What do Kevin Rudd and Steve Jobs have in common?

Where would the ALP be had they
persisted with Kevin Rudd 3 years ago?
What if Apple had kept Steve Jobs in 1985?
Posted by +Tim Cincotta 

It has been a manic week in Australian Politics. As a keen observer of politics with a leaning to the “other side”, it has been bemusing to see what the Australian Labor Party has put the Australian public through. It is hard to believe that it is nearly 6 years now since Kevin Rudd swept to power in a comfortable election win.

He would then go on to enjoy popularity not seen since the days when a beer swilling Bob Hawke said after Australia’s America’s Cup triumph, “Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum!”

Fast forward nearly 6 years to last week, Kevin Rudd has been removed, created havoc from the back bench under the country’s first female prime minister in Julia Gillard, and the party has done a full U-turn and reinstalled him to increase their chances of winning the upcoming election. While the latest change to the Labor leadership has given the party a boost in polls, long-term it has created a massive division in the party and tarnished their brand with Australian voters. It really is the most bizarre workplace I have ever seen.

Only one thing makes this mess look remotely sane and that is Apple. Steve Jobs was removed from his position of power with Apple in 1985. A year earlier in 1984 he had introduced the Apple Macintosh to the world with “that superbowl commercial.” He seemed to be on a strong path, but when it got bumpy, he was removed.  Fast forward to  1997 and Apple is on its knees. Steve Jobs finds himself as the stand in CEO and the rest is history. The fact that many of you may be reading this on an iPhone or iPad is testament to that.Whether Steve Jobs would have had as big of an impact if he didn't have those 12 years in between is anyone's guess.

Now I am not saying that Kevin Rudd is going to go on and be the greatest PM in Australia’s history. What I am suggesting though that 3 years ago when he was in a rough patch, he needed to be put in his place by the board (in this case the Labor caucus who had the power to remove him) and to be developed as a leader with support from his team. It could have saved a lot of heartache for his party in the last three years. Now he faces a Steve Jobs like task to put the Labor party back on track.

I have worked for a few organisations now who work a burn and churn policy with staff rather than developing their talent and these organisations always seem to find themselves in financial trouble? Why? They are constantly hiring, and when the employee isn’t up to expectation, they put them out the door before their probation.  “Let’s use the example of a Sales Rep. If you keep churning sales people, how will they ever build a pipeline to grow from? Apart from the detrimental effect this has on your day to day business, think of your employment brand. I know how hard one of these previous employers found it to recruit and it was because their name carried that reputation in the market.

So when you face staff who are out of hand, do you look to move them on? Or do you make it a policy to work as hard as possible on your investment?

Tim Cincotta is the Sales Director for Talent Propeller New Zealand. Connect with Tim on LinkedIn here or read Tim's other blog posts here. 

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