Excerpt From New Book Offers Look at Tim Cook's Management Style
The Wall Street Journal today published a new excerpt from former WSJ reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane's new book Haunted Empire, Apple After Steve Jobs, offering a new look into the management style of Tim Cook.
Kane notes that when Cook started at Apple in 1998, he set high expectations for everyone working for him, asking them to act like Apple was a $20 billion company when they were a $6 billion company and to procure the best yields, delivery and prices on components.
To some, Cook was a machine; to others, he was riveting. He could strike terror in the hearts of his subordinates, but he could also motivate them to toil from dawn to midnight for just a word of praise.
Cook ran his operations meetings in an orderly and disciplined fashion, going through every item and finding any possible error in meetings that could last up to six hours long. These meetings, according to Kane, could sometimes be terrifying for employees.
Meetings with Cook could be terrifying. He exuded a Zenlike calm and didn't waste words. "Talk about your numbers. Put your spreadsheet up," he'd say as he nursed a Mountain Dew. (Some staffers wondered why he wasn't bouncing off the walls from the caffeine.) When Cook turned the spotlight on someone, he hammered them with questions until he was satisfied. "Why is that?" "What do you mean?" "I don't understand. Why are you not making it clear?" He was known to ask the same exact question 10 times in a row.
Unlike Jobs, Cook apparently used deafening silence when he wasn't happy with something. For instance, the excerpt explains an incident where someone was unable to answer one of Cook's questions so Cook didn't say a word and let the silence fester, causing everyone in the room to stare at the table. The atmosphere of the room would grow to intense levels as Cook kept his eyes on the person who wasn't able to answer until Cook pulled out an energy bar from his pocket to eat as he waited for an answer.
However, once Cook became CEO he made moves to make Apple feel more open internally than it had under Jobs. He opted to communicate with employees more often via emails and town-hall meetings. And, unlike Jobs, who opted to have lunch with Jony Ive, Cook would have lunch at the cafeteria and introduce himself to employees he didn't know and ask to eat with them.
Haunted Empire, Apple After Steve Jobs will be published on March 18.