To set the record straight – “I am NOT an Apple hater!” In fact, I used an Apple (Macintosh) when I was in college (I had a Macintosh SE) and in seminary I used a Powerbook 520. I just prefer a PC now.
I give all these disclaimers because there are some Apple enthusiasts who might take this blog post in the wrong way. I just want to make sure that people know that I am not writing this to take a jab on Apple, but rather trying to teach a leadership principle.
Recently, in an online Time Magazine article, it talked about the reasons why Steve Jobs might be skipping out of the annual MacWorld Conference & Expo and Phil Schiller, their top marketing guy is going instead.
Josh Quittner, in the article said, “The announcement itself was about as shocking as hearing that Barack Obama would be skipping the Inauguration and sending Joe Biden in his stead.”
There are rumors that Steve Jobs is too ill to attend the conference (he has been battling pancreatic cancer).
There was a statement made in the article that caught my attention (the reason why I am writing this article). Quittner said, “It’s difficult to find a company of Apple’s caliber whose fortunes are so closely tied to the health of its CEO. Apple is Jobs and Jobs is Apple.
Is it healthy for a company to be so dependent on one person? What happens when that person passes away?
This got me thinking about church and leadership.
Are there churches that are operating the same way as Apple?
I am a strong believer that God chooses a person to lead various things (i.e. Moses, David, Paul, etc.); therefore it is not necessarily the issue of having just one leader lead an organization. But the bigger issue is about teamwork, training and transition (3 T’s).
A good leader knows that things are bigger than their little world; hence they work together in a team to accomplish more. Even though the leader knows that they are leading the team, s/he helps people to be interdependent rather than dependent.
A good leader also knows that training is a vital part of the success of an organization. When there is only one person who knows how to do something, then that organization is in trouble. Either the organization will just keep that person on board because s/he has become “indispensable” or if that person leaves (or dies) then the organization will be in chaos. Great organizations are always trying to raise up and train people from within the organization. In this way, no one person can disrupt the flow.
A good leader understands the importance of transitions. No one can do what they do forever. There will come a time, whether due to old age or a different calling, when a leader will have to move on from their post. Therefore, good leaders expect and plan ahead for these transitions.
I am just curious to see how Apple will do in the future. Steve Jobs cannot run Apple forever. Hopefully, they are currently in the process of building up the team, giving some good training for the next CEO-to-be, and getting ready for the transition.
Churches and leaders have a lot to learn from this situation.
You can read the Time article here.