ORCL) and close friend of Steve Jobs, provided valuable insight. Ellison called Jobs, "The Thomas Edison of our times." Jobs' vision and creativity far surpassed his executives. Why should he try to get others to join along? One wonders if Thomas Edison used committees and consensus. It is easy to identify a committee-designed proposal. It's a fat and unfocused patchwork quilt. Look at Obamacare. As of today, it is 10,516 pages, or eight times longer than the Bible. It was written to appease everybody. But it's unlikely to ever achieve its objectives of access, quality and cost. A simple, clean proposal by a small, interdisciplinary team could have easily produced a far better result.
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. Follow @tkyohall This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.