“The Whole is More Than the Sum of its Parts,” Aristotle

Apple’s announcement today that Steve Jobs has been granted a medical leave of absence at his post as CEO got me thinking about teamwork.

It is interesting to read all of the various reactions from people on Twitter, blogs and news sites.  While everyone wishes Mr. Jobs a speedy road to recovery, there are many who are already over-analyzing the valuation of the company in his absence and what new innovation he will wow us with when returning.

Apple is a global corporation with close to 50,000 employees so it boggles my brain as to why one person, an extraordinary visionary and innovator might I add, has so much clout when it comes to the success of the company.  Is he the only one at the entire company who had anything to do with the iPod, iPhone or iPad launches from concept design to retail distribution and everything in between?

I highly doubt it.

So then, why is the company’s future success coming into question today when one person out of 50,000 is taking a break?

A company or team cannot be solely successful on the shoulders of one person. While it never hurts to have that fearless leader figure to look up to, success is a result of hard-work and determination by all of your teammates or employees.  Sure you need a leader to chart the course, rally the team and provide feedback and inspiration along the way, but you also need the right team to execute, and this is where I believe the naysayers don’t give enough credit to Apple.

Whether you are the boss or leader on a particular project, think about the team you surround yourself with. Could they carry on and be successful without you? Chances are Mr. Jobs already thought about this as he was building his team.

Rest up Mr. Jobs, I have a feeling your team will do just fine and the future of Apple is in good hands awaiting your return.


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