Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Musings on Corporate Change

I'm a Lutheran, and years ago a Lutheran school put on a play about Martin Luther. If you were to sum up Luther's life in one sentence, I guess you could say that Luther left the Roman Catholic Church and (along with others) started the Protestant movement, a movement which has affected Europe and the rest of the world ever since. So anyways, this school play required one of the young actresses to deliver this line:


I was musing about change as I arrived at work this morning and punched my security codes into the various doors. These security codes were originally set up by a man named Tom. Tom was responsible for all of our facilities needs in the office building, but one day he decided to retire. At the time I had the impression in my mind that he was irreplaceable, and how can someone else do what Tom did? Well, it's been several years now, and Ricardo is doing just fine, thank you very much.

Then, of course, there's my personal situation, to which I've alluded briefly. In short, my company has announced its intent to sell my division to another company. We've been briefed by the old company, we've been briefed by the new company, and we've completed all sorts of paperwork - but in this case the change hasn't happened yet. It was hoped that the transaction could be completed on December 31, but there are certain things outside of either company's control that are delaying the change. So I guess this would be an example of change deferred - which in fact is its own change. "I am now announcing to you that you WON'T be working for a new company on January 1." Change deferred is another change that we need to deal with.

Which brings us to Steve Jobs. Yeah, I've talked about him also, or about his company. I'm going to go out on a limb right now and say the the following:

At some point in the next forty years, Steve Jobs will no longer head Apple.

(If my prediction is wrong, feel free to contact me.)

Who knows how this departure will be implemented? Perhaps he'll die. Perhaps he'll start a charitable foundation (even though Bill and Melinda Gates have a bit more money than the Jobs family). Perhaps he'll decide to go back to Reed College and get that bachelor's degree that he never got. So we know that the change is coming, but we don't know the circumstances, or when it will happen, or who would be best to take over at the time that it does happen. So we just have to be prepared.

This is clearly a musings post. If you have any observations of your own, feel free to share them in Disqus or in FriendFeed (and no, I haven't synced the two comment facilities yet - I am not trendy).

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