How Much Is A Great Leader Such As Steve Jobs Worth? Could You Quantify It? (AAPL)

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 11.04.2011 (5:00 am) | Write a Comment  (0 Comments)

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Steve Jobs has been in the middle of discussions everywhere around the world in the past few weeks and I couldn’t agree more that he has turned out to be one of the greatest business minds of our generation. Not only did he lead a company from near collapse to being the top technology (and depending on days sometimes across all sectors) company in the world but Jobs also ended up transforming several industries not only related to technology but also entertainment, gaming, books, etc.

Obviously, taking Steve Jobs as an example might be unfair because there is only one Steve Jobs. There are however several other managers that would be seen in a very positive light by many, a list that would probably include Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos among a few others. My question is, how much of a difference do these guys make?

If a company such as Yahoo (YHOO) or Research in Motion (RIMM) were to get an incredible CEO, how much would that be worth to their shareholders?

How much was Steve Jobs worth to its shareholders? If you argue that without him the company might not even exist, would it make sense to say that he was worth hundreds of billions to Apple? That might be overstating it a bit but I don’t think it’s that crazy. I could probably talk about executive pay here as well. Wouldn’t a company such as Yahoo or Research in Motion be willing to pay an incredible CEO hundreds of millions of dollars? It would probably still be a great deal to him. Some would say that no one should ever make such high income but how could such a manager not deserve it? Anyway, this post is not about a executive pay or the 1% vs. 99%.

I believe the question is fair, how much is an exceptional leader worth? Don’t you think that while Yahoo has been managed poorly for years and part of that responsibility seems to go to the board, that a great manager could have turned it into exceptional value. Yahoo used to have exceptional products, and to an extent it still does. If tomorrow morning Yahoo was able to hire a guy like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos, how much would you be willing to pay for YHOO shares that have been static for years now?

There is obviously no perfect answer and it would always depend on so many other factors but I would still love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Personally, I feel like a new CEO for Yahoo or most struggling companies would be judged based on:

Focus (great leaders seem to be able to focus on a small number of things rather than a Yahoo style management with hundreds of different points of focus)
Risk Taking: I think true leaders are able to believe in a few big ideas and go for it. What is the biggest risk that Yahoo has taken in the past few months? Really? What new product/website/service did it launch that generated tons of conversation because it was so outside of the box?
Inspirational: Zuckerberg might not have this nailed down yet but I think it’s clear that both Jobs and Bezos are very good at talking, inspiring and motivating both employees and clients but also inspiring users enough for them to believe in their products.
Expect The Impossible: Zuckerberg, Jobs and Bezos all have been known to ask for things to be on very tight if not impossible deadlines, at quality standards that are years ahead of the competition, etc. I think a leader should be incredibly demanding towards all employees, partners and himself of course.

And Now It’s Your Turn

I would love to hear what you think about great leaders and how much they can be worth to a company? Do you think it’s even possible to quantify it? And how would you judge a new leader for these companies?

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