The recent sudden announcement of Steve Jobs’ resignation as CEO brought about a great deal of speculation on the long-term prospects of Apple as an organization. Questions have been asked about whether Apple will continue to innovate, grow, and flourish in years to come.
History shows us that this is not the first time a leader has left an organization “before his time” and an organization survived without him. (Note: Mr. Jobs is staying with Apple as chairman of the board). With the loss of Walt Disney in 1966, Walt Disney World still came about and Disney continues to innovate and inspire today. I recall reading an article in the Orlando Sentinel about some of the plans Disney had for roads he developed in the 1960’s were finally being put in place nearly 40 years later.
When a leader of vision truly succeeds, they bring about in those that surround them a great level of fire and desire to succeed and think differently as well. It’s no surprise to me that Disney has been so successful, nor Apple; the presence of great leaders can be felt most often when they aren’t around; it’s the inspiration that they instill in others to keep the vision and mission alive that makes Apple (and Disney’s) prospects so bright.