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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

3 Little Secrets to the CEO of Apple's Success

Apple is one of the biggest companies in the world. Love it or hate it, no one can argue that this company isn’t run well.

So, how does Tim Cook, the man at the helm, do it?

It’s still a bit of a mystery—we are talking about a company known for being secretive, after all—but the public recently got some insight into Cook’s process when he sat down for a surprisingly frank interview with Charlie Rose and shared some secrets to success.

Here are a few that are particularly steal-worthy.

1. Prioritize Diversity

Cook is quick to acknowledge that he hardly runs Apple on his own. In fact, he’s incredibly thoughtful about who he surrounds himself with. The trick, according to Cook, is to prioritize diversity when building a team.

The most important thing is to pick people around you that aren’t like you, that complement you... I believe in diversity with a capital D. And that’s diversity in thought and diversity any way you want to measure it. And so the people that surround me are not like me. They have skills that I don’t have… And then we collectively, to get things done, work together as a team…

We don’t always agree on everything. But we have great respect for one another, and we trust one another, and we complement one another. And that makes it all work.

2. Block Out the Noise

When it comes to running a multi-billion-dollar company, or any company really, there’s a lot of different things you could be focusing on. So Cook makes a point to differentiate what is important and what he considers to be just noise.

One great skill I have is blocking noise. And so, I typically read and listen to things that are deep and challenging and intellectual in nature—not the noise. I think if you get caught up in the noise as a CEO, you’re going to be a terrible CEO. Because there’s so much noise out there in the world that everybody’s on the sidelines saying what you should do, shouldn’t do, et cetera.

3. Apologize When You Mess Up

Even the CEO of Apple, a company known for its perfectionism and absurd attention to detail, thinks it’s okay to make mistakes. What’s important is the way you respond to a mistake.

Sometimes, when you’re running fast, you slip and you fall. And I think the best thing you can do is get back up and say, “I’m sorry.” And you try to remedy the situation, and you work like hell to make the product right. If you're probably never making a mistake, you’re probably not doing enough.

The best part of this little window into the mind of Tim Cook is that you don’t have to be the CEO of Apple to use his strategies for success in your life. Think about who you have on your “team” and what noise you could be cutting from your life. Give yourself permission to be ambitious and make mistakes. Clearly, this kind of thinking can get your pretty far in life.

Photo courtesy of SGM / Shutterstock