The Clock Builder vs. The Time Teller Thumbnail

One of the most unpleasant classes in business school was “Organizational Behavior.”  Something about the teacher just bummed me out.  I’ll admit I don’t remember much from the class except for one thing that has driven me to try and lead the Yakezie forward.  The one thing was to understand the difference between being a “Clock Builder” and a “Time Teller.”


When one thinks of the most prestigious management consulting company in the world, one thinks of the firm McKinsey & Co.  It’s practically impossible to get in, with their difficult situational interviews and consensus driven philosophy.  They easily pay their fresh undergraduates $80,000 and MBA hires $200,000+ after their first year, which results in one of the reasons why McKinsey is perennially ranked a Top 10 most desirable places to work.  Many McKinsey employees move on to work for their clients, and a great many of them end up rising to C-level executives as well.

McKinsey & Co is run by Clock Builders.  The organization is structured so that if one of the leaders moves on, the firm’s direction and organization carries on seamlessly.  The people of McKinsey & Co. are all driven by the same ideals, while possessing the same zeal to get things done in an honorable way.  Wealth is spread broadly across the entire organization so that as many people can flourish as possible.


Apple is likely one of the greatest success stories over the past decade.  How could it not be, from almost bust to now possessing a market cap of over $230 billion dollars!  I’ve got a Macbook and an iPhone and will probably be a Mac user for life now.  They’ve got me, and they’ve got many of you good too.  With brilliant marketing, and products that are aesthetically pleasing and simple to use, there’s little doubt Apple will continue to succeed, or will it?

Imagine one day Steve Jobs leaves Apple.  He doesn’t even have the ability to be a part-time consultant.  He’s shut out, doing something else.  What do you think would happen to Apple Computer’s share price as a result?  I’d bet my bottom dollar the stock would correct by over 10% on the news alone.  So much of Apple is Steve Jobs, they are synonymous, and if you cut off the head the body may wither.

Apple has done a less than ideal job at creating itself as a Clock Builder largely because Steve Jobs is so great.  Can anybody name someone other than Steve Jobs who is a senior leader at Apple?  Doubtful because they are Time Tellers and only a handful of people have benefited greatly from their rise.  Meanwhile, nobody knows who runs McKinsey & Co, and that’s because it doesn’t really matter since anybody can run the firm!


As I look around the Yakezie, what I see are Clock Builders.  You are the people who embody the spirit of the Yakezie through your involvement and your tireless efforts to help others.  The goal of creating this site has always been to allow for a platform of community where each of us is your greatest fan.  “To try and always see the good in others,” is my 4th New Year’s resolution and I think that’s what’s happening here.

If my plane goes down, there won’t even be a blip in the Yakezie because we’ve implemented good protocol, and injected a spirit that all of us subscribe to and strive for.  We are all leaders on our respective sites as well as right here.  We are going to make a difference.  I know we are!

Members and readers, what are some of your tips for effective leadership?  What are some of the things you want to see more of from leaders?  Can leadership skills be taught, or are people naturally the way they are?  What about creating about creating a hybrid between a Clock builder and Time Teller for the Yakezie?



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