Tim Cook’s Apple-style

By Tony Clark, 2-Dooz Inc. – November 5, 2012 (Original Publication Date)

A little less than a week after the company’s latest and perhaps biggest new products barrage ever, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, solidified his stamp on the company’s culture by shaking up the executive ranks and by instituting a sweeping reorganization; and in the process continued to forge an Apple that is far less arrogant and ironically more customer focused than it was under Steve Jobs.  This is Tim Cook’s Apple-style.  And, in a sense, he is saying that Apple can be cool without being arrogant and dictatorial.  This has broad and potentially positive implications for the company. 

 The management and organizational announced by Mr. Cook come on the heels of his public apology to iOS 6 users for the well documented maps issues.  In retrospect, the apology, which was at least in part a response to customer misgivings, gave the first external indications that a major cultural transformation is underway at Apple.  Unmistakably, the relationship between Apple and its customers is becoming more two-way.  And, more proof of the transformation came last week when the company announced a new organizational structure which emphasizes human interface design, online services, software, and hardware.  This new structure should allow Apple to further broaden both its customer base and independent development partner base.  This may lead those who have resisted joining the Apple fold, because of the company’s heavy handed reputation, to reconsider the company.  If Mr. Cook has his way, then the ranks of Apple loyalists might further swell.

Coincidentally, Apple’s new organizational structure mirrors 2-Dooz’s new “High-Tech Engagement Model.”  Note that the human interface (HI) resides in the Experiences level of the model.  The broader organizational emphasis on HI means that Tim Cook’s Apple is clearly making an effort to become more sensitive to the needs of its customers.  Again, it shows that Apple intends to do more listening and less dictating.  The iPad mini, which Steve Job’s viewed with derision, provides confirmation that the company is serious about being more market and customer focused.

Additionally, and though not publicly stated as a goal of the reorganization, I believe that Mr. Cook is proactively attacking a common challenge to all organizations that have achieved Apple’s level of success: namely, the tendency to become inwardly focused.  The new organizational structure, which emphasizes collaboration between internal suppliers and customers, should help to counter this challenge.  Mr. Cook is addressing what is perhaps Apple’s current biggest challenge—that is, beating itself.

Tim Cook’s Apple-style may never go viral like “Gagnam style,” but it maybe just what’s needed to propel the company to even loftier heights.

Those are my thoughts.  As always, I invite and look forward to learning what you think.


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