There’s been a lot of talk about Steve Jobs’ sick leave from Apple recently. A lot of speculation of what will happen to Apple as a company. Investors are worried. Customers are worried. Businesses are worried.
My take on this is that Steve Jobs is a genius. Look at how Apple has evolved?! Genius! But the world will be Steve Jobs-less one day. He will live on through the company and products he created. He will live on through my ipods and my mac book pro. His business approach will be taught to every undergrad and graduate level business student for eons to come. His work ethic will continue to live on no matter what. Technology owes a massive debt to the brilliance of Steve Jobs.
With that said, I came across the following posting on The Atlantic today titled, “Are Visionaries Born or Created?” I found this article very interesting because of the idea that visionaries can be created–they can be nurtured and encouraged to grow. I agree and disagree. I think that visionaries are like leaders. Some people are naturally born and talented and others simply are not.
This is a topic I know much about thanks to experience. I don’t mean just by myself, but with other’s that I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with. I think everyone suffers from the boss/manager that doesn’t know how to lead. I can say that I’ve experienced that, but I’ve experienced it in day-to-day situations with friends and random people I encounter at stores, restaurants, and even the phone. What Steve Jobs does amazingly is lead. He leads his team to push beyond the day-to-day boundaries; to think outside the box; to see into the future. Most people don’t do that, or don’t think to do that. Instead they go with the flow, never questioning authority or taking risks.
I’m about taking risks. Lots of risks. And sometimes my ideas don’t represent the future, but they represent something that means something to someone and maybe a few others as well. Which is what a visionary does. A visionary sees something wrong, or something lacking and tries to fix it, to make it better. To make the world see it better. And they do it in unconventional ways. Ways that ruffle feathers, that make people talk about them in both good and bad ways. And most importantly, they act. They are the doers. They aren’t content conforming.
That is why a visionary can’t be taught. Yes, someone can be nurtured into a visionary, but in those cases, which are rare, they were already born a visionary. Think about it and then tell me whether you think a visionary is born or not. I’m interested.