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The Value of Leadership

Written on September 16, 2011

We talk frequently about the importance of the team, and rightfully so. The relationship between team members and their managers is the foundation that all success is built upon. In fact, it is so important that we stress it in just about everything we write. From working as a more cohesive business to being a more effective manager, we’ve had a lot to say on the importance of teamwork and empowerment. But one major point we may not have stressed to the same degree is this; success starts at the top. The vision and leadership of the top executives of a company can make or break even the mightiest of businesses. There have been some timely examples of this in the headlines lately – let’s take a look at a few examples.

 

We’ll start with the big one. On August 24th, the tech world and beyond shook with one simple sentence, “Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple.” Have we ever seen the leadership of one man have such a dynamic impact on his company, his industry, and the world of business? Hundreds of blogs and articles could be linked here, all giving testimonial to the tremendous impact of Jobs. “He is perhaps one of the greatest CEOs of any kind, a name which will be remembered generations from now,” sings Wired.com. Here is a man who saw his brainchild turn into a company, establish a place in a new industry, struggle through hardships, and become such a dominant presence that it not only dominates industries – it creates them.

 

Where will Apple go without Jobs at the helm? Fortunately for Apple, part of Jobs’ huge impact was creating a company united under his vision, and empowered to carry it out. Massive as his impact has been, he wasn’t alone, and men like Tim Cook will carry Apple into the future.

 

Without continuity of strong leadership, even a mighty company can flounder. Take for example tech giant Yahoo, who recently let go their Chief Executive Carol Bartz. Ms. Bartz was given a company on the decline still under heavy scrutiny for not accepting an offer from Microsoft to buy the company, an offer that looked good at the time, and excellent in retrospect. Many wondered if Bartz had the industry experience and leadership to revive Yahoo – and 32 months later they would wonder again as Bartz was let go. Under pressure from continually declining revenue growth and a shrinking sense of identity, Yahoo continues to face challenges in finding the right leadership and vision.

 

And what of popular technology blog TechCrunch?  Many would, and do, say the heart and soul of the company and its blog content is founder Michael Arrington. Arrington and TechCrunch have parted ways, reportedly at the discretion of blog owner AOL. Will TechCrunch have the same presence, appeal, and vision it had under Arrington? Only time will tell, but the splash the news made in the tech world was enough to show just how big a presence he was at the company.

 

And of course, when you look outward you also look inward; we are lucky to be under the leadership of our own Mark Morton. If we might be permitted to say so ourselves, Mark has found just the right mix of involvement and empowerment, and it is through that mix that Morton Consulting has been able to flourish. Our values, our reputation, and the way we conduct business all flows from Mark. Teamwork, Results, Integrity, Partnership; our core values are an expression of the way Mark and everyone here at Morton Consulting approaches business.