Steve Jobs: A Transformational Leader
Steve Job’s is a visionary inventor who is co-founded and CEO of Apple Inc., the most valuable company in Silicon Valley. Before claiming his title as CEO he first got ousted from his company in 1985 and invited back as interim CEO in 1997. In the following decade he survived two near death experiences, one securities-law scandal, and also conceptualized and ran his product line-up to become the dominant leader in four distinct industries – music, movies, mobile phones and computing. Jobs was fittingly named Fortune’s CEO of the Decade in 2009.
A decade ago, after witnessing the almost complete collapse of the music industry which I came to know intimately through my years of work with the biggest record labels in the world, I witnessed the pure genius of Apple’s Steve Jobs as he transformed the way in which we buy and sell music in the digital realm. Here was a man whose primary industry is computing but clearly possessed abilities far beyond those of the failing record labels to recognize the music industry’s value chain and the major shift occurring in its fundamental structure as a result of the emerging digital technologies. With his launch of the iTunes music software in 2001, the iPod music player, the subsequent online store in 2002 combined with tough negotiating with major labels he managed to deliver a clear message that engaged the commerce of music once again. In my most honest personal opinion, without question, Steve Job’s saved the music industry.
While the unsettled state of the music industry still prevails, Steve Job’s has made it possible for those remaining musical soldiers to envision new business opportunities that can combine the best elements of the old model with new digital channels and a new value chain that is highly independent and dialectical.
I truly admire Steve’s brilliance and ability to handle complex problems, like the music industry’s, by focusing on the heart of the challenge at hand. How does one transform a near bankrupt company to a globally dominant and influential power? This goal, at its core, is a complex and incredibly challenging prospect to consider even for a computer expert. However, Jobs eagerly met a similar challenge in 1997 when he returned to Apple after his dismissal in 1985. Steve systematically started over from the ground up by first hiring a new management team of executives he trusted and would form the centre of the company for more than a decade. He then restructured a new product line that would provide an elegantly cool and newly sophisticated alternative to the already familiar business focused Dell or IBM PC. The iMac, a breakthrough all-in-one computer with monitor attached marked the dawn of a new computing frontier and Apple’s return. Its high price along with drastic cost cut backs allowed Jobs to build enough cash to repair Apple’s balance sheet and prepare the company for bigger and bolder investments in the future. His approach of stabilizing Apple’s foundation and preparing it for an excitingly newer and more profitable future is one approach that he uses for any venture. Whether he is remaking the music industry, movie industry or smartphone industry he always tackles the problem of the matter at its core and rebuilds the business structure from the inside out. Even when Apple’s stock prices plummeted after missing its financial targets in 2000, it hardly mattered because Steve had already laid the vital ground work for Apple’s transformation. Jobs’ transformational leadership is the key to Apple’s long-term strategic growth and sustainability.
Steve Jobs leadership qualities come from a place of personal power. He is an expert in his original field of computing and referent in his celebrity status and admirable air. His rare approach to business is what makes him stand out from your average CEO. His attire is famously unconventional to the point that his wardrobe seems to...
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