Prepare for Battle
Yesterday, Apple unveiled the new iPad2. It was exciting to see the new upgrades that are available on the device (and I can tell you from personal experience the iPad ROCKS, so it is safe to say the new iPad2 REALLY ROCKS). But more than the new bells and whistles, it was really exciting to see Steve Jobs at the helm. Back at least for the day from medical leave, Jobs was seemingly undeterred by his own personal circumstance, donning his infamous black turtleneck and jeans, smiling and proud he is the undeniable and fearless leader of the Apple tribe.
There are few leaders who can, especially in the worst of financial times, have the guts to continue to innovate, spend marketing dollars, advertise and put themselves and their company out on a limb with new product launches. After all the dollars spent and energy exhausted, Jobs going against the grain again did one thing that so many companies failed to do these last few years—succeed. I recall when the iPad first hit the scene. Consumer confidence was at an all-time low, but Americans still dug deep into their pockets and spent money on the device when they simply weren’t willing to spend on anything else.
During economic uncertainty, most companies will play it safe, cut budgets and employees, increase their liquidity and “lay low” until the storm has passed. While they are doing their darndest to hang on to all of their cash supply, they are quietly holding their breath and hoping beyond all hope to survive. In this effort to hold on, they are missing out on a golden opportunity.
Warren Buffett said it best when he asserted that investors should, “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” Swimming against the tide can be exhausting; however, there is something “Ceasar-like” about the leader who can march into the financial battlefield and be brave enough to believe so strongly in his or her product and people, to go ahead and strategically invest company capital to innovate and emerge from a recession as the strongest one in the playing field.
To Steve Jobs, I am hopeful we will have the opportunity to see him up on stage in his signature black and blue, guiding Apple and giving consumers “most awesome” products. Above all else he serves as a great example of how to lead under the toughest circumstances, both personal and professional. And to all those at the helm, continue to be brave as you navigate these uncharted waters. Continue to smile no matter the challenge and be the undeniable and proud leader of your tribe.