You Are No Steve Jobs

It was Sunday evening, and Samuel’s mobile phone rang. He saw that it was Saul. “What now?” he thought. “Good evening, Saul,” he answered. “What’s wrong now?”

“What’s this I hear about you mentoring Jonathan?” Saul snorted. “What’s this ‘Leadership Integration Plan’ nonsense? I told you that empowerment crap will never work here!”

“Saul, you have the emotional intelligence of a toad,” Samuel replied.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Samuel.

“The Steve Jobs style of leadership may have produced some incredible products at Apple and may have made Jobs very wealthy, but you are no Steve Jobs,” Saul answered. “Your way has failed too many times. We’re going to do things differently.” Then he hung

up.

I Can Handle the Truth

Jonathan was excited yet nervous about the opportunity. He could hardly sleep on Sunday night before his first session with Samuel. Jonathan had led small teams, but he had never led projects.

Jonathan reported to Samuel’s office at exactly 8 AM on Monday morning.

“Come on in and have a seat,” Samuel said, sitting at the table in his office. As Jonathan sat down, Samuel slid a printout of a Leadership Integration Plan template over to Jonathan.

“This is the leadership framework we spoke about last week,” Samuel said. “I want you to integrate it into our standard initiation and planning phase activities that you’re already very familiar with.”

“Looks easy enough,” Jonathan said. “I see here that the plan requires that we adhere to the corporate leadership policy. What is that policy?” Jonathan asked.

“Our policy is that all project managers and team leads will lead performance of project activities in accordance with a leadership model that best fits the project,” Samuel said. “The project manager will coordinate with the CEO to determine the appropriate leadership standard.”

“If you don’t mind me saying, sir, that sounds ambitious and complicated,” Jonathan said. “Wouldn’t it be better to have one leadership standard across the company? This would allow us to have a common language and would reduce training costs.”

“That’s one of the things I like about you, Jonathan,” Samuel said. “You’re not afraid to tell the truth as you see it. You’ve just earned a homework assignment. I want to you to research the myriad leadership models out there and come back to me next week with a recommendation. We’ll develop and publish our policy based on our next conversation. I wanted Saul to work on this with me, but he’s not interested. I think you and I can get this done.”

“No problem, sir,” Jonathan said.

 
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