Measuring the Value of a True Leader

When the news broke about Steve Jobs retiring from Apple, many were disappointed and left confused. This is not because Jobs was a terrible leader or was in danger of sinking the stock of the company. It is because we are losing one of the sharpest minds and talented entrepreneurs we have seen in our lifetimes.

Steve Jobs means so much more to Apple than a Chief Executive Officer. Additionally, he means so much more to the world than another techie wearing jeans and a black turtleneck. He is an innovator capable of enrapturing audiences everywhere with his notions that become reality. This innovation has led to the financial stability and rapid growth of Apple, but it must be maintained in the generations to come.

“Innovation can’t be forced”
I read an editorial in the Chicago Tribune titled “Be like Steve” and found this statement to be the most powerful line in the article – “…innovation can’t be forced”. The same goes for financial success, financial strategy and financial models. You cannot force a company to become profitable, but having the assistance of a professional who can apply solid principles and strategies to weather unpredictable storms and challenges of business will reinforce the prominence of your company.

So, what is the value of innovation to your customers?
Most small business entrepreneurs do not have to worry about the stock valuation of their company because they are not publically traded. However, small business owners should focus on the value of innovation to their customers and clients. And, this innovation should extend beyond the expertise of your CEO.

Is your CEO the backbone of your organization? If so, your company’s value may not be as stable as originally believed. When a CEO is very hands-on and he or she connects with most of the clients on a regular basis, there may be some customers who will not be happy to suddenly begin working with a different leader, and as a result, may take their business elsewhere.

If enough clients leave, it is possible that the company will face some financial setbacks.

Think bigger to grow stronger
My challenge to small businesses is to think bigger and grow stronger. When you build a long-term financial model for your company, you are more likely to survive the bad times and focus on future growth instead of minor setbacks. For Apple, the resignation of Steve Jobs is just a minor setback because they have planned future product and service releases well in advance and employ one of the seemingly most forward thinking teams to drive the trends we enjoy today.