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Chriss Scherer Scherer has been the editor of Radio magazine since 1997. His experience in radio includes work as chief engineer at stations in Cleveland (WMMS-FM, WHK-AM, WZJM-FM, WJMO-AM...more

The weakest link

You’ve heard the news that Steve Jobs is taking a leave of absence from Apple for health reasons. Naturally, we hope he’ll be ok. When the announcement was made, I saw several financial analysts say that Apple will be in big trouble if Jobs leaves.

Apple can’t survive without Jobs at the helm?

It’s obvious Apple has its act together. It’s also obvious that the company got there because of its corporate leadership. If Jobs’ absence becomes permanent I expect that the company will go on. But if everything rests on the efforts of one person, there’s a problem.

Let’s take this analysis to something you might be involved in: a volunteer organization. In this case, I mean your local SBE chapter. I have visited chapters that appear to be successful, and their efforts show it, only to see that it’s all because of one person’s effort.

Any effort needs a champion. That leader inspires others and shows the way. That leader also has to be setting the stage to be replaced at some point. It’s easy to get trapped in the thinking that if you don’t do it no one else will. Likewise, it’s easy to just do it something yourself instead of teaching someone else. Either way, you’re promoting a limitation on the long-term success.

Sometimes the system has to fail to show the weakness.

If Jobs leaves Apple, the company may stumble while it finds its new stride, but Apple will go on because of the team already in place.

Build your team and be prepared when a change is necessary.

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