Business lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Apple’s Tim Cook
When the time came for Tim Cook to build further on Steve Jobs’ legacy, he was well aware of the tight scrutiny he would come under. Yet from the beginning, his aim was not to live up to Jobs’ popularity but create a niche for himself by doing what he does best – deliver. Cook’s ideas and ideals have managed to leave a mark of their own on popular imagination. His formidable attitude has helped Apple cope with the blow the company experienced at Jobs’ passing, and he has indeed been an inspiration to many entrepreneurs who look up to Apple as a living school. Here are some lessons that can be learnt from his still-going-strong stint at Apple.
If Steven was a gifted orator, Tim seems to be an avid listener. Both are meritorious qualities in a leader that help them make decisions that others might fail to conceive as possible. Tim Cook’s incredible ability to listen to those he works with and caters to, makes him look more like a Tibetan Monk in a suit, meditating deeply upon the spoken word. Whether that word is spoken by his colleagues, competitors, or consumers, he appears to be meditating on the intention often found lurking between the lines. This has given him a considerable advantage in inventing solutions and delivering results.
“We take risks knowing that risks will sometimes result in failure, but without the possibility of failure, there is no possibility of success.”
Tim Cook does not fear the unknown. He is adamant about knowing it. It’s a naïve conclusion that equates risks to failure. When you take risks, you let yourself break stereotypes and overcome the fear of failure. The world of business is a world of deep uncertainty and actions. Yet it’s humbling to remember that today’s norms were yesterday’s risks.
“Life is fragile. We’re not guaranteed a tomorrow so give it everything you’ve got.”
A mix of fear and laziness often becomes the greatest impediment to one’s journey to success. It robs us of our ability to create change and do the unthinkable. Entrepreneurs often encounter challenges that punch a gigantic hole in their beliefs and concepts. Some let the problem persist by ignoring it, while others pull up their sleeves to deal with it head-on. While the former bask in the temporary relief that comes with procrastination, the latter successfully manage to create a problem-free future for themselves and others around them.
Put quality over quantity
“Our goal has never been to make the most. It’s always been to make the best.”
As an entrepreneur you cannot rest on past laurels – not for long at least. Reinventing your products or services is of crucial importance as it keeps you on your toes while engaging the customer as well. They say a great idea goes a long way. However, what remains unsaid is that a great idea can also take a long time to be put into effect. The time that one is willing to put into giving shape to their idea underlines the key difference between an exciting entrepreneur and a thoroughly mediocre one.
“I hope people remember me as a good and decent man. And if they do, then that’s success.”
That’s a life-enhancing definition of success. For most entrepreneurs, success takes a different form – making it to a Top 10 list, outdoing a competitor, making millions, and such. While these aspirations are great motivators, they are only steps to achieving outlasting success. The genuine euphoria that comes from being regarded as a good and humble being by contemporaries and competitors alike is true success.
“To whom much is given, much is expected. I do believe this. It’s embedded in me.”
One man’s success is the result of teamwork. From people who believed in them to those who bought their ideas, success is never one man’s domain. It’s a collective triumph. Once this simple truth seeps into our psyche, we will begin to appreciate the amount of effort others have put in to help us achieve our dreams. It will make us humble being on top, and less lonely too.
“I think two people with strong points of view can appreciate each other even more.”
Culturally and historically, we have been cursed to think of certain ideas with prejudice and stonewalling rigidity. The word diversity falls under this unfortunate category, which is to say that when we think of the word diversity, we only think in terms of race, colour, and gender. However, the greatest diversity lies in ideas, and all conflicts that ever arose were birthed from diverging ideas. Therefore, if we learn to appreciate each other’s diversity in ideas first, we will indeed embrace all other forms of diversity as well.
In his six years at the helm of the multi-billion-dollar Apple behemoth, Tim Cook has faced many highs and lows. He has been hailed and derided in fairly equal amounts as an industry leader. His vision and ideals continue to inspire the company’s employees and fans around the world, as well as the many entrepreneurs who look up to him for inspiration.