Apple CEO Tim Cook reminds us of what every CEO in the world should know: Strategic decisions are made for the well being of the company (or what the company is all about) not for the short term gain of investors or group of investors. His recent anger against The National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), a self-confessed right wing think tank that advocates free market and believes human activities have no impact on climate change, shows just that. When confronting Tim Cook at the annual shareholders meeting on Friday, the NCPPR felt it was justified in criticizing a choice that might not lead to direct profits for the company. But this is NOT what Apple stands for. Tim Cook quoted sentences like:
and generally saying that he wanted to “leave the world better than we found it”.
To leave the world better than we found it. That sounds like a great reason to follow someone. When asserting things of this nature, one better make sure that he stands by his assertion day in and day out. Great projects, and great leaders, require discipline. Friday's outburst by Tim Cook exemplified this discipline.
In his first book, “Start With Why”, Simon Sinek describes a test he calls “The celery test”. It is basically about being consistent and AUTHENTIC. The test goes like this: Imagine yourself at a diner party and you have only great people giving you great advice on what you need for your business. Each one gives you his expert and documented point of view: You should want soymilk says one expert, chocolate cookies says another, pudding says a third, and celery cries out the last.
Once at a grocery store to get all this, could someone look at your groceries at the checkout line and immediately know what you're all about?
Oh, and the business you’re in is related to Health… If you're just purchasing the soymilk and celery, then yes.
Passing the celery test is about maintaining credibility and integrity day in and day out, constantly.
Passing the celery test is about saying what you do AND doing what you say, consistently.
Passing the celery test is about discipline.
People identify these aspects of our unsaid communication and remember it when making their buying decisions.
Tim Cook certainly passed it the celery test on Friday’s meeting.
Many companies around the world pass the celery test every day.
The example Simon Sinek himself chose to illustrate his point is worthy of note: It is the case of Bridgeport Financial Services. He goes on a bit lengthily about it and I was interested enough to look up their website: The first sentence, top and center, is “The human relationship is the true currency”.
What does that mean to you? Do you want to do business with a company that promises to take care of your clients?
The interesting point is that Bridgeport Financial is a debt collector. What business would anyone normally associate less to quality of human relation than debt collection? Maybe I’ve been seen too many gangster movies, but frankly, these debt collector agencies have a reputation of being rather ruthless as a whole. And for good reason: One doesn’t hire the services of a debt collector when the client is satisfied and pays up. One hires their service when one is quite fed up with a client, and sometimes one couldn’t care less how that ill-paying client is treated. But thinking back on how much time and effort we have spent in getting that client to do business with us; isn’t it worth it to continue to take care of this client, who has money issues at the present time?
It´s just human sense and not-so-common sense.
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered:
"Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."