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

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Stakeholders

When people talk about the stakeholders in a company, they are referring to the stockholders and, sometimes, the holders of options. At UPS, Apple, and many other companies, stakeholders also include those employees who own shares of stock or options in the company. That’s standard, of course, for the top level; having a large part of the workers as stakeholders is much less common.

Unlike almost any other executive, Steve Jobs was never focused on profits, share price, or whether the stock market price of company shares was going up or down. His focus was instead on which product ideas to pursue and then making those few products as near perfect as humanly possible in every way.

In a product-driven company like Apple, the product stakeholders are incredibly important to its success. But the attitude at Apple is significantly different: Focus on making the products successful, and financial success will follow.

Making sure that Apple employees benefited financially from their role in helping to create great products was a very important issue to Steve. We spent a lot of time figuring out how to implement programs that made the product success everyone’s success. In Steve’s words, “With great products will come great rewards to all of us.”

All employees who went to work at Apple got stock options on their first day of employment. Also all employees were eligible for profit sharing and bonuses—so all Apple employees were stakeholders. From the receptionist to the senior ...

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