iPad, Steve Jobs, and Leadership

There have been many articles written about Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple who died on October 5, 2011. He was a very intentional leader. His biographer, Walter Isaacson, said, “Some leaders push innovations by being good at the big picture. Others do so by mastering details. Jobs did both, relentlessly.”

A prime example of his ability to do both can be seen in the iPad. It was an invention that was already on the market with several other companies, but nobody was terribly interested in a computer tablet. He took an unsuccessful idea, redesigned it, and then launched it in the heart of a global recession. It sold an unbelievable 25 million units in just over a year. When he introduced the iPad on January 27, 2010 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, in San Francisco, Apple bought all of the bus stop ad space near that venue.

When people walked in for the big presentation, every ad was about an older Apple product. During the presentation every ad was changed to the iPad, and all of the ads included 9:41 a.m. on the digital clock of the pictured iPad. That time is still displayed on iPad boxes and ads but few people realize that was the exact moment when Jobs unveiled the iPad to the world. Strong, intentional leadership includes seeing the big picture, and the tiny details.

Effective church leaders are intentional but we are biblically intentional since we already have the mission (Matthew 28:16-20-“Make Disciples”). What I think is interesting about the leadership of Steve Jobs is that he took an unsuccessful idea and adapted it to produce the iPad.

We sometimes throw away an idea that we have tried that did not work or one that some other church tried but did not get the outcome they had hoped it would produce. I want to challenge you to re-think some old ideas that could be effectively used today in your ministry context. Granted it will take some adapting and redesigning but with some new twists it could be successful.

We have the advantage of allowing the Holy Spirit to give us new ideas or to change past failures to success. Think of the last five years in your ministry of what really worked well and what you thought would work but did not meet your expectations.

Why not closely examine those things to see if there can be something useful for the Kingdom. As you salvage your old ideas you just might be surprised at how the Lord can take and old idea and make it fresh and new.

(Some thoughts from this blog came from Time, 10/17/11, p.34; HoustonChronicle, 10/7/11, p.D1; Fast Company, July/August 2010, p.76)

Keep the Son in Your Eyes,

Mike James


One Comment

  1. get rid of traditions. In truth chruehcs are very good at getting folks saved. The beauty of the gospel is that it is universal. It does not depend on current trends or even cultural demographics. The gospel really requires very little effort on our parts to spread. It is also timeless. The hard work comes in once they are saved how do you disciple them. That is where learning the needs of the community you serve come in.I encourage everyone to examine the traditions your local congregation has built up over the years. Find the foundations that they were built on. Discard the ones that are just there for the sake of tradition and cling to the ones that keep your church grounded to the gospel and strength of Christ.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.