In Joyce, Nohria, and Roberson’s “4+2 Formula” for business success, there are four primary practices in which all businesses must excel in order to be successful: strategy, execution, culture, and structure. Interestingly, Joyce, et al. do not define any best practices for the 4+2 formula. For example, the study suggests developing a “high-performance culture” (De Kluyver & Pearce, 2012, p. 22) that encourages employees to perform at their very best. There is no single best way to achieve this culture, but successful companies all seem to have it. Generally speaking, all of the four primary practices are defined in a similar manner. According to Joyce, Nohria, and Roberson, all great companies must develop a strategy that promotes growth, executes that growth strategy without deviation, adopts a culture of superior performance and ethical behavior, and implements a structure that improves execution rather than inhibits it (De Kluyver & Pearce, 2012). Suffice it to say, this is exactly the sort of advice you hear in any MBA program in the US.
The more interesting part of the 4+2 formula, and the part that has really set Apple apart in the recent past, is implementation of two secondary practices. Joyce, Nohria, and Roberson’s study found that successful business superbly implemented at least two of the following practices: talent, innovation, leadership, and mergers and partnerships (De Kluyver & Pearce, 2012). Obviously, all of Apple’s fiercest rivals successfully implemented the four primary practices. Apple’s rise to the top, though, can be attributable to its masterful implementation of innovation and leadership. Interestingly, the proof of this can be found in Apple’s recent stumbles and their direct link to faltering innovation and leadership. Apple’s rise really began with introduction of innovative hand-held devices; namely the iPod, iPad, and iPhone. These devices were unlike anything else on the market and pulled the market in the direction Apple wanted. Similarly, with their iconic leader, Steve Jobs, at the helm, it appeared that Apple could do no wrong. Jobs’s style of creating products people should want rather than what they said they wanted drove Apple’s highly successful innovation. The passing of Steve Jobs has seen Apple’s innovation slip as they continue to produce less exciting revisions on their existing innovations. Additionally, the new leadership style of Tim Cook is much more traditional. Although he is still a good business leader, his leadership style makes Apple a different company (Lewis, 2013). In order for Apple to recover under their current leadership, they need to recapture the innovation that has made them an industry leader for the last decade.
De Kluyver, C. & Pearce, J. (2012). Strategy: A View From the Top (4th ed.). Boston: Prentice Hall.
Lewis, M. (2013). The Real Reason Behind Apple’s Fall From Grace. Retrieved September 1, 2015