Gary Allison's Leadership Blog

Agile Software and Effective Software Projects and Leadership and Teams19 Jan 2012 04:57 am

Last night, I read a passage in the Steve Jobs Bio recounting a conversation between Steve and Mike Markkula as Steve was contemplating his return to Apple.  The passage was about reinventing a company, and struck me as very poignant as I had just spoken to my team a few weeks ago at our 2012 kickoff about reinvention.  The passage

They spent the rest of the time talking about where Apple should focus in the future. Jobs’s ambition was to build a company that would endure, and he asked Markkula what the formula for that would be. Markkula replied that lasting companies know how to reinvent themselves. Hewlett-Packard had done that repeatedly; it started as an instrument company, then became a calculator company, then a computer company. “Apple has been sidelined by Microsoft in the PC business,” Markkula said. “you’ve got to reinvent the company to do some other thing, like other consumer products or devices. You’ve got to be like a butterfly and have a metamorphosis.” Jobs didn’t say much, but he agreed.

How prophetic. Also evident in the book is that not only did Apple have to reinvent itself, Jobs had to reinvent himself to a degree in order to become an effective CEO.

Reinvention is the key to all success and the path forward. For teams and companies to grow, they must recognize that the things that worked in the past which made them successful, will have to change, be reinvented, to continue that growth.  Since growth = success in our measurement system, then change requires reinvention.  Approaches, processes, technologies, teams, communication – it all must be reinvented all the time.

Five years ago, I wrote a blog about leading through change.  Rereading this now, I feel it is still on target.  At the time I was thinking about change that is sourced from the outside.  Reinvention is sourced internally.  The same strategies apply.

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