Hardly a question I can answer with statistics, but I would tend to agree. This good article points in that direction, although limited to a couple of two iconic companies.
This is how it goes:
Apple. Visionary Jobs innovates and innovates. Followed by Cook, non-visionary, not real new new products, certainly not a la Jobs
Microsoft. Visionary and innovator Gates is followed by non-visionary not innovator, revenue super boosting Ballmer. Here the good news: followed by Nadella, visionary again and new innovations coming out
Hardly a scientific experiment, but it made me think. I’ve seen these alternations in small scale again and again, more of the Apple type than the Microsoft that in fact is gone back to the core and soul of the company as Nadella puts it in his book ‘Hit refresh’
I think the article is harsh with Cook and Ballmer, The Great Successors, but there is something there.
For whatever it worth I think that visionary leaders should be followed by visionary leaders. It is not true, for example, that there isn’t another Jobs. There is, it’s just called something else.
What the organization needs is a simple and healthy internal balance between vision and execution, the later not at the expenses of compromising the former.
Are we following here too much a form of the Great Man Theory of History? Perhaps. But the observations by Steve Blank made me think.
Rambling, yet it makes me think.