My prayers go out to Steve Jobs and his family as he is taking another medical leave, presumably to continue his battle against pancreatic cancer.
The big question again seems to be what will happen to Apple in Jobs’ absence. Apple has proven that they have a senior management team in place that is capable of executing the initiatives that Jobs has blessed. In the short-term, they should be absolutely fine, as they were during his last leave.
How they are able to navigate or orchestrate the next game changer without the guy in the black turtleneck will be more revealing. As Jim Collins implies in Good to Great, egomaniac leaders tend to create a culture where people are incapable of making decisions without the egomaniac’s involvement. This may work while the top dog is still there, but what happens when they move on? After the high-fives and deep breaths, my guess is that sheer panic is not too far behind.
Hopefully, a clear succession plan is in place so the company can move forward as capably as possible. Otherwise, Apple will provide some great theater in terms of power struggles and decision-making.