Capella University Every successful business venture in life is the result of teamwork: an author needs an editor and a publisher, a chef needs kitchen staff and clients, and a doctor needs a hospital, a team of health care professionals, but most of all patients. The business world is composed of teams of like-minded individuals who promote their professional goals and propel them into reality. However, within each team there should be an individual who becomes “captain of the ship”. This person assumes a leadership role in order to motivate, encourage innovation amongst, and direct his team members to the successful and long-term stability of the group.
One of the most influential and popular leaders of the 20th century was Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple and Pixar. Steve Jobs has remained influential even beyond the grave in that his final speech, given at the Stanford Commencement Ceremony of 2005, is still being viewed on line by not only business students, but by anyone interested in understanding the philosophy of a man who was one of the most “disruptive innovators” of the previous century. In the Stanford speech, Jobs repeatedly mentions following his “intuition and curiosity” (Jobs, 2005). Job’s presence in a Reed’s College calligraphy class, a subject which interested him in his college drop-out days, proved serendipitous when Apple was designing a variety of fonts for the early Macs (Jobs, 2005). Jobs refers to this incident as a reference point to substantiate that being curious and willing to learn things that perhaps seem useless at the time may indeed be a part of the pattern that helps one “connect the dots” (Jobs, 2005) later in life. Seemingly obscure and random events may indeed have significance later in life. A good leader is able to mentally shelve these events and call upon them as needed to encourage innovation amongst his staff.
Another pithy statement of Job’s is his advice to be pioneering in one’s thinking. “Don’t be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice” (Jobs, 2005). Traditional doctrines don’t encourage original thinking. However, in order for progress to occur, old-fashioned or time-worn ideas should be replaced by forward thinking and the implementation of new ideas. Good leaders are not afraid to encourage original ideas nor are they afraid to adopt others’ pioneering visions.
Another pioneering leader is Jeff Weiner. He joined LinkedIn in late 2008 as Interim President. Within a very short time, only six months, he was promoted to be the company CEO. Over the next few years, he helped the establishment turn its service into a large, user-friendly database that provides users with access to individual and professional profiles. By June 2013, the site had acquired some 277 million users in more than 200 countries, with two new sign-ups every second. It generated revenues of about $1.52 billion in 2013. Recently, Weiner claimed the top position in America’s highest-rated CEO list with great approval ratings, as reported by the US-based career website, Glassdoor. Glassdoor collects anonymous feedback from US-based employees each year, who comment on their superiors and the companies they work for. For a CEO or chairman to be considered for the survey, chief executives at large corporations have to receive at least 100 approved reviews from employees. LinkedIn employees reportedly gave Weiner the highest possible rating. One project manager even noted that the company fosters productivity from a positive, fun exchange of ideas (Entrepreneur, 2013)
“Managers will tell people what to do, whereas leaders will inspire them to do it, and there are a few things that go into the ability to inspire”. This quote is part of an interview that Adam Bryant of The New York Times conducted with Mr. Weiner. His slogan has always been not