Does a company mimic the personality of its leader?

Great companies shape the world we know today. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook – those have all became infallible parts of our lives. And if we were only to focus on the digital world, there are countless others, like Twitter, Snapchat, LG, so on and so forth.

But did you ever stop to ask yourself, “Do these companies have personalities? Are they, in a way, acting like a human being?”

That’s the question Jan Dawson of Techpinions asked himself and, from what I’ve understood, the answer is clearly Yes.

But what he focuses most in his opinion titled The Power of Personalities at Tech Companies, is not whether companies act a certain way or not, it’s why they act that way.

And his answer is, once again, as simple as it can be – individuals, often CEOs, founders and other charismatic figures are the company – they project their personalities, their behaviour, onto the company.

“Mark Zuckerberg, in his hoodies and jeans, seems to personify the generation with which Facebook came into being and still represents the culture of Facebook – youthful and slightly irreverent,” he writes.

“Others too, seem to personify their companies, for better or worse – Uber’s Travis Kalanick as the energetic, aggressive, perhaps slightly chauvinistic, head of the company that’s equally aggressive and has sometimes appeared to downplay issues affecting women. Evan Spiegel, too, with his youthful indiscretions, seems to perfectly sum up the very need for Snapchat.”

He reflects on the recent promotion of Jony Ive, Apple’s lead designer. The move created a shockwave of sorts, sending ripples out through the tech world, where some speculated this might mean Ive’s about to leave the company soon.

And if companies are the projection of a charismatic figure’s personality, then Ive’s departure might mean a dramatic change in Apple’s shape.

However, as Dawson concludes, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing:

“We might not get exactly the same products from Ive’s successors we would have got from Ive himself, but we’ll almost certainly get equally good ones.”