– Apple CEO Tim Cook and Steve Jobs both shared a commitment to excellence, a key reason for Apple’s successEstimated Reading Time: just 2 min

As reported on

In August 2011, many experts didn’t believe that Tim Cook could successfully replace Steve Jobs as Apple’s CEO. Cook proved the skeptics wrong. Today, with its stock at a record high, Apple is the world’s most valuable publicly traded company.
This weekend’s Wall Street Journal called the Steve Jobs hand-off to Tim Cook “the most lucrative business succession in history.” 
While Tim Cook’s has made Apple his own, he shares a leadership philosophy with his former boss: an unwavering commitment to excellence. It’s a commitment shared by the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, and it will set your business apart.
According to the Journal, Cook’s teams quickly learned that failing to prepare for a meeting would be a sign they didn’t share Cook’s commitment. 
In one example, Cook became irritated when he learned that the company accidently shipped 25 computers to South Korea that were meant for Japan. A former colleague called it a minor misstep for a company that ships 200 million iPhones a year. Cook didn’t see it that way.
“We’re losing our commitment to excellence,” Cook said.

Steve Jobs Raised Everyone’s GameWhen I wrote The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, I talked to several former Apple executives and business partners who found Jobs to be a demanding leader, but ultimately someone who raised the standard of excellence for everybody around him.

A senior executive at AT&T Retail told me that he received a call from Jobs when Apple was developing the first iPhone with AT&T as its carrier. Jobs wasn’t happy with AT&T’s in-store customer service. Jobs demanded a commitment to excellent service from the moment a customer set foot through the door–much like he demanded from the Apple store experience.
The executive led an overhaul of the in-store experience, resulting in a string of customer-service awards for the brand.
Your team members don’t know what they can accomplish until they’ve been challenged to elevate their game.  
On another occasion, I traveled to California’s central valley to visit a manufacturing plant that made, among other items, cardboard boxes. The executive guiding me on a tour said Steve Jobs was the company’s most demanding customer. Apple boxes had to be elegant too see, easy to open, and a pleasure to feel.
Jobs’ attention to detail was unlike anyone the manufacturing executive had ever seen. But rather than dismiss Jobs as some eccentric leader, this executive said Jobs’s commitment to excellence inspired the entire manufacturing to do more than they ever thought possible.
Many of those who worked for Jobs–and for Cook–say the leaders drove them to do the best work of their careers.

Be a Yardstick of ExcellenceIt’s easy for employees to get into rut, but they are watching your every action and taking cues from your leadership.
Do you take shortcuts that compromise on quality? Your team is watching. Are you unprepared for sales calls? Your team is watching. Do you cut corners on customer service? Your team is watching–and learning.In today’s hyper-competitive world, settling for average will only guarantee below-average results. “Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected,” Steve Jobs once said. “Part of my responsibility is to be a yardstick of quality.”
Be the yardstick of excellence that inspires everyone else to raise their game.

Author: Carmine Gallo
Date: 2020 08 12

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