Saturday, October 15, 2011

Leading From The Stacks: Getting infront of the puck

This is the fifth post in the series Leading From The Stacks, an examination of leadership in the library industry. It was initiated by my course Leading From Any Position.

Go in peace, Mr. Jobs.


We recently lost a great man, a visionary and a global leader when Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, passed away on October 5th.

There has been much that has already been said about him. Examining how Apple is in many ways the model for the personal computer industry, how Jobs as a major player in revolutionizing cinematic animation and the music industry. Steve Job was a very public figure, and his passing is global news. As a library student writing a series of blog posts on leadership, it would be remiss to not say a few words on Steve Job as a leader.
 "I skate where the puck is going to be, not where it has been." - Wayne Gretzky

Steve Jobs said the the above Gretzky quotes has always been on of his favorites, and his success seems to support philosophy. When Jobs rejoined Apple in the late 90s, after decade long schism with the company he co-founded,  it was struggling. With a few short years the iMac and the iPod were released and the company was once again a global leader in the technology industry. Today, many companies seem to be constantly chasing Apple's tail coats, while Apple always seems to be right where the puck is going to be.

Much of this success is attributed to Jobs, who was a very hands-on CEO of the company. He was known for design excellence. As new products were developed, he was know for demanding simplicity and that all excess be cut out. Apple is also famous for creating experiences that exceeds their customers experiences. Jobs certainly offers a lot that anyone, but especially librarians, could learn from.

Jobs was not a perfect leader. He was known for demanding perfection, being an aggressive manager and even controlling. But he ways also heralded as today's Henry Ford. The world would be a different place with his influence, and his presence will be missed.

I have found his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address inspiring. I hope you do to: 

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