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Juana Bordas
Diversity leader

Juana Bordas

Juana Bordas is president of Mestiza Leadership International, a company focusing on leadership, diversity, and organizational change. Author of the 2007 book Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age, she is a board member of the International Leadership Association.

Bounding over generations

I should have known something was up when I switched from Mac to a PC almost 13 years ago. I was happy with my Mac but as the internet took over people couldn't open my Mac attachments. In business that is not good. My daughter Chela refused to switch, "They are going to pull my Mac away from my bloody hands," she proclaimed piously. She loves her Mac. That is the loyalty Mac has been able to inspire and one of the reasons they are ahead of the pack.

The secret of Apple's success says my friend, Prasad Kaipa, who worked at Apple and is now Executive Director of the Center for Leadership, Innovation, and Change is, "They have a clear focus that is aligned with its DNA. Apple use to have a pirate flag on one of its buildings in the early 80s reflecting its brand as a rebel, renegade, and path breaker." Sounded like Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean so I asked him to go on!

"Even when it is ahead, Apple is willing to think fresh - outside the box. There is a clear focus on design and no compromise attitude. Steve Jobs wanted the iPod with no screws - a sleek design - and he wouldn't settle for anything else. " Now everyone else has followed suit.

Ah yes, Steve Jobs. There he was on Wednesday, in his jeans and casual black turtle top announcing the new iPad. Just like one of your old friends from the 60s, but cool enough to inspire the millennium generation that follows him like the Pied Piper of their technologically laden dreams. Steve makes sure Apple stays true to its DNA and does not pay attention to what the market or the polls say. This type of leadership resonates and generates a following especially when there is little gap between what Apple promise and what they deliver. No leadership gap. Steve has provides the continuity often lost in our corporate take no prisoners environment.

Yeah, but is Apple a cult?

I asked the women at the health club who were watching Steve Jobs announce the iPad. Turns out they are both Apple aficionados. "Besides being cool and hip, Apple products are easy to use and if you have a problem, there is always help," chirped one of the women. The younger women who looked like she didn't need to work out at all gushed, "And the computer does its own maintenance. You don't have to worry about bugs and viruses. Besides, I love going to the Apple store."

Yep, go to a Mac's story, and it is the busiest, friendliest, most intergenerational place at the mall. Somehow the young techies have developed an almost benevolent and patient "you can do it to attitude" that soothes the confused boomers who sheepishly come into the store wanting to be part of the next generation of Mac users.

I cringe a little when I think about my arm wrestling with Vista. PC users are certainly not bubbling over with praise. Almost a year later, I still can't figure some things out. So when my three daughters got iPhones and started pressuring me to do the same, I joined the iCult.

Steve Jobs, you are a genius! You bring technology to the people. Through your innovative and creative spirit, your commitment to delivering quality products, staying the course, and having a clear focus you have inspired a loyal and committed following. We can count on you! Now there's a leadership lesson other corporate leaders and our politicians could learn from.

By Juana Bordas

 |  January 29, 2010; 1:38 PM ET
Category:  Corporate leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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