The single most annoying criticism that people have about Apple CEO Tim Cook is that he isn’t running the company like Steve Jobs would have run it. While it’s undoubtably true that Cook is running Apple much differently than the way Jobs ran it, Cook doesn’t have much of an option — he’s just not a charismatic visionary like Jobs and there’s nothing he can do to change that.
That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have strengths of his own, however. A new profile of Cook in The Wall Street Journal points out that Jobs apparently told Cook before passing away that he should never ask himself “What would Steve Jobs do?” when making a key decision about Apple’s future.
“I’ve abided by that [advice],” Cook recently explained. “I think [Jobs] did that because I think he wanted to relieve what might have been an enormous burden on me. Because of that, I’ve always been able to kind of block that question.”
Because Cook isn’t Jobs, he knows that he can’t get away with running Apple as an autocratic dictator figure as Jobs often did. Instead, he’s decided to build consensus and foster cooperation among the considerable talent at his disposal, including Jony Ive, Craig Federighi, Eddy Cue and Phil Schiller. The Journal reports that “while Mr. Jobs pitted executives against each other, Mr. Cook is more of a consensus builder,” which “has contributed to slower decision making at times, but it has also reduced the chaos that sometimes surrounded Mr. Jobs’ management style.”