Creating a Legacy

6 10 2011

By now practically everyone is aware of the passing of Steve Jobs.  During the 56 years of his life, he changed the way we lived and worked.  Apple has been credited for creating the first personal computer.  The Macintosh with its all-in-one design and graphical interface changed the way we interacted with technology.  Later the iMac, Macbook, iPod, iPhone, and iPad came along.  These products were well designed, and almost intuitive to our needs.  Even if you aren’t a big fan of Apple, most other operating systems and interfaces mimicked those of Job’s company.

Mr. Jobs also changed the way we used entertainment.  Pixar changed how we saw animation and iTunes changed how we purchased music.  His passing only leaves us wondering what more could he have accomplished had he lived another 20 years.  The legacy he has created will influence us for generations.

This leads me to ask what legacy are you creating?  While many of us may never achieve the admiration that Jobs has, we all still have the potential for greatness in our world.  We are here for a very short time and each person we come into contact with we have the power to influence in a positive way.  When we understand our purpose and give it some direction, we can in our own way create a legacy to last the ages.

Do your little part to change the world.  Be active in your community.  Give your time and your resources to worthwhile causes you believe in.  Actively work to solve life’s challenges.  Be a good steward.  Most important, work to be your best at everything you do.  Making a difference involves showing up.  So whether you are trying to become the next Jobs, or are just trying to make life better for one other person, you have the ability to leave your own legacy.

When will you start?

What is Your Risk Factor?

31 08 2011

Business innovation, growth, profitability, and long-term success. These are traits virtually every business aspires towards. Yet how many companies do all these things? Do they all matter? What about stability, safety and being cautious in order to protect the business?

Many companies are risk averse but does that really equate to stability? If you were to speak to many leaders today they might say no. A bad economy will quickly expose what can be a company’s greatest weakness. Their unwillingness to change.

As much as we would like things to be the same, they never are and as much as we would like to avoid risk, we never can. In a recent New York Times article ( Steve Lohr highlights the benefits of risk taking using the example of Apple and Steve Jobs. Because of Mr. Jobs willingness to take risks, Apple, Pixar and Next all benefited from his leadership. Apple has been the big winner. Under Job’s tenure, Apple has experienced an innovation premium with stock price. This premium is an investor’s bet that the future of the company will be even better than today because of innovation.

When done correctly, risk is actually the least risky venture of all. In order for innovation to take place, diversity in experiences, creativity and a willingness to experiment with new ways of doing things is necessary. However the greatest skills for growth are often the least developed. What are you willing to do to develop these skills in your company?

Apple Without Jobs: The Test of Leadership and Culture

25 08 2011

Talk was flying across social media yesterday as Steve Jobs announced his resignation as CEO.  Tim Cook, Apples Chief Operating Officer will step in as CEO effective immediately.  While the move was swift and surprised a number of people, it was also to be expected.  Jobs health has been in question for some time.  Now the question is will the post Jobs Apple be as good or better?

When I wrote Apples to Apples, I shared views about how Apple’s culture was able to create a huge fan base.  One thing I always wondered is if Apple possessed the five Golden Apple Traits I wrote about in the book, and would Apple be sustainable if Jobs was no longer chief.  Those questions will soon be answered.  For now, the speculation will continue.

While I believe Apple had many of the traits I wrote about in the book, I question leadership and its ability to continue Jobs vision over the long haul.  It was no secret that Jobs was a hands on leader actively involved in virtually every decision of the company.  How does this bode for Tim Cook?  Based on the recommendation he received, I hope Jobs played the part of coach and mentor to help Cook carry the legacy forward.  For now, Apple will continue to do what it does best and over the next few weeks, the rest of us will continue to speculate on what the future will bring in a world where Jobs no longer runs Apple.

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