Managers can’t be 100% effective at all times, but there are probably some managers who are 100% ineffective sometimes.
A great decision can negate many slip-ups in strategic management on the road to success.
For an excellent example, see Steve Jobs and Apple. Jobs’s organisational deficiencies and interest in management in general were such that he recognised them himself. As a result, he brought in a highly reputed Procter & Gamble manager to take care of business while Jobs concentrated his technological and marketing genius on the products.
However, this in fact turned out to be a failure of strategic management. The imported manager was soon at odds with Jobs and proceeded to engineer the dismissal of Apple’s genuine business genius. That actually represented an even worse error of strategic management, and Jobs eventually had to be brought back in to rescue a rapidly sinking ship.
His efforts in rescuing the business were masterful; the basic computer range, in spite of a low market share, has been at the forefront of innovation and customer satisfaction. Apple has also transformed the music industry with the iPod and Jobs confirmed his genius with Pixar and computerised animation (to his own significant financial benefit), and also showed the vital point that, if you’re doing the right thing, you can get away with mistakes.
When IBM entered the PC market that Apple had created, the latter’s strategic management policy of insisting on a proprietary policy condemned the smaller firm to a vulnerable existence on the fringes of a market dominated by an IBM operating system owned by Microsoft and available to all.
The strategy error of ignoring the customer appeal of compatibility accounts for the vicissitudes of Apple’s finances, which led to the humiliation of Jobs being forced out. To his credit, the Apple reputation for innovation was maintained and the Macintosh has remained an impressive product.
The company sits well down the big business league; behind Microsoft in the Fortune 500. Apple is no doubt paying the price for its high investment ratio.
But that simply goes with the strategic management in question. Heavy spending on new products and processes is necessary when it comes to leading the way in innovation. Apple’s strategy of offering customers what they want has to be the best policy.