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You don’t have to be a techie to recognize this name, Tim Cook. Since 2011, Apple’s CEO has continued Steve Jobs’ legacy as a leader. Apple is without a doubt the largest and most influential company. Jobs, the company’s founder, is an icon for many who dream of challenging the reach of technology and creating innovations in the field. In addition to taking on the role of CEO, Cook also assumed the heavy mantle of being a popular innovator.
Cook has exceeded all expectations and turned out to be perhaps the best possible leader Apple could need. Since his time as CEO, Cook has produced a number of innovations, including the groundbreaking Apple Watch. The watch tells the time, but it can also monitor your heart rate, notify you of calls, texts and emails, guide you and much more. His career has taught aspiring leaders a number of lessons in achieving and sustaining success. Here are four lessons from Cook that will help you be as successful as he is.
1. Be a visionary
Tim Cook took over a previously well-established company from Jobs. He knew he had to build the company even stronger to keep Apple from stagnating. At this point in the game, Apple couldn’t stop or it wouldn’t be relevant anymore. Cook welcomed changes and adjustments to the company and its products. He pursued a variety of avenues, including creating a streaming platform that would distribute the Oscar-nominated 2022 film Causeway, starring Jennifer Lawrence. The most important insight from this is to always have your own goals, ideas and projects to work on. This also applies to all professions such as artists, engineers, entrepreneurs, etc. When you are clear about your own goals, you will take the right path and you will be focused.
2. Go ahead without forgetting your past
We need to focus on what’s happening in our world right now, to understand what people need and to learn how to meet those needs. However, it is important to remember that the world is constantly changing and what might have worked today might not work tomorrow. So you need to have a plan on how to adapt to changing circumstances. For example, Cook focuses on the smartphone needs of today’s consumers, while at the same time always looking for new features and functionality for Apple products. This ensures that the company continues to grow. Apple was founded in 1976 but has never stopped evolving. The lesson here is that we should understand our past and act in the present.
3. Have the courage to stand out
The Cook and Apple ethos is very simple: To be successful, it’s important to do more than what everyone else is doing. Following the same path as everyone else will lead you to a multitude of interchangeable alternatives. The only way to stand out is to make your own way. You may follow the advice of others or walk through doors opened by someone before you, but to be successful you must bring your own identity to your work. This happens when you stay authentic and true to your vision, and it helps you keep up with the competition.
4. Take an awkward break
Apple’s CEO firmly believes in taking the time to think things through before responding, even when the silence gets uncomfortable. It follows the so-called “rule of awkward silence”, which simply allows you to make better decisions, reduce errors and communicate efficiently. The simple but effective rule asks you to take a few minutes to think before answering questions about your opinion. Once you have your answer, only speak it out if you are sure it is the best answer and solution, and that it is ready to be shared. This will be difficult, but Rome was not built in a day, the implementation of the rule is a gradual process.
However, these tips don’t mean you lose the human touch. Contrary to popular belief, Cook isn’t connected to his smartphone or laptop all day. In fact, he makes a point of disconnecting from devices and meeting people. Jobs took a similar approach, and it helped him build a strong base with the folks at Apple. Technology can help us learn many things, but we shouldn’t let it take over our connections to the real world.