Undoubtedly, you’re aware that Steve Jobs is no longer the CEO of Apple Computer.
Within minutes of the announcement yesterday, every social media and news outlet lit up: This was a bigger shock than, say, an earthquake on the east coast.
“Steve” (we fanboys are on a first-name basis with him) is leaving Apple?
Remember how bad that turned out last time?
Will Tim Cook be able to deliver?
Those questions swirled as AAPL’s stock took a 5% dive.
But more than the questions about Apple’s future as a company, people were celebrating Mr. Jobs’ creativity, his humility and his leadership. All around the internet, you’ll find stories celebrating his love for the company, his love for his employees, his love for the craft—the art—of making computers.
One story that sticks out to me more than any is from a post on Marc Hedlund’s blog about a company meeting :
In 1999, I think right after the iMac came out in a range of colors, I happened to sit in on an internal meeting at Apple, one in a large theater filled with employees. Steve Jobs came out and the whole theater burst into applause, and the clapping went on for minutes, with people standing and cheering. The success of the iMac was just becoming evident – the first act of Steve’s big return, leading from there to what Apple is now.
Steve let the applause go on for a little bit, then, with much effort, settled down the crowd. When things got quiet, the first thing he said was: “That’s an awful lot of applause considering that you guys are the ones who do all the work.”
Everyone leapt to their feet and applauded again for several minutes more, this time with Steve egging them on, applauding each other as a team.
That moment has since defined what I think about as leadership.
Steve’s legacy isn’t merely a legacy of amazing products. That wouldn’t be much to write home about.
Steve’s legacy is one of creating culture and, ultimately, of leadership. And it will outlast him by many, many years.
Don’t let anybody fool you into thinking that your productivity, your work ethic, your talent, or your connections will build your success. Will your short-term success partially depend on those things? Yup. But your long-term success rises and falls on one thing, and one thing only: Your ability to lead, or not lead, people.
So, thank you, Steve.
p.s. For a good list of employee and fan stories about Steve, check out Daring Fireball.