Yesterday's announcement by Apple CEO Steve Jobs that he is taking a medical leave of absence has left a lot of people wondering whether more beans are going to spill. After all, it was just last week that he released a public letter disclosing a "hormone imbalance," but also saying it was just a "nutritional problem" with a relatively simple and straightforward treatment program. The New York Times reports that he informed Apple employees yesterday that his health problems were more complex than he first thought, and that he has temporarily turned over the reigns to the company's chief operating officer.
I am sorry to hear of Jobs' health problems, whatever they may be. His combination of an extraordinary vision, a dedicated work ethic and a great management team have made Apple one of the most successful brands in history. And that's actually the good news about the story.
Apple will be fine because no matter what happens to Jobs, the company is positioned for growth regardless of who is at the helm. This kind of planning and management is a cardinal rule of business, yet most Indie Business owners do not plan for a time when they can't run their business anymore. Perhaps Apple's experience will help change that by shedding some light on the importance of asking the question "who's next?" if there ever comes a time when you can no longer lead your Indie Business.
Let's all wish Jobs a speedy recovery and many more years of fun bites at the apple. (Pun intended!)
Here's a solid (but short) article from SCORE to help you establish or refine your succession plan.
Question: Have you considered succession planning for your business? Please share your tips and questions in the comments section below.