Hello Leader,

Much has been written about Steve Jobs, but when it comes to his successor Tim Cook, the conversation has focused on whether he has what it takes to continue to lead Apple to new innovation breakthroughs. I recently watched Cook's interview with Charlie Rose and decided to capture key phrases that define his thinking and bring those to you for your own reflection.

Indeed the most revealing thing about any person is how they think and how they formulate the principles that guide their actions.

What Tim Cook Can Teach You

Here are eleven quotes in Tim Cook's own words. In order to provoke your thinking and introspective reflection I inserted key questions below each quote. I encourage you to think about these questions and to add your own reflections. You can also use these questions to create discussions with your team:

  1. "We want to create great products to enrich people's lives."
    • What do you aspire to create?
    • How do you enrich people's lives through what you do and create?
  2. "At Apple we want to be the best, not first."
    • What are you the best at?
    • What new areas do you aspire to expand into?
  3. (About the Apple Watch) "Technology is not sufficient; it must be delivered in style."
    • What opportunities do you have to bring style to your work and personalize your products and services in ways that will make people feel special?
  4. "Steve stood for innovation; he stood for the simple not the complex; he knew that Apple should only enter areas where we can control the primary technology. All these things are still deep in Apple."
    • What do you stand for? What are the guiding principles you hold dear?
    • Where can you make the complex simple?
  5. "It's so easy to add. It's hard to edit. It's hard to stay focused. We know we will only do our best work if we stay focused. The hardest decisions we make are all the things we choose not to work on."
    • Do you make the hard decisions of what not to do?
    • What must you eliminate to drive relentless focus and help your team do their best work?
  6. "I've wanted desperately to continue Steve's legacy, the Apple I deeply love. I never had the objective of being like Steve, because the only person I can be is the person I am."
    • Are you trying to copy or be someone else and or have you settled to being yourself in the best way possible?
  7. "The key thing in my life is to see that with my team we collaborate at an incredible level."
    • How are you going about cultivating incredible collaboration with your team?
  8. "We are all (with the leadership team) different and that's the power of it. We argue and debate. We don't always agree on everything. But we have great respect for one another and we trust one another, and we complement one another, and that makes it all work."
    • Do you have people around you that greatly respect each other and deeply trust each other?
    • What must you do to reach a whole new level of working together with your team?
  9. "What leads to innovation is curiosity."
    • What are you curious about?
  10. "(We are thinking about) what comes after the Internet? What is the next, next, next thing?"
    • What is the next, next, next thing for you?
    • How are you working to reinvent yourself and what vision do you have about what's needed?
  11. "It's all about leaving the world better than you've found it."
    • What opportunities do you have to work on something that will leave the world a better place?

Now it's your turn. Turn the key. Clarify your own thinking and develop your own guiding principles and passion to create the future you imagine.

© Aviv Shahar