Technology is taking a back seat to the returning subject of leadership. That has become obvious with the 6% plunge in the price of Apple shares. Among those who assess the value of the company's stock the attention is shifting to the quality of the person in charge.
For example, Reuters quotes Brian Battle, who's with Performance Trust Capital, as saying, "This is a management test, of how well they can perform without Steve Jobs." Clearly, no organization, no matter how well put together, can keep running itself. The critical difference between Company X and Company Y will be who's at the top.
During the 1990s, before the dot.coms stole an increasing amount of space in the business media, we ghostwriters created for executive bylined chapters of books, articles for trade media, and opinion-editorials for brandname publications like THE WALL STREET JOURNAL on even abstractions such as how to define "leadership." Essentially, with several variations on the theme, that defaulted to Warren Bennis' notion that managers do things right but it's the leader who determines the right thing to do.
No question, in such a volatile global economy continually disrupted by technology, the leader is on the hot seat as the decider of the right thing to do. Yes, Apple's Tim Cook is in the struggle of his career. So are Yahoo's Marissa Mayer and Citigroup's Michael Corbat. That means plenty of assignments for ghostwriters. The conversation in the media, think tanks, foundations, and universities has become: What is authentic leadership.