologies into products: "There's a certain amount of homework involved, true, but mostly it's just picking up on things you can see on the periphery. Sometimes when you're almost asleep, you realize something you wouldn't otherwise have noted. I subscribe to a half-dozen Internet news services, and I get about 300 e-mails a day, many from people I don't know, hawking crazy ideas. And I've always paid close attention to the whispers around me." The MacBook Air and the iPod, like the Macintosh in the early 1980s, owe much more to the "whispers" Jobs has heard, his imagination, and his precise product standards than they do to any organized focus group.
Este Lauder, the ambitious, emphatic entrepreneur who created a huge new market for fine skin care, cosmetics, and fragrances in the postwar period, had the same sixth sense about the consumer. She admired and sometimes emulated Old World European nobility, especially their classic taste and grace in everyday living. And she brought this inspiration to the making, packaging, and marketing of her products. For Lauder, makeup was much more than a combination of chemicals that women used to improve their appearance. Cosmetics were a vehicle for self-expression and customer empowerment. They were also a source of daily joy and positive energy.
Like Lauder, Jobs is primarily concerned with products that enhance our everyday life, a belief that takes shape in Apple's "digital hub" strategy. According to Jobs, we are now in the midst of the third age of computing, the age of a "digital lifestyle" (the first era was the age of productivity, spanning 1980 to 1994, and the second was the age of the Internet, which lasted from 1994 to 2000). In this stage of evolution, personal computers like the iMac and MacBook connect and enhance a wide range of products, from digital cameras to smartphones to MP3 players, all of which are reconfiguring how we interact with TV, film, and music as well as each other. In this context, Jobs sees the products that Apple has developed-such as the iPod, iTunes, and the iPhone-as offerings that help us each be better than we would be without them. Many years ago Jobs called the computer a "bicycle for the mind," a remarkable tool that greatly increases man's efficiency of locomotion, broadly conceived. Even now, as Apple releases products that expand our traditional notion of the computer, he continues to give us devices that complement and enhance our everyday life.
It is hard to imagine that his influence would have run so deep in our society if he hadn't been able to consistently communicate his vision of a richer digital life to employees, customers, Wall Street, and others. And he has done this charismatically. Jobs has a kind of aura or mystery around him that has made him a celebrity. (In a recent Junior Achievement poll, American teenagers voted Jobs the person they most admire-ahead of Oprah Winfrey and the Olsen twins.) When the Apple founder, who is always meticulously rehearsed, walks onstage for a keynote event, the audience responds as if he were a rock star or a religious prophet. People scream. Employees, customers, analysts, and rivals hang on his every word. Industry experts run to their computers furiously to enter their latest blog entry on the future of high tech. When he introduced the iPhone in early 2007, Jobs hailed it as a "revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone." In design and capabilities, it was "like having your life in your pocket. It's the ultimate digital device." And it's ultimate marketing.
The more we learn about this brilliant, dogged, at times merciless, and yet supple entrepreneur, the more we realize that he believes he is out to change the world. And that's what seems to motivate him. He shows almost no need to display his financial worth and power. (Jobs does have a Gulfstream V, but there are few other trappings of great wealth around him or his family.) No, the revolution of which Jobs is so much a part is unfolding by virtue of the products he makes and how consumers use them. It is a mostly peaceful revolution that will, in Steve Jobs' eyes, liberate men and women around the world.
More than 15 years ago, before most of us e-mailed regularly or had added the word "playlist" to our vocabulary, Jobs sketched out his vision of the Information Revolution's impact to Rolling Stone: "Putting the Internet into people's houses is going to be really what the information superhighway is all about, not digital convergence in the set-top box." And this development, in tandem with vast increases in computing power, meant for Jobs that the world is "clearly a better place. Individuals can now do things that only large groups of people with lots of money could do before. What that means is, we have much more opportunity for people to get to the marketplace-not just the marketplace of commerce but the marketplace of ideas. The marketplace of publications, the marketplace of public policy. You name it."
If Jobs is right about the ways in which the Information Revolution both empowers individuals and democratizes existing power structures-and the jury is still out on this-his historical legacy may indeed be greater than his impact on business. It may just bear some resemblance to Jobs' other hero, Mohandas Gandhi, who staged another kind of peaceful and far-reaching revolution some 70 years ago and who saw opportunity where others saw only obstacles.
Jobs' ability to change technology, music, and entertainment has earned him great authority. Ironically, Jobs has chosen not to exercise it outside the boundaries of his industry. Unlike Rockefeller and Carnegie, each of whom created powerful foundations with big agendas for social change, Jobs has shown little interest in philanthropy. And he rarely speaks out on political or environmental issues. For a man as passionate as Jobs, one who loves Bob Dylan and the countercultural zeitgeist that he has come to represent, this seems strange. Out of keeping with the enormous ego for which Jobs is famous (and infamous). But maybe that's next.
Please first read in-depth the Background Materials.
Identify key concepts (leadership functions and leadership styles), make a list of them, and study them.
Read the case in Business Week in-depth.
Do additional research on your own, such as the company website or other recent articles about Steve Job.
Identify facts in the case that match concepts of leadership (functions and styles) and integrate them.
The main functions of leadership are establishing a vision, communicating the vision, motivating, an being a change agent: Steve Jobs is well-known for mastering all these functions of management!
Some of the current leadership theories are charismatic, visionary, transformational versus transactional. Please read the presentation on styles of leadership. Steve Jobs is a great visionary, a transformational leader, and a charismatic leader!
Apply these concepts to facts in the case in order to develop your arguments, in other words analyze how Jobs fulfills his functions using the article facts and research facts; based on his accomplishments, what styles do characterize his leadership!
Please make sure to have an Introduction, 2 Main Sections 1) Functions; 2) Leadership Styles. Each section should have subsections. Finih with the conclusions.
Steve Jobs Leadership Style
Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer, is considered to be the best leader of the decade by Fortune Magazine. Since that is true, just what makes him the best? This paper will explore leadership style of Steve Jobs and analyze how he fulfills the functions of leadership.
Functions of Leadership
Mastering the functions of leadership is all part of being the best leader. Steve Jobs has done just that in the following functions of leadership:
Steve Jobs knew that computers would be the "thing" of the future. From the time he was little, he knew there was something bigger out there. It took meeting Steve Wozniak to know the direction it needed to take. Establishing visions and having others believe in those visions is how he has become who he is and where he is.
Communicating the Vision
Steve Jobs has no problem communicating to the world what the visions are and how his products will change the way we all do things we do now. At the June 6, 2011 Worldwide Developers Conference - Apple Special Events in San Francisco, California, Steve Jobs again showed his ability to communicate to the many (5,200 attendees) about the future. Those 5,200 people filled the capacity of where it was held. Steve Jobs apologized for the inability to find a larger place - again, relating to the consumers. The fact that Steve Jobs has a successful team of workers "who get the dream" shows that he can communicate the vision, and you know it ...
The solution discusses why newsweek named Steve Jobs as the best of the 10 best leaders of 2005.