Those in the know have said that Steve Jobs read all the press release issued by Apple. It may sound as if that is obsessive behaviour for a CEO but there is more to it than that.
In the early days of any organisation the brand and the image that are portrayed are essential to success or failure. If you hit the right note then you are going to grow, but be seen as irrelevant and the business may fail. The way the brand is established is through the communication and customer service. Both are critical to the future.
Was Steve Jobs right to know what was being issued? Absolutely, he needs to know that the communication department, who represent the organisation, are prioritising what is important to the business. The PR team need to be clear about how the business will be positioned, what matters, what is not important and what the future vision is.
This is part of the reason why I believe strongly that communication needs to have a seat in the boardroom. It needs to have a close working relationship with the CEO and operate at the highest level if it is to really be effective. The communication lead needs to have the best understanding of the organisations current position and the journey to what it wants to be in the future. Understanding the person at the top is a fundamental part of a successful communication strategy.
Of course, it is about much more than press releases. An effective communication strategy has to understand the channels and which ones are more important to the organisation. It has to have a detailed understanding of where to focus attention and have the narrative that the CEO wants to be told. Nowadays Steve Jobs would have struggled to see all forms of communication including social media posts. If he had wanted to see each of those then it would have severely hampered the delivery of communication.
Seeing everything is one thing, but having to approve all communication is something different. The first means you can keep a close watch on what impression of the business is being given, while the second means you are going to prevent swift and effective communication delivery.
Perhaps if Steve Jobs had more confidence in the team around him he would have been able to ease off on the need to read through all the press releases and instead trust that they could deliver the results.