Knowledge@Wharton: Layered Leadership and Apple’s Rise to the Top

Knowledge@Wharton has reproduced a segment from Mack Co-Director Harbir Singh and Wharton’s Michael Useem’s book, The Strategic Leader’s Roadmap, on how adopting a “layered” leadership model helped Apple create its most iconic and successful products.

From the article:

Flipping from one to the other, Jobs tested each of the versions several times. Revealing no emotion or preference yet, he turned to Kocienda. “We only need one of these, right? Which one do you think we should see?” Kocienda was taken aback, having assumed that this was a choice for the upper layer, not his own. With time for only a moment’s reflection, he shot back, “I’ve started to like the layout with the bigger keys. I think I could learn how to type on it.” He added that the autocorrect feature already on the iPhone could easily be incorporated here. Jobs responded, simply but fatefully, “OK. We’ll go with the bigger keys.”

Behind the launch of both the iPhone and the iPad were several layers of leadership, with the CEO resolving the final issues but engineers like Kocienda reaching important decisions at their own levels.

Read the full article at Knowledge@Wharton.