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3 Things We Should Learn From Tim Cook

While you can be reading this whenever you would like, I am writing it one day before Apple is expected to announce the latest update to its line of iPads. 

Most of the time business bloggers and writers focus on things they wish they would see from Apple and Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. Usually the list is pretty long, and often these lists are written like people that haven’t watched Apple dominate the market for phones, MP3 players, or tablets over the last 10 years. 

So, for a change of pace, I am going to spend a few minutes explaining 3 things you should learn from Tim Cook and why these things are important to your business.

1. Be Yourself: 

How many articles and pieces have we seen about how Tim Cook needs to be more like Steve Jobs? 

A lot. And they are all stupid. 

Why? Because Tim Cook has done a fantastic job of being himself and Apple has continued to put out really good updates to their core products without putting out any new products that might not be ready for primetime. (Exception, Apple Maps. That thing is not good. But it is more of a feature than a product…so I am going to let it slide.)  

With shareholders trying to take the piss out of Apple for not doing what they want Apple to do, Cook stood up to institutional investors. He made a strong decision to buyback stock and to pay a dividend. He has also done exactly what he thinks is best.

You should too.

You have to be yourself because if you are a business owner, employee, or whatever…the one thing that is most unique about your offering or skills is you and your experience. 

So sell yourself as unique. Use your unique perspective to stand out from the crowd, not to blend in.

2. Hire Great People:

Steve Jobs did this. You can’t argue with that, but too often leaders can fail to hire great people because they are afraid that that person will steal some of their thunder.

Tim Cook obviously learned from Steve Jobs’ example. To see that, all you have to do is look at his hiring off former Nike guy Scott Shaffer.

You should be following Cook’s lead on this one.

Why you need good people should be obvious. Even if you are only a team of 3, you need talent to succeed. When you are innovating, you need smart and creative people. 

Great people are often at the core of great teams and great products.

So get with the program.

3. Forget Conventional Wisdom: 

Conventional wisdom will get you in trouble. Conventional wisdom has been at Tim Cook’s heals since he took over for Steve Jobs. 

In Tim Cook’s case, conventional wisdom called for him to make decisions that would have forced Apple to rush out products that aren’t ready; add features or updates that didn’t fit Apple’s product strategy; not change the product update schedule when Apple had a new iPad that they wanted to release. 

In your business standing up to conventional wisdom might mean you approach working in a new area that your competitors don’t typically compete in.

It might mean you approach problems from a different angle.

Or, you might end up with a contrarian point of view because you see something others don’t.

In any case, going against the conventional wisdom can help you deliver new products or services, ideas, or stay ahead of your competitors.

These are only 3 examples. They can all be applied and they will help you stand out against your competition.