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What’s Preventing Honeywell From Being the Next Apple

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In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, Honeywell CEO David Cote shared how he wanted the 65-brand conglomerate to become the Apple of the industrial sector. “We really spend a lot of time on saying, ‘how do you become better and better with all your processes?’ because everything always comes down to people and process,” Cote says.

Far be it for me to argue with Honeywell’s success over the past few years; the stock has gained 123% over the last five years but growing a stock value and creating an Apple-esque position are two different things. What many CEOs overlook is that it is not the product or the service that creates the type of love that apple enjoys, it’s the potential and outcome of what those products create.

Apple is not in the business of making or selling computers and devices. Instead, they are in the business of empowering creative exploration and self-expression. Had they thought of themselves in the computer business 10 years ago would we have seen an iPhone, Apple watch, iPad and more? Each of these devices empowers creative exploration and self-expression … each of these devices helps us as consumers fulfill our individual personal pursuits.

Apple’s purpose drives more decisions than the products they sell. It informs how they layout stores, craft the user experience on the devices, think about packaging and more. In the end, is there anything more self-expressive than music?

So while Honeywell may be a financially successful juggernaut in the industrial world, they will need to identify and articulate their purpose as a company and activate this in everything they do in order to have a chance at becoming an Apple.

Until then, they will continue to return value to shareholders but they’re unlikely to command the same emotional commitment that they talk of pursuing.

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