Irecently came across an insightful piece while flipping through the 1980’s book In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, Jr. It was written by Philip Selznick, who was a professor of law and society at UC Berkeley, in a book called Leadership in Administration. I’ve quoted the excerpt below as it was written because I think it really clarifies what make Jobs such a great leader.
“The inbuilding of purpose is a challenge to creativity because it involves transforming men and groups from neutral, technical units into participants who have a particular stamp, sensitivity, and commitment. This is ultimately an educational process. It has been well said that the effective leader must know the meaning and master the technique of the educator….
The art of the creative leader is the art of institution building, the reworking of human and technological materials to fashion an organism that embodies new and enduring values…
To institutionalize is to infuse with value beyond the technical requirements of the task at hand. The prizing of social machinery beyond its technical role is largely a reflection of the unique way it fulfills personal and group needs. Whenever individuals become attached to an organization or a way of doing things as persons rather than technicians, the result is a prizing of the device for its own sake.
From the standpoint of the committed person, the organization is changed from an expandable tool into a valued source of personal satisfaction…. The institutional leader, then, is primarily an expert in the promotion and protection of values.”