Who’s your number 2, Steve Jobs?


I love a gadget.  Ipod, Ipad, Iphone, Itunes, AppleTV, Mac, Macbook, they all feature somewhere , in someway, in my life.  I love what they do and I love how they do it.  Clearly so do many others.

Just look at yesterdays Q4 results.  3.89 million Macs, 14.1 million iPhones, 9.05 million iPods, and 4.19 million iPads sold in one quarter.  They are killing the competition, selling 2 million more iPhones last quarter than RIM sold BlackBerry devices.

The numbers are compelling.  In one quarter, $20.34 billion in revenue and $4.31 billion in profit.  The success juggernaut that is Apple enjoyed a share price one year ago around $190 a share.  Today Apple shares closed at $317.93 (an all time high) giving a market cap approaching $300BN.

What possibly can go wrong?

I can see only one problem coming over the hill for Apple and its a monster.  Who is your number two, Steve Jobs?

I am sure he has one.  I am sure in fact that he has several superstars that he has identified within Apple and indeed outside who he feels have the talent to fill his shoes.  I am sure he invests much of his time mentoring, teaching, engaging, developing his key players of the future.

He has history to learn from.  The last time Apple rid themselves of Jobs incredible talents, it was a disaster for the company.  I am sure he won’t allow that to happen again.  Will he?

Succession planning is crucial to long-term, sustainable success.  Jobs casts an imposing and vast shadow.  Whoever fills his shoes will be faced with a thankless task.  However, fill them he or she must if Apple is to continue to look after the best interests of its stakeholders.

It is the responsibility of leadership to ensure succession planning is an integral part of business strategy.  Long term, sustainable success requires a commitment to developing the leaders of tomorrow today.   Succession planning is essential at all levels within business.

Who is your number 2?

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Filed under Corporate Governance, Leadership

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