Apple Logo With Steve Jobs' SillhouetteTim Cook and many of the executives at Apple were chastised by Steve before his inevitable departure to not ask “What would Steve do?” in managing the company in his absence.

In my mind this is excellent, but only half guidance. The “Company that Steves Built” can not try to second guess all of Jobs answers to ever situation; however, where and more properly how can the guidance of Jobs be used to maintain and bring the company forward? I think the devil is in the details.

I’ve been reading Jobs’ biography. On the one hand he was a marketing and sales Genius. He saw long range better than any 10 executives saw short to medium range. With the original Mac, he saw the laptop. With the laptop he saw the tablet. But Jobs could also be a tyrannical monster and would occassionally let ego get in the way of solution. Compromise was not an option in his world and more often than not he was correct.

Jobs was a complicated individual (understatement) who combined paranoia with existential love, a Shoalin Master’s respect for beauty with a pit bulls vicious quest to market only best in class products. These things drove his expertise, his eye for detail, and his cruel treatment of anyone he didn’t respect.

I think this drives inherent hole in the entire “What would ##### do” mentality. Each person has to drive towards excellence; but they can only do so in their own way for themselves. A friend once told me that Dogma is the Excrement of Spiritual Realisation.

I think the question that Apple should ask is not “What would Steve do?” It is pretty much obvious what Jobs would do in most situations. I think his motivations and life of experiences and learning got him there. So I think the effective question that would better server Apple and could then be rolled out to other great leaders reduces very simply.

Why would Steve do?

With “Why would ##### do” we find the path to excellence rather than trying to emulate previous excellence for the wrong purposes.

« »