The Apple Way Management Lessons : 7. Built The Cult (Jeffrey L Cruikshank) by Yudha Argapratama

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Let’s pull together and summarize what might be called our lessons in cult building (and not cult building):

Bring the Jesuits around, and the rest of the church will follow.

You don’t have to get everybody to join the cult. You just have to get the smartest, most connected, and most committed people to sign up. (Think Opus Dei.) They’ll do the rest.

Eventually, your cult needs great products from you.

This is both the starting point and the sustaining point. Apple’s cult has been willing and able to defend the company in its darkest hours, but grit and passion can only go so far. Eventually, you have to come up with the next reason to believe: the iMac, the iPod, and so on.

Get your customers to provide their own technical support—and to keep saying nice things about you, too.

It’s very strange but true: Apple figured out (or backed into) a way to get people to pay high prices for computers, and then teach other people how to use them—and meanwhile, spend their spare time proselytizing in every direction about how great Macs were.  (Which they were. But so are BMWs, and would you ever dream of joining a BMW users’ group?)

Don’t pay your advisory board’s airfares.

If they’re really committed, they’ll pay their own way. Well, at least they will if they’re members of the Apple User Groups’ Advisory Board. In exchange for the occasional free dinner and a key chain, highly skilled people get to donate even more free time to Apple. It’s an honor.

Let the cult be your truth squad—within bounds.

No zombies, please. First, hire a skilled evangelist. Then have that evangelist point your legions at individuals—particularly in the media—who appear to have it in for you. While not really annoying the Fifth Estate—for example, by not totally loosing the zombies on them— let the reporters know that you’re watching their coverage. Let them know when you think they’re being unfair. Oh, go ahead; loose the zombies on them.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son. The jaws that bite! The claws that catch!”

OK, so Lewis Carroll didn’t have Mac fanatics in mind when he wrote of the Jabberwock. But remember that firing up a bunch of wired, committed fanatics tends to cut both ways. If you make a mistake, they may well come after you, eyes ablaze and pitchforks in hand. Or, they may come after you even if you haven’t made a mistake, but you simply haven’t met their expectations. Cultists can be like that.

Source : The Apple Way. 12 Management Lessons from the World’s Most Innovative Company. Jeffrey L. Cruikshank.McGraw-Hill. 2006

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