After Steve Jobs announced he needed to take leave for medical reasons back in January 2009, Tim Cook, as interim CEO, was asked by an analyst whether he expected to be the permanent CEO. According to a post by Bill Taylor on the Harvard Blog site, Cook did not answer the question directly but instead said …
“We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products, and that’s not changing,” Cook declared.
“We believe in the simple not the complex…We believe in saying no to thousands of products, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us,” he added.
“We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in ways other cannot…And I think that regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well,” he concluded.
Success in life and in business really does turn on why we do what we do. It’s the core values we hold close that determine how we organize ourselves and our business. On reading Cook’s statement of their fundamental beliefs it’s absolutely clear what their competitive strategy is. It’s unequivocal.
Once the “why” is clear – we are here to make great products; the “what” logically follows – focus on a few products that are meaningful and important; and from there the “how” becomes self-evident – deep collaboration and cross-pollination to innovate in ways others cannot — that’s Apples’ competitive advantage.