While doing some research recently, I came across a back issue of “Fast Company” magazine and a great article on Apple entitled “Apple Nation.” It’s one observer’s version of what “the Apple playbook” might look like. It may be dated, but it’s fascinating – and it has some implications for your organization.
- Go into your cave – Apple is fanatic about secrecy when it comes to their development process. Behind it’s often closed doors, Apple can ignore the clamor of the world and create its own unique brand of “magic.”
- It’s okay to be king – Apple’s engineers spend 100% of their time making products planned by a small club of senior managers – and while he was CEO, sometimes entirely by the late Steve Jobs himself. It may seem dictatorial, but it works. The hyper focus lets everyone know exactly what is needed.
- Transcend orthodoxy – despite all the noise about Apple’s closed ideology, the company adopts positions based on whether they make for good products and good business. Results are the driving philosophy.
- Just say no – CEO Steve Job’s primary role at Apple was to turn things down. “I’m as proud of the products that we have not done as the ones we have done,” Jobs once told an interviewer.
- Serve your customer. No, really – however great your product or service, something will go wrong – and only then will the customer/client take the true measure of your organization.
- Everything is marketing – Apple understands the lasting power of sensory cues, and goes out its way to infuse everything it make with memorable ideas that scream its brand.
- Kill the past – no other company re imagines the fundamental parts of its business as frequently, and with as much gusto, as Apple does. Nothing holds it back, so it can always stay on the edge of what’s technologically possible.
- Turn feedback into inspiration – Apple doesn’t exactly ignore the many customer requests for improvements in its products. They simply use their ideas as inspiration, not direction; as a means, not an end.
- Don’t invent, reinvent – revolutionary is one of Jobs’ favorite words. It curates the best ideas bubbling up around the tech world and makes them its own.
- Play by your own clock – Apple doesn’t get caught up in the competitive frenzy of the industry; it plays by its own clock. Apple’s product release schedule is designed around its own strategy and its own determination of what products will advance the company’s long-term goals.
Everyone wants to be like Steve Jobs and the powerhouse company he created and led. It’s not easy. But the lessons of Apple above may just help move your own organization forward.
Have you had your “Apple” today?