Tim Cook on post-Jobs era after being named Fortune’s ‘World’s Greatest Leader’

It’s officially Tim Cook’s era at Apple as Fortune has named the Apple CEO the ‘World’s Greatest Leader’. After winning the coveted tittle, Cook gave an interview to Fortune in which he reflected on a post-Jobs era and shared interesting tidbits on what it’s like to cope with the pressure that comes with leading such a huge company as Apple.

While there has been plenty of positives, it hasn’t always been a smooth road. From hiccups like the fallout of GT Advanced Technologies, to the less-than-stellar launch of Apple Maps, there have been things that Apple, and Cook, have had to overcome to see what’s beyond. That even includes the hiring of John Browett as Apple’s Chief of Retail, which lasted only six months. According to Cook, Browett’s outing at Apple was a reminder that fitting in culturally at the company is just as important as anything else.

“I don’t need your vote. I have to feel myself doing what’s right,” Cook continued. “If I’m the arbiter of that instead of letting the guy on TV be that or someone who doesn’t know me at all, then I think that’s a much better way to live.”

“I have thick skin,” he says, “but it got thicker.”

Cook continues:
What I learned after Steve passed away, what I had known only at a theoretical level, an academic level maybe, was that he was an incredible heat shield for us, his executive team. None of us probably appreciated that enough because it’s not something we were fixated on.
We were fixated on our products and running the business. But he really took any kind of spears that were thrown. He took the praise as well. But to be honest, the intensity was more than I would ever have expected.
“That was a reminder to me of the critical importance of cultural fit, and that it takes some time to learn that,” he says. As CEO, “you’re engaged in so many things that each particular thing gets a little less attention. You need to be able to operate on shorter cycles, less data points, less knowledge, less facts. When you’re an engineer, you want to analyze things a lot. But if you believe that the most important data points are people, then you have to make conclusions in relatively short order. Because you want to push the people who are doing great. And you want to either develop the people who are not or, in a worst case, they need to be somewhere else.“ 
Fortune‘s full profile of Tim Cook will be published within the April 2015 issue, and based on these brief snippets, it will surely be an interesting read. 

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