Last month, I wrote several articles focused one CPO’s rise – that of Tim Cook – who went from Chief Procurement Officer to CEO of Apple, the world’s largest company. Here are the articles on Steve Jobs, Apple, & Cook:
- Think Different.
- Vision + Execution: Steve Jobs Understood Procurement’s Importance to Apple’s Success
- From CPO to CEO: How the CEO of the World’s Largest Company (Apple) Used His Procurement Background to Thrive
On Wednesday, millions heard Tim Cook talk about Apple’s new products. As a parallel (and since careers and career management within procurement have been a longstanding topic on CPO Rising), I thought it would be interesting to hear Tim Cook talk about his career path, influences, and choices in his own words (in a two-part series – part one is here).
(Note that every bullet below is a direct quote from Cook made over the last few years).
- On that day in early 1998 [when he accepted the job at Apple], I listened to my intuition, not the left side of my brain or for that matter even the people who knew me best.
- It’s hard to know why I listened, I’m not even sure I know today, but no more than five minutes into my initial interview with Steve, I wanted to throw caution and logic to the wind and join Apple. My intuition already knew that joining Apple was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work for the creative genius, and to be on the executive team that could resurrect a great American company.
- There was always a part of me that very much wanted to have a 25-year plan as a guide to life. When I went to business school we even had an exercise to do a 25-year plan. I didn’t understand it then as a young MBA student, but life has a habit of throwing you curve balls.
- Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to plan for the future, but if you’re like me and you occasionally want to swing for the fences you can’t count on a predictable life.
- But even if you can’t plan, you can prepare. A great batter doesn’t know when the high-hanging curve ball is going to come, but he knows it will. And he can prepare for what he will do when he gets it.
- Too often people think about intuition as the same as relying on luck or faith. At least as I see it, nothing could be further from the truth. Intuition can tell you that of the doors that are open to you, which one you should walk through. But intuition cannot prepare you for what’s on the other side of that door.
- Along these lines a quote that has always resonated with me is one by Abraham Lincoln. He said “I will prepare, and some day my chance will come.” I have always believed this.
- It was this basic belief that led me led me to accept so many jobs and assignments that are too numerous to mention.
- In business as in sports, the vast majority of victories are determined before the beginning of the game. We rarely control the timing of opportunities, but we can control our preparation.
- Prepare and your chance will come. If you are prepared, when the right door opens then it comes down to just one more thing: Make sure that your execution lives up to your preparation.
- “I believe in work, hard work” has been one of my core beliefs for as long as I can remember. Though the sentiment is a simple one, there’s tremendous dignity and wisdom in these words, and they have stood the test of time.
- As current events teach us, those who try to achieve success without hard work ultimately deceive themselves, or worse, deceive others.
- I have the good fortune to be surrounded by some brilliant, intuitive thinkers who create the most elegant and extraordinary products in the world.
- For all of us intuition is not a substitute for rigorous thinking and hard work: It is simply the lead-in. We never take shortcuts. We attend to every detail. We follow where curiosity leads, aware that the journey may be longer but will ultimately be more worthwhile. We take risks knowing that risk will sometimes result in failure. But without the possibility of failure, there is no possibility of success.
- Intuition is critical in virtually everything you do, but without relentless preparation, and execution, it is meaningless.
- The significance of intuition, preparation, and hard work – for me they give rise to a simple principle for the most important decisions in your life: Trust your intuition and then work with everything you have to prove it right.
- I think it is misleading to talk about success without also referencing failure. I know of no one who has achieved something significant without also in their own lives experiencing their share of hardship, frustration, and regret. So don’t believe that something in your past prevents you from doing great work in the future.
- To all of you who doubt yourselves, I have been there too, and although today I’ve spent time talking about a great decision, I’ve made some that are far from it. And like many of you I’ve had my share of life’s personal challenges and failures.
- So paint in your mind the grandest vision of where you want to go in life. Prepare, trust in, and execute on your intuition. And don’t get distracted by life’s potholes.