Since Steve Jobs' departure as CEO of Apple, the news (internet, print media and TV) is abuzz with views and opinions. The one article that got me thinking was from New York times by Joe Nocera (http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2011/08/27/opinion/nocera-what-makes-steve-jobs-great.html) It got me thinking about success of Leaders, success of Great companies.
Great business leaders have been more of consensus builders, people leaders that can get things done through and with people. They surround themselves with great talent and manage that talent with a unifying vision. It seems Steve Jobs is 'none of the above'. I think he did surround themselves with good people. Under ordinary circumstances, good people also tend to have high egos which means they should have left Apple, but they did not. The only reason was Steve has proven himself and his instincts and had created followers that were not just followers, but were in some respects leaders in their own right.
This model is not replicable in my view.
Dictators have the capacity to make things happen. Good or Bad. It is however extremely rare that a dictator thinks outside of himself. Cares more about the success of an 'organization' first, believes in the overall success of his vision rather than being extremely self-centered.
In conclusion, while we will continue to respect and adore Steve, I would stop at that and not look for a lesson for others to follow other than a few things:
1. Respect Design not just function. 2. Respect Instincts. 3. Don't always trust what markets, people and focus groups tell you.