Apple, the American technology giant has constantly been in the news in the last couple of months – for the good reasons. Consider the following: 
1.       In May 2010, it overtook Microsoft to become the world’s biggest technology company
Apple overtake Microsoft as biggest technology company”- BBC, 27th May, 2010.
2.       In May 2011, it overtook Google to become the world’s most valuable brand.
Apple usurps Google as world’s most valuable brand”- Reuters, 9th May, 2011
3.       In July 2011, it overtook Nokia to become the world’s biggest smartphone maker.
Apple overtakes Nokia in smartphone stakes”- Financial Times, 21st July, 2011.
4.       In August 2011, it overtook HP to become the biggest player in the mobile PC market.
Apple overtakes HP to take top spot in mobile PC market share”- MacDailyNews, 19th August, 2011.
5.       In August, 2011, it became as big as Europe’s 32 top banks combined.
Apple as big as Europe’s 32 top banks- combined”- CNBC, 19th August, 2011.
6.       In August 2011, it overtook ExxonMobil to become the world’s biggest company.
Apple pips Exxon as world’s biggest company”- The Guardian, 9th August, 2011.
For a company that has been in existence for less than 40 years, these are by no means ordinary achievements. What vital lessons then does the ascendancy of Apple from obscurity to global prominence teach that you and I can immediately apply to our personal and professional lives?
i.         Deliver good results- Apple got to where it is today primarily on the strength of the success of its products in the global market of which the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad are particularly notable. Regardless of your field of operation, what determines your compensations primarily is the quality of results you produce. The earlier you recognize this, the better. The compensations you attract in life will be determined more by the results you produce than the efforts you make. Results— the outcomes of the efforts you apply; the qualities you possess as a person; the problems you solve, prevent or mitigate; the good you make happen; whatever you do well or are known to be able to do well with your potential and the resources at your disposal; the tasks you perform and the needs you meet, constitute your golden key to maximizing destiny.
ii.       Never give in to setbacks- Apple has not always had it easy. Very few people remember that just 14 years ago, the company nearly went bankrupt. Had it gone under then, it would have become history today. I recall to mind the words of the great British essayist, Thomas Fuller who once said, “Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement and impossibilities. It is this that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”  In the drive to achieve or sustain desired success in any area of life— career, finance, marriage, relationships, leadership, goal achievement, personal health or happiness, there will always be obstacles to such aspirations. What most people do at such moments is to give in but by giving in they never reach their destination.
iii.      Maximize success by constantly pursuing new goals: Notwithstanding the widespread accolade that greeted Apple’s iPhone arrival in 2007 including being named as Time Magazine Gadget of the Year coupled with the outstanding success of its iPods and Macintosh line of PCs, the company never rested on its laurels but continues to deliver innovative products that leave its competitors trying to catch up. This is the stuff champions are made of and a principal requirement for maximizing success— a relentless commitment to new goals.  Evidently, it is not only the tragedies and failures of the past that hold people back, past successes when not put in the context of what they really are—that they are already in the past, can equally hold people back. By not building on their initial success, many people of great potential fail to become exceptionally successful in life. When people refuse to become complacent however, they start as ordinary people, make progress to become a resounding success and from being successful, they end up as great.
iv.     Leadership matters- The success story of Apple cannot be told without a reference to its Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Steve Jobs. Steve’s input in management, product design and development has played a profound role in Apple’s success story. I echoed John Maxwell’s sentiment to the effect that everything rises and falls on leadership when I wrote in my book, A Life of Impact that “The quality of life or state of affairs experienced in a domain is directly tied to the quality of its leadership. It is always to detriment of any entity— organisation, family, community or nation to be led by incompetent leaders.  If a place is not experiencing progress, we should check the quality of its leaders. This is because the prosperity of an entity is not unconnected with the quality of its leaders. No business, organisation or society progresses beyond the quality of its leaders.”
v.       Success is gradual- Apple did not get to where it is today in one day. The journey began in 1976, some 35 years back! Contrary to what many people think, there is no such thing as instant success. Good success is achieved only when the conditions to achieve it have been met in the length of time required. Success demands repeated application of diligent and intelligent efforts— doing the same thing again and again until desired results are obtained. This is a recurring theme in Darren Hardy’s book, The Compound Effect who posits that there is no magic bullet, secret formula or quick fix to achieving success.

Written by : Ayo Adebamowo

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