Tim Cook says this is the single most important skill that separates successful people from everyone else

Viewed in Inc.

A mere half century ago there was no company named Apple. There were no Apple Stores. There was no iPhone or iPad. There was no Mac computer. There was a man named Tim Cook, but he was only 12 years old.

Transformational company

Fast forward to 2022 and consider the fact that Apple is the most valuable company in the history of the world by market capitalization (worth $2.2 trillion as of November 2022). The company’s products have proven transformational in both the corporate world and the personal lives of over 200 million customers, the vast majority of whom are very loyal to Apple’s products and brands.

Yet, the company itself, founded in 1976, is a mere 46 years old, which raises the question: What does it take to go from nothing to being the most valuable company in world history?

Company purpose

Let’s stipulate that it takes many things, and not all of them are controllable or predictable. But it certainly takes some extraordinary employees whose entrepreneurship, customer focus, and technical skills can imagine and then construct and market products that never before existed. What does it take? It certainly starts with some exceptional people.

We look for collaboration

In a question and answer session with University of Naples students in Italy a few weeks ago, Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook answered the question of what Apple most seeks in an employee. “We look for collaboration,” Cook answered.  “We believe that one plus one equals three.

1 + 1 = 3

We believe that strong individual contributors are really key, but two strong individuals that work together can do amazing works and small teams can do incredible things. And, so we look for the ability to collaborate with people,” Cook told the group.

Creativity, curiosity and expertise

A collaborative instinct is the foremost trait that Apple seeks, Cook says, but he also cites three others: creativity, curiosity, and expertise.

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