Many companies throughout the world have suffered from bad leadership decisions or have not adapted well to business cultures brought in by new leaders. This can cause a spread of problems, both internal and external and often the new leader brought in has to make large changes to the way the business is run. The success of this change of leader often depends on their ability to find the shortcomings of the current business structure and to transform it into a competitive force in the future.
Steve Jobs founded Apple as a computer company in 1976 and ran it alongside founders Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne and investor Mike Markkula. He was a strong minded visionary and often went against other workers ideas. Many rifts were created within apple because of the disagreements he had with other people about the way projects were being run within the company. Eventually, in 1985 Jobs left Apple after being removed as manager of the Mac project, something he had put together and built up.
He acquired Lucasfilm’s animation department Pixar and funded this whilst working on his ‘NeXT’ computer project. He worked at NeXT for a number of years until, in 1995 Apple were convinced by Jobs to buy out his computer company. He then returned to Apple in an informal advisory role at a time when Apple was making the biggest losses since it was founded. In early 1997 after 500 days in the job and over $1 billion in losses the, then CEO was sacked. Jobs agreed to become interim CEO and to take on the responsibility of getting the company back onto the right path.
His first move was to dramatically cut the number of products being produced by Apple and focused on a simple matrix structure. He made a laptop for consumer users and a laptop for professional users and the same for desktop computers. This distinctly different structure cut costs and made Apple seem a lot more customer friendly as a company. The next step was looking towards preparing their products for the future, through development and predictions. The result was a modern line of products that turned around Apple’s fortunes and made them a player in the personal computer market once again.
His next focus was creating a media hub, this included the iPod and iTunes and proved extremely successful for Apple and showcased Jobs’ ability to see future trends and lifestyles. Jobs managed to completely transform Apple from a company making giant losses to one of the most valuable companies in the world by stripping it down and completely rebuilding the structure and culture. His critical decision making skills alongside his vision of the future allowed Apple to reconcentrate on innovating and staying ahead of competition.