Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, died Wednesday at the age of 56 after years-long battle with pancreatic cancer. As we are faced with the end of an era, it is time to reflect upon what we can learn from his leadership style.
1. Leadership qualities entail being able to manage one's human capital by example. Job’s capacity to imagine the potential of business, significantly affected the conduct and performance of the human capital in his organization. In short, handling the human capital becomes critical for the leadership in managing the strategy of an organization in the 21st century.
2. An important aspect that relates the leadership to strategic management of an organization is the intellectual capital. What did Steve Jobs essentially do in Apple? He managed its intellectual capital. How did he do that? For him managing the intellectual capital involved the capability to give proper direction to the knowledge assimilated in the organization in order to generate innovative ideas and develop them into final products.
3. For Steve Jobs the competency of leadership in strategic management involved another important element, which was his ability to understand the stakeholders. He made it abundantly clear that besides human capital, suppliers and customers were also stakeholders in an organization.
4. At the core of the relationship between strategic management and leadership was his capacity to introduce value-adding activities in an effective manner and uphold improved performance over a long period. With environmental dynamism becoming more complex, he was well aware that leadership has to act and react appropriately and swiftly alter strategies when necessary.
5. Jobs knew that as a leader he should be able to establish methods to manage circumstances involving complex strategic changes. His style is a proven example of the fact that the effectiveness of leadership in managing strategy depends on its readiness to create forthright and brave strategic choices.
6. One aspect that Jobs seriously focused upon was the strategic choices taken up by Apple, which were absolutely practical even if they may have been difficult to achieve.
7. Jobs was capable of comprehending and visualizing the impact of the strategic vision on the internal functions of the organization. He showed that the leadership should own this vision and motivate the human capital to fulfill the vision. By developing like-minded partners both internally and externally, the leadership should make possible the implementation of the strategic vision a reality.
From Jobs we learn the important lesson that leadership is a significant prerequisite for successful strategic management.