Apple’s iconic CEO Steve Jobs ranks in the top 10 posthumously — and for good reason. During our test period and despite a “dependence-on-Steve-Jobs” risk adjustment in our scoring methodology, Apple still blew the doors off in terms of wealth creation. And there is a lot to admire—in the main, intent and ability. Apple is all about creating “hit records”—blockbuster products and services, on purpose. They want to. They’re serious. They’re good at it. Because they’ve built the ability to create hit records, from perceiving nascent/obvious-in-retrospect market needs through designing and delivering products and services matched to those needs, and that excite. They have, well, flair.
Apple’s success is built on design: of their offerings, of the businesses they’re in (the iTunes and app-store ecosystems) and of the way they shape, hone and control the offerings that get out the door—thus managing their brand. There’s little question that Steve Jobs is a unique talent. And one of the ways in which he’s applied that talent is creating an organization design that may well be able to replicate Apple’s performance to date even if some day he’s no longer at its creative heart, or wooing its fans.
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