In the last month some very talented people have been asked to leave their companies because they were “not playing well with others” within their organizations. It’s further proof that, no matter how talented you are, talent is not enough to be successful in today’s world of managing products and people.
When we think of Apple we think of Steve Jobs and a company whose stock has gone up because of great products like the iPhone and iPad. However, with Mr Jobs gone, Apple is under new management and Tim Cook, the new CEO, decided that the person responsible for the development of iOS was letting his success get the best of him.
It was widely reported that the person responsible for iOS was a personal favorite of Steve Jobs and ran his functional area like he was the king. More importantly he often did not meet with the leaders of other areas within Apple but the final straw appears to me Mr Forstall’s refusal to take responsibility for releasing an app that was not well received.
What happened here? From what I have read it appears that this VP felt he was above the fray and did not need to collaborate with others within the company at a time when Apples operating systems are converging. He was known as a loner and there were rumors that he would be the next person in line to take over Apple. In other words he felt that he could lead like Mr Jobs and do and say what he wanted even though he was not at the top of the corporate ladder.
Further on up the West Coast at Microsoft the head of the Windows team was asked to leave the company for some of the same reasons. First sales of Windows 8 have been disappointing and second the usability of Windows 8 leaves a lot to be desired and is confusing to a lot of consumers. To make matters worse almost 50% of Windows users said they planned to purchase a Mac and a large majority of people running Windows have not yet upgraded to Windows 8 at a time when the competitive market for PC’s is becoming more intense.
Both of these people offer a clear lesson to all of us; “even though you maybe talented, talent alone is not enough to be successful in today’s organizations”. Talent is not only the ability to innovate with new products and features it’s the ability to get others excited about our vision and the possibilities it presents to the company, its customers and shareholders. You can be the best and brightest person working within your company but if you don’t share your vision and sell your ideas and work in a silo there is a good chance that you’re going to fail.