Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Apple (maker of the iPhone, iPad, etc.) is as secretive, as it is good. But Fortune Magazine recently released an article written by Adam Lashinsky entitled “Inside Apple,” which provides dozens of rare insights into the business and culture at Apple, as well as the mind of its CEO, Steve Jobs.

According to insiders, one parable that Jobs tells quite frequently is entitled “The Difference Between the Janitor and the Vice President.” In the story Jobs talks about his trashcan not being emptied in his office. Jobs approaches the janitor about why this is the case, and the janitor says, “I couldn’t empty it, because they changed the locks, and I could no longer get into your office.” It is a legitimate reason, and Jobs totally understands it. But Jobs goes on to make a distinction. It’s OK for the janitor to make excuses when things go wrong. But those in management don’t get that luxury. “Somewhere between the janitor and the CEO, reasons stop mattering. [That] Rubicon is crossed when you become a Vice President.”

Steve Jobs’ parable is particularly salient for us at CTK, since we are seeking to build a culture of empowerment.

In the CTK story, I would say that the Rubicon of Responsibility is certainly crossed when you become a pastor, or associate pastor…but we will take an entirely new step up as an organization if the Rubicon is passed at the Director level.

Empowerment means giving authority, as well as responsibility to those who need it. But it doesn’t mean authority instead of responsibility. In some ways it means having more responsibility than ever.