One of the most admired and valuable firms (both in terms of brand value and market value) is also one of the most closed when it comes to the way it is organised. Secrecy seems the middle name of this icon of design: Apple.
The beauty of the Apple products and their usability are nearly beyond discussion. Whether this beauty is mirrored in the organisation remains mostly a big question mark. Recently Fortune Magazine revealed some insights on the management of Apple, although not confirmed by the organisation.
What stroke me as remarkable is the unity of the company. It is managed as one entity, an entity of 50.000 people. Everything comes together in one inner circle of executives each responsible for a part/function of the organisation. This group of executives meets weekly (it is sought) to discuss all important projects. Every week the whole company is reviewed, discussed and planned. And with very clear and direct responsibilities, the execution is fast and not hindered by any kinds of organisational layers that characterises many ‘normal’ organisations. This undivided one is also shown in the way the P&L is set up. There is only one P&L, the nearly 100 billion dollar P&L of Apple!
This managing as one looks like a very remarkable and unusual way to organise such a large corporation. At first sight.
It may as well be key to what Steve Jobs described, when asked to explain the way Apple is managed, as Apple being run like a start-up. And it might proof to be equally important to the development of integrated products with a complete and unique user experience, marketed in powerful and secretive ways.
The concept of the undivided one has, in many aspects, made Apple a company hors catégorie.
A very strong theme, uncompromisingly applied, can be a source of beauty. And therein lies the beauty of the management of one .