people signals

Icon

talent leadership change innovation

How great companies develop their staff – Apple

Apple is another famous brand with most of its merits coming from the intellectual capital of its workforce. Again, not much is known about Apple’s internal workings. However, the values of Apple dictate their hiring, promotion and retention strategy. Apple is known for its design aesthetics and attention to detail.

Through its brand and reputation, Apple is looking for the world-best people in design and technology. It highlights an interesting point what author Joel Spolsky call the “Hitting the High Notes”:

“The real trouble with using a lot of mediocre employees instead of a couple of good ones is that no matter how long they work, they never produce something as good as what the great employee can produce.

Five Antonio Salieris won’t produce Mozart’s Requiem. Ever. Not if they work for 100 years.

The Creative Zen team could spend years refining their ugly iPod knockoffs and never produce as beautiful, satisfying, and elegant a player as the Apple iPod. And they’re not going to make a dent in Apple’s market share because the magical design talent is just not there. They don’t have it.

The mediocre talent just never hits the high notes that the top talent hits all the time. The number of divas who can hit the f6 in Mozart’s Queen of the Night is vanishingly small, and you just can’t perform The Queen of the Night without that famous f6.

If you threw a bunch of extra programmers onto the Windows Media Player team, would they ever hit that high note? Never in a thousand years.”

Filed under: talent development, , ,