As I said last week: The Drucker Institute’s 2020 list of the top 250 best-managed companies in America ranks companies based on their ability to integrate the five elements of success Peter Drucker identified in his research. 

1. Customer satisfaction 

2. Employee engagement and development 

3. Innovation 

4. Social responsibility 

5. Financial strength

Apple Inc.

If we accept Drucker’s analysis of the five elements that make a “best managed” company, let’s take a closer look at one of the companies at the top of the list: #2 – Apple Inc. Even on the tech-heavy 2020 list, Apple topped all other companies (IBM, Amazon, Alphabet, etc.) except Microsoft. Keeping the five success elements in mind, let’s take a closer look at how Apple does it.

Steve Jobs, the legendary founder of Apple, evolved a system of research and development for all his product development groups to ensure that all Apple products would be the best-in-class from the customer’s point-of-view. All his designers and engineers stuck closely to the following creative elements:

  1. Empathy: Trying to see the world from other people’s perspectives and creating work that fits into their lives and adapts to their needs.
  2. Inspiration: Thinking big ideas and imagining what might be possible.
  3. Collaboration: Working together well with other people and seeking to combine your complementary strengths.
  4. Craft: Applying skills to achieve high-quality results and always striving to do better.
  5. Diligence: Doing the necessary grunt work and never resorting to shortcuts or half measures.
  6. Decisiveness: Making tough choices and refusing to delay or procrastinate.
  7. Taste: Developing a refined sense of judgment and finding the balance that produces a pleasing and integrated whole

(Excerpt From: Ken Kocienda. “Creative Selection.” Apple Books.) 

What Does This Look Like in a Construction Company? 

Let’s listen to what our successful construction CEO had to say, and why we consider his organization the top-managed company in the construction industry. 


  • “We are hyper-sensitive with schedules.
  • “We select customers who are good at what they do.
  • “We tell our customer there will be less cost to them finishing on schedule without hassle than low bid will ever get them.
  • “We price what the customer wants and expects and deliver it.
  • “We spend a lot of time pricing our work.
  • “We NEVER let any outside influence impact pricing. 
  • “We would rather do less work than take cheap work.
  • “Keeping every customer and marketing to capture new ones provides automatic growth…which has been exponential for our company.
  • “We deliberately go after different types of clients so if one industry slows down, we don’t slow down with them.
  • “We know we need to learn from mistakes when everyone else wants to gloss over them.
  • “We foster relationships of truth and trust. Complaints, criticisms, and grievances are there. However, they can only do harm if you don’t get them out in the open quick enough and deal with them.


Keeping the seven creative success elements utilized at Apple in mind, try to imagine how they might apply to your construction enterprise.

Imagine – your team designing a project, preparing a proposal, settling on a bid, signing a contract, or executing the completion of a construction project in the Apple way. 

Imagine – your owners, designers, employees feeling free to think big about new possibilities and not be restricted by the old adage, “That’s the way we’ve always done it”. 

Imagine – your owners, designers, and engineers working daily with estimators, project managers, and even the lawyers to design and price the very best project from the customers point-of-view. They would no longer exist in silos, promoting ideas that satisfy their separate needs. Rather, imagine them collaborating with all experts to figure out how to best satisfy the client’s needs.

Imagine – Project managers, superintendents, foremen, and craftsmen all focused on expertise and quality workmanship.

Imagine – No one in your company satisfied with just good enough but always working diligently to improve their contribution to the collective effort.

Imagine – Your decision-makers all the way down the line confident that you will respect their decisions even when they make a mistake.

Imagine – Everyone in your organization knowing exactly what your company stands for. 

To quote Steve Jobs: 

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes … 

They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”