Apple University organizing for success when Steve’s gone.

Success post-founder is one of the greatest challenges of any creative business.  I’ve come to the conclusion that there are three pillars to this.

Role Model.  Train.  Police.

Role Modeling — Everyone in the organization must know what’s expected, how to act and with what values should difficult decisions be made.  This must come from the Founder or close disciples.  This is an oldie but a goody for me.  Leo Burnett’s famous retiring speech “When to take my name off the door.”

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Training – You just can’t ask people to be as good as an iconic Founder like Steve Jobs.  You have to train people just to be in the ballpark.  I recently saw this great infographic about it (click on it to see all of it).

Apple University is, like all Apple’s work, one serious secretive undertaking.  Even Yale, from which Apple took Apple U’s lead, don’t know much.  But it clear with all of Mr. Job’s health issues, he is clearly thinking about Apple after he’s gone.

Policing – This is the hardest in my view.  Organizations grow and evolve.  Creative organizations, by definition, don’t like staying in one place.  But it is essential to keep employees, particular new ones, from adopting habits that are “off culture.”

At Chiat/Day in New York, where I once worked, we had an informal test when a difficult decision or event was before us.  We joked “WWJD?”  What would Jay do?  We’d police each other and always take the path we think our Founder would endorse.

Role Model.  Train.  Police.  That’s it.

(Infographic researched and designed by Online College Resources.)

"Apple University organizing for success when Steve’s gone." by Scott
Posted in Brands Enabling Stories on Friday, July 22nd, 2011