The NY Times has a brief interview with Yukari Kane, author of Haunted Empire, in which she contrasts the leadership styles of Steve Jobs and Tim Cook. Interestingly, while many see Cook as laid-back in contrast to the driven nature of the company’s co-founder, Kane says that both share an intensity.
I don’t think of Tim as laid back. In fact, he’s extremely intense. His intensity is just more quiet and dogged than Steve’s.
There is, of course, the obligatory anecdote to illustrate the obsession with detail and demands Jobs would make on his team.
Jobs routinely made a habit of calling people back mid-vacation [...] for example, people had to work on Christmas Day because he decided he wanted a different color iPod shuffle at the last minute.
Despite her book’s contention that Apple is lost without Steve, she does acknowledge the strengths that Cook brings to the role.
Cook is also a better internal communicator. He sends out more all-staff emails and holds more town hall meetings. He also understands that people need to take vacations and have down time [...]
Cook brings more efficiency and organization to Apple, which is good because the company’s increased size and scale requires a professional, consistent leadership style that is more inclusive than Steve Jobs’s was.
But doesn’t waste any time in returning to her theme.
In terms of profits and revenues, there is no question that Apple continues to be a successful company. But Apple’s own definition of success is much more. Its promise is to be exceptional – to make insanely great products that change the world. The latter is difficult to do without Steve Jobs’s reality distortion field. [...] If Apple stays on the current trajectory, I think the danger is that it could turn into Sony.