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Leadership at Apple - Tim Cook's Quiet Cultural Revolution

Jim Riley

22nd August 2013

I highly recommend teachers and students reading this profile of Apple CEO Tim Cook. It is packed with insights into the leadership challenges faced by Cook, his leadership style and the link with organisational culture change at Apple.

Some key points I jotted down on first reading are:

Apple has been through an incredible transformation in terms of business scope and scale in the last few years:

"A transition was, perhaps, inevitable after an astonishing five-year run in which Apple's headcount tripled, its revenues rose over six-fold, its profits grew 12-fold, and its stock price jumped from $150 to a peak of $705 last fall."

Insights into the personality of Tim Cook:

"spread-sheeting-loving, consensus-oriented, even-keeled person"

"a thoughtful, data-driven executive who knows how to listen and who can be charming and funny in small group settings".

iPhone and iPad product lines continue to deliver enormous profits - serious "cash cows" too!

A change in culture:

"the Cook regime is also seen as kinder and gentler"

"It is not as crazy as it used to be. It is not as draconian"

"a new willingness to admit mistakes and a more open approach to problems such as poor working conditions at Chinese contract manufacturers."

But is the change in leadership and culture turning off some people who were previously attracted to working for Apple under Steve Jobs?

"I am being inundated by LinkedIn messages and emails both by people who I never imagined would leave Apple and by people who have been at Apple for a year, and who joined expecting something different than what they encountered, said one recruiter with ties to Apple."

Jim Riley

Jim co-founded tutor2u alongside his twin brother Geoff! Jim is a well-known Business writer and presenter as well as being one of the UK's leading educational technology entrepreneurs.

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