There's no shortage of opinion as to whether Apple has or hasn't 'lost the magic'. And while time will tell on that one, focusing on Apple ignores a deeper question we should be asking, one that's far more relevant to you as a small business owner or leader, whether you have 300 employees or none.
The relevant question is - how did it possibly come to this? How could the success, perhaps even the long term viability of the (now second) largest company in the world be cast into doubt by the absence of one person?
The answer is as simple as it is important. Steve Jobs, whether he was conscious of it or not, let Apple become a person dependent business - and that person was him. It's not an out to say he was a unique talent. He of course was, but in your world so are you, and from the right angle, you'll see that you have a lot more in common with him than you think.
Like Steve Jobs, you had a knack for something - a skill, a dream to share it with others, and a 'won't-take-no-for-an-answer' attitude.
Like Steve Jobs, you had to ignore all the people who thought you were nuts (and were eager to tell you or others all the reasons why you would fail).
Like Steve Jobs, you became a business leader by accident, and had no training on the difference between leading and managing.
Like Steve Jobs, you had to ignore all the people who thought you were nuts...
Like Steve Jobs, you believed in the business with a passion like nobody else, so you took on the leading role because you felt that’s what had to be done.
Like Steve Jobs, you started to feel the weight of the business on your shoulders - and it took a toll on you personally.
Like Steve Jobs, under stress you did what a true entrepreneur does best - you doubled down - and got more involved in the business to try and get it to where you know it could be.
Like Steve Jobs, you face the brutal choice that every strong-willed entrepreneur must face into one day. The choice to be strong enough to start investing in your exit today, by creating systems and embracing leaders in your organization who have strengths you don't.
Now just imagine you did that. What would you do with your time, with your passion for the business now that you have the room to play bigger than you are today?
Now there’s a question worth answering.