Apple is iconic, as beloved as God, mom and…well, Apple, forget the pie.

Apple was once known as the alternative tech company.

But has it become mainstream?

And is it losing its edge, changing in the wrong ways?

Could Apple become the next Sony?


Today Apple is the most valuable company of all time  but its stock has recently dropped 20% in value.

It is the 800 pound gorilla of technology. Analysts, consumers and competitors alike closely monitor not only what is Apple is doing, but what is it rumored to be doing.

The iconic Steve Jobs is gone and has left the company in capable hands, but they’re not Job’s hands. Can Tim Cook–or anyone for that matter–fill the watchmaker’s shoes?

What of the recent leadership shake-up at company headquarters, the decision to abandon Google Maps and replace it with an inferior option, and the heated competition coming Apple’s way on both tablet and smart-phone fronts?

Apple fans say it produces insanely great products, both in design and functionality but not everyone outside the tribe agrees.

And Apple never was nor ever will be the low cost alternative in any of their marketspace.

(On a personal note, I am an Apple user, from my iPhone 5 to my office and home systems to the iPads my kids use in school. That is not to say I’m as fanatical a fan as many. We’ve had three catastrophic failures on two our of office machines that have cost significant time and money. And my new iPhone 5 has already required a trip to the Apple store. If there is a silver lining in my travails, it is the generally terrific customer service I’ve received when there is a problem.)

So here’s the test: what would you do?

If you were in charge at Apple what strategies would you pursue? What would you do differently? Brand? Positioning?  Pick your three best suggestions and weigh in with your comments. The individual who contributes the best ideas (which I will subjectively choose) will receive a free book of his or her choice and some other learning resources.



Mark Sanborn
About Mark Sanborn

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international bestselling author and noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and change. Mark Sanborn graduated cum laude from The Ohio State University. In addition to his work as a business educator and author, Mark continues to be an active leadership practitioner. Most recently he served as the president of the National Speakers Association.

2 Responses to Leadership Lab: Test Your Acumen on Superstar Apple
  1. The only experience I have with Apple is my iPhone and hearsay from others and the news.
    Though technology is a brilliant new way to integrate with our fast pace life as it is today, simplicity is always favorable. As in the ONE charging cord for all devices.
    The main advice I would say off the top of my head without giving me time to seek wise counsel would be, Think Quality. As you have continued to endure due to their “terrific customer service”, their product needs to continue to keep up with its original uniqueness and this will keep them ahead of the game. It seems they are trying to spit out product to keep up with the competition, not to keep up with their reputation.
    If they desire for us to continue to pay high dollar for their great product, then stop and evaluate the source of the downfall, and focus on being great. Is it management, quality parts etc? Remove all the bugs before presenting a product out to the multitudes, that is going to have an issue in the first year of usage. Word of mouth from customers that are saying ANYTHING negative automatically puts negative thoughts in others minds and they may choose the completion for less money. They will expect problems with a product that cost less but if they pay less and it works better than the higher cost item. Need I say more, other than to slow down and evaluate everything to give us a quality product.

  2. I’d follow the example Steve Jobs left and go from there. As a transitional leader it can be tempting to want to establish your own legacy, but you run the risk of leaving one of bringing down the walls that were built. This leads another to picking up the pieces rather than extending and reaching to the next level. Jobs modeled giving people what they didn’t even know they wanted. This should be the focus, rather than trying to fit in with everyone else. That’s a setup to winding up playing catch up. Innovation is born out of the mold set by Steve Jobs and that is what the next CEO should be doing.


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