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WORKING PAPER SERIES

Steve Jobs: A Leader Who Defied The Rule Book
Shaji Kurian, Asst. Professor, OB, Institute of Finance and International Management, (IFIM), Bangalore

______________________________________________________________________________ Steve Jobs is no more. Surely, his accomplishments are far-reaching and impossible to easily summarise. Apart from revolutionising the computer, music and publishing industries in his lifetime, Steve Jobs’ death has pointed out that he may have transformed just one more – the leadership industry. Here’s one way of looking at the scope of his achievement: It is the dream of any entrepreneur to effect change in an industry. Well, Jobs transformed half a dozen of them forever, from personal computers to phones, animation, music, publishing and video games. He was a great negotiator, a skilled motivator, a decisive judge, a farsighted tastemaker, an excellent showman and a gifted strategist. Most people will try to fit him into old moulds, trying to confine his spirit within the familiar terms: Vision, Innovation, Communication, Inspiration. There was all of that, for sure, but these encomiums alone do not quite succeed in capturing him. We haven’t lost the best CEO of this generation – we’ve lost one of the greatest artists of our times. Under his leadership, the previously tottering Apple not only recovered, but climbed its way to the top to become the most valuable company in the world, based on market cap!

Unlike most technologists and entrepreneurs who appear to succeed only once, Steve Jobs was distinctly different, in that he constantly repeated his success. He never gave up and steadfastly pursued his dreams, and is believed to have never been driven by the riches or the fame that followed his success. Jobs was clearly obsessed with the products that his company rolled out, and pursued them to the minutest detail. He was a perfectionist, and a strongly opinionated one at that. Jobs was destined to change...

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