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The 3 things Tim Cook focuses on every day

by | Jun 11, 2013 | Focus

Takeaway: Every day Tim Cook focuses on people, strategy, and execution, and you should think about doing the same!

Estimated Reading Time: 1 minute, 26s.

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If there is one tech company that’s focused, it’s Apple. Tim Cook once said, “We say ‘no’ to good ideas every day in order to keep the amount of things we focus on very small. You could put all the products Apple sells on one table, yet it is a $40 billion dollar company [in revenue]”.1

Recently Tim Cook sat down with the dean of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University (where Cook went to College). Cook mentioned that a person should, at most, focus on two or three things, at which point the interviewer naturally spun the question around and asked what three things Cook focuses on every day.

Every day, Tim Cook focuses on three things:2

  1. People – In his line of work, Cook looks for “the most brilliant [..] wicked-smart people that collaborate well together”.
  2. Strategy – According to Cook, your actions should feed into a bigger picture
  3. Execution – Cook likes to run a company that’s “executing like crazy”

In business school, they really tried to hammer into my head the importance of strategy. It’s where all of your actions should come from – if they don’t come from there, you’re just thrashing around blindly. At the same time it’s crucial that you act on your strategy, or else you’ll end up dreaming all day without actually doing anything. And you will hardly ever work alone – people are the glue that bind strategy and execution together, and if you’re a manager or a leader, they’re the very people who do the ‘execution’ for you.

Regardless of whether you’re the CEO of the world’s biggest tech giant, or whether you’re a sexy part-time model, I don’t think it’s possible to underestimate the importance of people, strategy and execution.

This idea works well with the ‘Rule of 3’, which says that you will become more productive when you focus on only 3 things or less every day (and month, and year). To read that article (it’s a quickie), click here.

Featured image courtesy of Brandon Carson.


  1. Source: http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/02/24/audio-tim-cook-talking-about-apple 

  2. Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ymQPf3QAF4 

Written by Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey has written hundreds of articles on the subject of productivity and is the author of two books: Hyperfocus and The Productivity Project. His books have been published in 27 languages. Chris writes about productivity on this site and speaks to organizations around the globe on how they can become more productive without hating the process.

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