What You and Tim Cook Can Have In Common

Tim Cook is the CEO of the World’s most valuable company. Apple has a market cap of more than $2 Trillion, with $48B in net income last year alone. 

He’s been praised for his stance on social justice, environmental responsibility, and for making Apple one of the good guys.

That’s an impressive list. So what can you two have in common?

The ability to Execute.

You can’t make him CEO. 

He’s not exciting, charismatic, or visionary enough they said. He’s the total opposite of Steve Jobs. 

Meanwhile, as CEO he’s quietly taken Apple’s valuation from $400 Billion to $2 Trillion. 

How has he done it?

By Executing.

Ideas For Sale!

Ideas are flashy. They get all the attention. Steve Jobs was an Idea Guy. His ideas were really good. 

But companies have TONS of ideas. 

Vendors give them ideas. Salespeople give them ideas. Customers give them ideas. Then companies pay consulting firms to give them more ideas. I personally have been on the receiving end of dozens of expensive ideas. 

These ideas add up to a lot of complexity. 

“Growth creates complexity, and complexity is the killer of growth.”

James Zook

You don’t have to be the Idea Guy to advance your career. 

More than ever, companies need Execution. Someone that can deliver on a strategy, objective, or project. A leader that can take a good idea, navigate the complexity, and make it real. 

Tim Cook creates value by getting stuff done. He doesn’t claim to be flashy, charismatic, or visionary. He takes great ideas and delivers on them. 

Tim Cook is an Execution Guy.

You can be too. 

Plain Old Everyday Execution.

As a leader in a company that’s acquired 160 businesses over the past 15 years, we’ve experienced a lot of growth. And the complexity it brings.

Last year I was asked to lead an internal project. We were implementing new systems and processes for mastering customer price, sales quoting, discount approvals, and pipeline management. 

We were condensing dozens of disparate processes into one standard. It was complex. 

The project assignment wasn’t anywhere in my job description. In fact, at the time, I had little to do with this part of the business.

When I asked our CFO why I was asked to lead this project he said “you’re good at looking across the business and making sure everything fits together.” 

That’s when I realized… I’m an Execution Guy.

You can be too. 

How Do You Execute?

The best book on Execution is The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling. 

In it, the authors outline the 4 Disciplines which can be categorized by:

  1. Focus on What Matters Most
  2. Act on Lead Measure
  3. Track Progress
  4. Drive Accountability

I’ve used this approach. I like it and it works. But something about a formal process makes it feel less useable.

So, How Do I Execute?

I work to maintain a firm grip on current reality. And this is a skill everyone can acquire. All effort. No talent needed.

The one thing that leaders who execute have in common, including Tim Cook, is that they understand how their business works. 

  • How are customers using your product or service?
  • How do your team members like working for their new supervisor?
  • What’s the biggest challenge your delivery team has with their daily role?
  • The list can go on and on. 

As a leader, I want to know the answers to these types of questions. When you do, execution becomes less complex. It simplifies.   

“Innovation is rewarded. Execution is worshipped.” 

– Dan Gilbert, Founder Quicken Loans

By all means, delegate tasks, projects, and even outcomes to others. But don’t delegate your grip on current reality. Not if you want to execute effectively. 

All He Does is Execute.

What if they weren’t talking about Tim Cook. What if they were talking about you?

Published by brianhquinn

I write a weekly post to help you grow professionally, elevate your career and Become an "A" Player.