Steve Jobs
Leadership Case Study

Steve Jobs Leadership Case Study is a part of Leadership Stories, a series of biographies of great leaders in history that have impacted the world in a huge way.

Steve Jobs Leadership
Who is He?

Steve Jobs is the Chairman and CEO of Apple Computers Inc. and arguably one of the world’s most successful businessmen today.

He founded Apple in the 1970s, got chased out by his own board of directors, but returned eventually as Apple’s CEO. Since then, he has revolutionized the IT industry with his creations like the MacBook, the iPod and the iPhone.

Since his return, he has brought Apple Computers Inc. from a fledging company to a global force to be reckoned with.

A Short History

Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco in Feburary 24, 1955. He was an adopted son of the Jobs couple from California.

Jobs attended Homestead High School in California and often went to the after school lectures by Hewlett-Packard Company. It was there that he met his eventual partner, Steve Wozniak.

Jobs would have his early beginnings working at Atari as a technician building circuit boards. In 1976, he would start the company Apple Inc. with Steve with funding from a millionaire investor.

In 1984, he developed the Macintosh, which was the first small computer with a graphic interface in its time. It had promise to revolutionize the whole PC industry.

However, bad business decision and internal stife with his CEO would eventually cause Jobs to leave his own company.

He went on to start two other companies; NeXT and Pixar. Pixar would be acquired by the Disney Company and NeXT would be acquired by his own Apple Computers Inc.

With the acquisition, he returned to Apple Computers Inc. in 1996 as interim CEO. From that time on, the rise of Apple Computers began again as the iMac would be developed.

The famous iPod and iPhone would later be developed and it would revolutionize the whole handphone and MP3 player industry. Under his leadership, Apple Computers Inc. became a force to be reckoned with.

In 2009, Jobs would have a personal net worth of $5.1 billion. However due to the need for a liver transplant, Jobs took a break from his work since January 2009.

On the October 5 2011, he died of respiratory arrest, related to his metastatic tumor he had developed.

Awards and Honours

1. Most Powerful Person in Business by Fortune Magazine in 2007
2. National Medal of Technology in 1985
3. Samuel S. Beard Award in 1987

Steve Jobs
Leadership Lessons

1.Persistence is the key
Steve Jobs was a very persistent person and it was most exemplified through his exit from Apple. He would not give up, but went on to start NeXT computers which would eventually be acquired by Apple Computers Inc.

If Jobs were like most people, he would have given up and spent the rest of his life being bitter about his loss. Instead, his success brought him back into the doors of Apple and eventually he led Apple to an unprecedented level of success.

As a leader, you have to be ready to face setbacks. Setbacks are a part of life and whether you become successful or not often depend on your ability not to give up. It is all the more important to display this attribute, especially if you want to build a never-say-die team.

2.Innovation brings leadership
Jobs saw the power of innovation in building his company. Till today, we can see the innovating power of Apple Computers Inc as it continues to take market leadership in the industry through the iPhone and iPad. 

If you want to maintain your leadership in the industry, you have to be the one who’s constantly up with new ideas, new initiatives, all in the spirit of moving your organizational mission forward. In whatever industry you’re in, your constant innovation in alignment with your mission will keep you ahead of the pack.

Related Books
on Steve Jobs Leadership

Best Quotes from
Steve Jobs Leadership

It took us three years to build the NeXT computer. If we'd given customers what they said they wanted, we'd have built a computer they'd have been happy with a year after we spoke to them - not something they'd want now.

A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.

Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.

You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new.

I want to put a ding in the universe.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

Pretty much, Apple and Dell are the only ones in this industry making money. They make it by being Wal-Mart. We make it by innovation.

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

The people who are doing the work are the moving force behind the Macintosh. My job is to create a space for them, to clear out the rest of the organization and keep it at bay.

To turn really interesting ideas and fledgling technologies into a company that can continue to innovate for years, it requires a lot of disciplines.

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.

I think we're having fun. I think our customers really like our products. And we're always trying to do better.

Video on
Steve Jobs Leadership

This was a speech by Steve Jobs during the 2005 Stanford Commencement.

Other Links

Wikipedia: A highly detailed account of Job's life
CNN.com: A CNN Report on Steve Jobs

Other Business Leaders

» Jamie Dimon
Jamie Dimon is the current CEO and chairman of JP Morgan Chase & Co, the second largest bank in the United States by assets.

» Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs is the Chairman and CEO of Apple Computers Inc. and arguably one of the world’s most successful businessmen today.

» Ray Kroc
Ray Kroc is the man behind the multimillion dollar fast food empire, MacDonald’s. In his life, he has built the fast food chain from a simple hamburger restaurant to a multi-billion dollar franchise that has reached almost every part of the world today.

» Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie was the father of modern steel and was one of America’s richest men. He started the Carnegie Steel Company, which later merged with Steel Company to become U.S. Steel.

» Walt Disney
Walt Disney is the famous founder of Mickey Mouse, the loveable cartoon character that has permeated almost every country and culture in the world. He is the co-founder of Walt Disney Productions and one of the most influential motion picture producers in the world.

» Henry Ford
Henry Ford is the founder of the Ford Motor Company and also the inventor of the modern day assembly line method of production for his Model T cars. He is also an inventor who has been credited with over 100 patents. During his time, he was one of the richest people in the world.

» Sam Walton
Sam Walton is the founder of Walmart, the international discounting retail giant. He is a model business leader who has changed the way big business is done.

» Donald Trump
Donald Trump is an American business magnate and television personality. He is the Chairman of the Trump Organization, a US-based real-estate developer. To date, Donald Trump has accumulated wealth of up to US$2.7 billion, primarily through his real estate investments.

» John D Rockefeller
John D Rockefeller is an American Oil Magnate and the first billionaire in the history of the world. In today’s dollars, Rockefeller is still considered the richest man in modern history. He was also one of the first few philanthropists in the world, giving back a huge portion of his wealth to the community.

» Warren Buffet
Warren Buffet is one of the world’s richest men, with assets totally up to US$50 billion in 2011. His main source of wealth comes from his company Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, United States. His philosophy of value investing and prudence and influenced many investors worldwide.

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