May 31, 2012 — by: Karl Johnson

Adam Lashinsky, the senior editor at CNN Money wrote an in-depth article on Tim Cook and how he is changing Apple. Adam does a good job of giving us insight into Mr Cook. Tim is much more personal in his interactions than Steve was. But he is also more operational and focused on meeting with investors and keeping the company running as efficiently as possible.

When he was COO, it was Tim’s job to meet with the investors, since Steve had no interest in that part of the business. The rest of the article looks at how Mr Cook is changing Apple. As Mr Lashinsky points out, Tim has received a company with great momentum. So when will Tim really be tested as CEO?

Mr Lashinsky writes that Apple has become more open and much more corporate. This fits with Tim Cook, since his strength is operations. In this area, Tim will continue to make improvements to Apple’s culture and customer relations. Improving customer relations through better communications will help keep more customers. Changing Apple’s culture to become more collaborative would also energize and keep employees.

Change is constant especially under a new CEO. Tim Cook can take Apple two directions with his operational expertise. He can let supply and operational managers have more and more control over the design process which would slow or even stop innovation. Another direction would be to let the engineers and designers, like Jony Ive, have full control of new products as it was under Steve Jobs. While letting designers control design, Tim could concentrate on improving efficiencies on the operational and relation side. This direction could propel Apple to new heights by keeping Apple’s strengths and improving its weaknesses.

No CEO can do it all. If Tim Cook has figured that out by sticking to what he knows best and letting those like Ive handle his weak areas, then he can bring Apple to even higher levels. Yet, if he tries to bring operational control into research and design, he will weaken the companies greatest strength. Lets hope Tim understands what’s at stake.

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