Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc. is amongst the most revered CEOs in the world today. But how does he think? I decided to analyze the thinking he revealed during Apple’s 2013, 2014, and 2015 first quarter conference calls when faced with probing analysts.
I rated each word, phrase, and sentence according to our Hierarchy of Thinking Styles (from Optimal Thinking, extraordinary positive thinking, moderate positive thinking, moderate negative thinking, extraordinary negative thinking, to totally negative thinking).
To anyone who follows Apple’s performance under Cook’s leadership, the results were not surprising.
Time and again, Tim Cook presents himself as an extraordinary positive thinker. He often uses words like “phenomenal”, “amazing”, “impressive”, “remarkable”, “exceptional”, and “staggering”. He also uses phrases like “exceptional growth”, “incredibly pleased”, “stellar quarter”, and “unprecedented customer experience”.
Extraordinary positive thinkers focus on being more than ordinary, unusually great, and outstanding. They like to explore and resolve problems and challenges, especially when others have given up or believe that the problem can’t be solved. They love to figure out how to make the impossible work. Their high energy and enthusiasm enables them to sell ideas, products and services to others. Because they are creative, flexible, and welcome change, they will find unconventional ways to help teams perform exceptionally well.
They are motivated by being more than ordinary, different from the norm, remarkable, and exceptional.
Although there are differences in how people react to situations, extraordinary positive thinkers will feel upset if they are ignored when they expect recognition for their efforts. They will also become upset if their performance is mediocre. They do not like their freedom being restricted by traditional options and when forced to conform, they can feel trapped. They do not like rigidity, strict rules and guidelines, or having to observe traditions.
Extraordinary positive thinkers demonstrate a bias towards unusual constructive actions that produce a remarkable difference.
Optimal Thinking is the mental basis of individual and corporate peak performance. This realistic thinking style enables us to maximize any decision, process, communication, and situation.
Cook uses Optimal Thinking to define his commitment to quality.
As I’ve said before, our objective has always been to make the best, not the most. And we feel we’re doing that.
Optimal Thinking is deployed to articulate Apple’s greatest accomplishments.
we’ve been selling with China Mobile now for about a week, and last week was the best week for activations we’ve ever had in China.
Cook also uses Optimal Thinking to optimize Apple’s innovation initiatives.
We have zero issue coming up with things we want to do that we think we can disrupt in a major way. The challenge is always to focus to the very few that deserve all of our energy. And we’ve always done that, and we’re continuing to do that.
If you would like to conclusively assess your thinking and compare it to how Tim Cook thinks, take the Optimal Thinking 360 Assessment now. I developed this assessment for my executive coaching clients over the course of 26 years. More than one million executives and 6500 companies have used this assessment to discover their dominant thinking style, hierarchy of thinking, core motivation, decision-making and communication styles, and how to best deal with others. You can take this assessment (designed for desktops and tablets) on your own as a Self-Optimization Assessment or with team members as a 360 to confirm your strengths and weaknesses, uncover your blind spots, and make the most of every situation.
If you would like to nominate a well-known leader for a thinking analysis, feel free to include them in your comments below.