By: Kaylon Blake

Soooo….I really needed a new pair of headphones but was torn between purchasing the Apple Airpods or the Beats by Dre. I really wanted the Beats, but they were too expensive. On the flipside, I didn’t want to buy the Airpods because I felt like I’d lose them and I felt like they looked stupid (lol).

Fast forward…. I purchased the Airpods and fell in love with them. I used them in the car, cleaning around the house, and walking around in the stores. Shortly after purchasing them, I decided to take a Saturday trip to the mall. While walking the mall and jamming to the new Ella Mae album, I see a friend of mine and took the Airpods out and started walking/talking with my friend. Twenty minutes later, I immediately freaked out because I had no idea where my Airpods were and retraced all of my steps only to come up empty-handed. I was mad as hell! In the midst of my frustration, I was plotting on how I would get a new pair. I figured it was time to pay Apple a visit, so I went to the nearest Apple store to see if they offered replacements and I started talking to this really nice representative named Conrad. He told me that the cost to replace the actual headphones was almost the same amount of a whole new pair… talk about being devastated. At this point, I’m sitting in the store trying to devise an Airpod replacement plan because I knew that I could not go back home without those headphones, but I didn’t want to spend another $150.00. I gazed at my wrist, saw my Apple watch and all of a sudden the light bulb came on. Since I didn’t use my apple watch as much as I used those headphones, I ask Conner could I sell my Apple watch to the store, to buy a new set of Airpods. He replied, “Yea, sure”. We went through that whole exercise, and long story short I got my replacement Airpods.

As I was driving home, I started laughing at myself and realized that I was willing to sell the watch off my wrist to get another set of Airpods….and actually did it. My thoughts also turned to Apple, the Apple brand and how it all relates to leadership. Since we all should be willing to improve ourselves in this world, here are a few things that we can learn from Apple to strengthen our organizations, our chapters, and our brand.

  • Enhance your product from year to year. Apple did not create cell phones, watches, computers, and headphones… but they have certainly perfected them. They do a new thing with old things, and they keep us coming back… product after product.
  • Apple identifies the need and develops a new feature or a new product around that need. It is not about what we’ve been doing for years, it’s about what we need to do to keep people around.
  • Everything is easy with Apple. Think about it for a second. If you leave your wallet at home, there’s APPLE PAY (Ha ha). You can unlock your house door from your phone with the right software. They do not have a lot of hoops to jump through or a lot of processes, and they certainly don’t make things really complex (as some of our student organizations have been known to do… clears throat).
  • You can wear jeans and a t-shirt to work! The work atmosphere in Apple is laid back and they seem to have fun. They are smiling and friendly, and even play/make music with the products. Their energy in contagious.
  • They know what they hell they are talking about. Representative know as much as possible about their products, EVEN THE NEW ONES, and can tell you the benefits. Their knowledge makes for an easy sale and makes you want to come back.

Whether we are talking about personal branding or strengthening an organization, we have to ask ourselves a few questions. Are we getting better from year to year, or are we resting on a legacy? Are we meeting the needs of our community or are we doing the same ole thing? Are we simplifying the process or making it harder? If you were the last person in the organization and had to sell the group to a stranger, would they buy it? Finally, do you create an environment that is fun and makes people want to engage?

Let’s talk more about Apple Leadership.

Kaylon Blake speakers on leadership, diversity, and organizational development. Learn more at campuspeak.com/kaylon-blake