Rhetoric

Apple's really cool rhetoric is ready for an overhaul

November 27, 2013: 10:31 AM ET

Is Angela Ahrendts the speaker who will lift Apple from the rhetorical hole Steve Jobs dug?

FORTUNE -- Tim Cook, as he would be first to admit, was not born with Steve Jobs' gift for gab.

But it doesn't help that he -- and the rest of Apple's (AAPL) senior staff -- still talk as if there were no adjectives in the English language but the handful that Jobs used again and again.

Apple's rhetoric already felt impoverished in 2009, when the attached YouTube clip was made. In Tim Cook's flat Southern drawl, it's dead on arrival.

Angela Ahrendts, photographed in London

Burberry's Ahrendts

It's a wise CEO who recognizes when something's not working -- even if it's his own stage performances -- which is one of the reasons many Apple watchers saw his hire of Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as a good omen.

Ahrendts has been brought on to run Apple's retail operations, but she also has the makings of a first-rate frontwoman.

Not all the videos I posted when Ahrendts was first hired are as slick as the promo she did for Salesforce (See 'THIS is the entry into the brand'). Her 2010 commencement speech at Ball State was a shadow of the one Jobs gave five years earlier at Stanford (and which she says inspired her).

But her recent LinkedIn posts suggest that she might just have a gift that Apple lost when Steve Jobs died. Here she is writing, appropriately enough, about how a well-managed company hands over the reins to a new leader.

Too often management transitions are viewed with fear or suspicion, when they should be the ultimate example of a natural and healthy organizational evolution. In fact, I believe succession planning is one of the greatest responsibilities you have as a leader -- so when your time comes to move on, your team not only doesn't miss a beat but gains in momentum, embracing new challenges and realizing future opportunities.

Shouldn't our ambition as leaders be to make a transition something to be celebrated rather than merely managed? And isn't the reality that a successful transition could in fact be your greatest legacy?

See what I mean? One hundred and two words and not one "incredible," "awesome" or "really cool."

LINK: Why a Successful Transition is a Great Legacy.

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