Leadership as an act of faith
Apple CEO Tim Cook said recently that there are some amazing things coming from Apple. His statement reminded me that more than anything else leadership is an act of faith.
Whether we are employees of Apple, investors in Apple, or consumers of Apple products, we want to believe in Tim Cook’s promise—that the journey will end in amazement, not only that our dreams will be fulfilled but that they will be reimagined. We came to expect that kind of magic from Cook’s predecessor. We weren’t sure what magic Steve Jobs would unveil next, but we learned from his string of successes to have faith that he and Apple would deliver.
And that’s what we hope for from any leader we choose to follow. Cook’s statement reminds us that whereas management is more science than art, leadership is more art than science. It is the ability to raise people’s hopes, to elevate their aspirations and give them confidence that the journey will end well, because life and work are about achievement, not motion, about striving for more than you are today and having confidence in your leader’s ability to achieve that goal.
We follow leaders not because they have a precise map of the territory ahead but because they offer a vision of a place that has not been mapped but which is compelling and perhaps even magical. We don’t know what amazing things Cook has in mind, but we’re intrigued. Apple has astonished us before. Now, with Cook at the helm, we hope Apple will astonish us again.
His confident pronouncement urges us to have faith that that will happen. Now he needs to deliver. If he does, our faith in him will be rewarded, and the next time he promises something amazing we will find ourselves uplifted both by our anticipation of what lies ahead and our faith that he will take us there.