One of the finest leaders in the USA, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, says the ecosystem is your job! In the Washington Post article of 8/14/16, he reflected on the “incredible responsibility to the employees of the company, to the communities and countries that the company operates in, to the people who assemble its products, and to developers.”
Further, the man who stepped into the role upon the death of Steve Jobs, the genius founder, and who guided Apple to its recent one billionth iPhone sale, Cook sees his role as accountable for the whole, for the ecosystem of Apple!
What is an ecosystem?
All definitions agree on several characteristics:
- Group of interconnected and interacting elements
- All living things and the non-living environment in which they exist and interact
- A community characterized by interdependence
So Tim Cook sees the leader as responsible for the whole system, not just the profits or the market share or the client satisfaction – for the whole!
How might this apply to all businesses and be useful to the leaders who head them? The key is paying attention to the right things in your world.
Whether one is the head of a small “mom and pop” grocery store, a non-profit health system or a pharmaceutical manufacturer, what leaders pay attention to guides awareness of opportunities as well as problems to solve.
Here are some tips:
Identify all the parts of your ecosystem: employees, customers, programs, products, servicers, facilities, competitors, regulators, other stakeholders, and on and on. Clearly, too much for one leader to monitor daily!
On any day, recognize the short list of essential elements in the ecosystem since you cannot focus on everything at once.
Do you have talented, dedicated people to help? If not, the priority is to get them and fast.
What can you delegate? How effective are you at involving others and letting them have room to function while you keep track of the results.
Do you convey appreciation for their efforts?
Regularly step back and reflect on the whole ecosystem and ask yourself if you are being guided by Tim Cook’s insight and example.