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Apple Has Fallen and It Can't Get Up

Stocks in this article: AAPL ORCL

Under Jobs, Apple was not constrained by consensus. The company produced fast and clean innovations in rapid succession.

But we now see the downside of directive management. Apple executives who once waited for instructions from their emperor never learned to innovate. Having never practiced their serve, they are not able to compete in a real match. Jobs did not build his company to last.

Can Apple succeed without Jobs? It will be very difficult. Changing the way a company is managed is the organizational equivalent of a personality change. And as those who spend years in therapy know, personality change is very difficult; and often impossible.

Apple can introduce new policies and practices, but changing ingrained behaviors will be very difficult without dramatic management changes at the top.

The moral of the story? The best management style depends on the situation. When a leader is clearly ahead of his/her executive team, a directive style may be ideal. But be aware of the consequences for the next generation.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Hall is managing director of Human Capital Systems (www.humancapitalsystems.com), a firm that designs systems for improving workforce performance. He is also an instructor in Duke Corporate Education's teaching network and author of The New Human Capital Strategy. Hall was formerly a senior vice president at ABN AMRO Bank in Amsterdam and IBM Asia-Pacific's executive in charge of executive leadership and organization effectiveness. During his tenure, IBM was twice ranked No. 1 in the world in Hewitt/Chief Executive magazine's "Top Company for Leaders." Hall completed his Ph.D in industrial-organizational psychology at Tulane University, with a dissertation on people management practices of Japanese corporations.
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