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Leading Apple With Steve Jobs: Management Lessons From a Controversial Genius by Jay Elliot

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Losing Ground

Culture informs success, not the other way around. And leadership drives culture. After Steve left Apple, CEO John Sculley realized it was critically important to make sure the employees of Apple felt that the management change would not affect the future of the company. At the grass roots of Apple, the culture that had been established in 1981 was alive and very strong. Still, it needed to be reinforced.

As vice president of human resources, I had the challenge of figuring out how to refresh the Apple culture. For all his drawbacks, Steve had nonetheless established a culture that made Apple a place where you felt appreciated and rewarded even though it was a demanding place to work.

Shortly after Steve’s departure, I met with John, the other executives, and the board of directors and made a presentation that became known as Apple’s “Stakeholders’ Report.” This outlined a plan to create stronger communication about the Apple values and to make sure the values were reinforced and adhered to. This was critical to the company’s future.

It was also at this meeting that I suggested, “One Apple messiah is gone. We need to bring the other one back.” It was a plea to get Steve Wozniak involved again. John Sculley immediately left the room and called Woz, who agreed to accept a role with the company.

I put into place a daily “Breakfast Club” meeting that became famous—getting all the key executives together at 7 AM every morning to keep everyone completely updated. To deal ...

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