Here’s Why Apple-Bred Leaders Often Fall Flat at New Gigs

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Apple Tim Cook iPhone 5

In technology, strong leadership is an important aspect in the creation of successful products, and through its acquisition  of Nest Labs — a home automation company founded by Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) former Senior Vice President of the iPod Division, Tony Fadell — Google is hoping to lay its hands on a leader who can keep replicating his product successes.

However, aside from co-founder Steve Jobs, Apple is “not known for producing leaders — it produces products,” Ram Charan — a management consultant who has acted as an adviser to former General Electric (NYSE:GE) Chief Executive Officer Jack Welch and former Verizon (NYSE:VZ) CEO Ivan Seidenberg — told Bloomberg. Jobs brought Apple back from the edge of bankruptcy and transformed it into the world’s most-valuable company. That transformation led an upheaval in the consumer technology market that left many companies — BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), Google’s soon-to-be-sold Motorola unit, Nokia (NYSE:NOK), and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) — playing catch up.

As one would expect of a company as successful as Apple, a lot of thought has gone into the creation of the brand’s cachet. Apple built up its reputation by delivering products that revolutionized how humans communicate with each other, how they consume media, and how they live, on a day-to-day basis, making technology a part of everyday life they way it never was before. It helped that the company tended to under-promise and over-deliver. But even more important was Jobs’ ability to mesmerize audiences by charismatically creating a “reality distortion field,” a science fiction term that has often be used to describe his belief that wanting and willing something could make it happen. His persona, and the products were created with that belief as a guide, made Apple a brand with huge cachet. But keeping and building upon that cachet requires a great leader.

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