Good Luck, Tim Cook: The Test of Apple’s Culture

Unless you live under a rock, you know that Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple, with COO Tim Cook taking over the reins. What kind of company will Apple become without its uber-creative, visionary leader? I think this is the absolute biggest test of all of the organizational management theories about culture development at a company.

I don’t think there is a better example of a brand that is so inextricably linked to its leader than Apple (to me, Virgin and Richard Branson come in a close second). Steve Jobs’ laser-like focus on minute details, such as fonts and angles, helped Apple create some of the most elegant products ever.  And his ability to predict what consumers want without surveys or focus groups (Jobs has been saying, “It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want,” for years now) is unmatched. On the other hand, I’m sure Tim Cook is a very smart man, but his expertise is in logistics and sourcing – super-valuable to keep profit margins high, but not too relevant to product development and design.

Will Tim Cook have the vision that Jobs had?  How will he uphold the design-centric culture at Apple? Another way of asking the question is, has Steve Jobs ingrained his philosophies deep enough into the culture to allow the company to succeed without him?  

Only time will tell. Good luck, Tim Cook. The world is watching.

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