This week’s book of the week, Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle, is about Bill Campbell, a college football coach who eventually became one of the biggest influencers of silicon valley including Google, Apple, and Intel. “Within 9 months of joining Apple, Bill was promoted to VP of sales and marketing and given the task of Apple’s new computer that would replace the Apple II as the company’s flagship product.”¹ Remember that famous Apple Super Bowl commercial from 1984?
“He worked side by side with Steve Jobs to build Apple from near bankruptcy to a market capitalization of several hundred billion dollars. He worked side by side with Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric to build Google (now Alphabet) from a startup to a market capitalization that’s also several hundred billion dollars.”²
One of the secrets to Bill’s success was his understanding that a great leader is both a great coach and manager. In other words great leaders are both encouraging and hold themselves and others accountable. The Trillion Dollar Coach shares through this, “The path to success in a fast-moving, highly competitive, technology-driven business world is to form high performing teams and give them the resources and freedom to do great things. And an essential component of high performing teams is a leader who is both a savvy manager and a caring coach.”³ Bill’s integrity could be seen in the way he coached others. “He once sent a note to a valuable manager who was struggling, counseling him that ‘you have demanded respect, rather than having it accrue to you. You need to project humility, a selflessness, that projects that you care about the company and about people.”4
— Vigilant Poster Girl ✊🏻 ❤️ (@girl_vigilant) May 1, 2019
The Trillion Dollar Coach: A Master at Leading Teamwork
“It was no accident that Bill Campbell spent the first decade of his career coaching football, perhaps the ultimate team sport. In football, when teammates don’t work well together, not only does the team lose but people can get hurt. Over those years of playing and coaching, Bill learned that great teams need to work together, and he learned how to make that happen. Not just on the field, but in offices, hallways, and conference rooms. He came to master the art of identifying tensions among teammates and figuring out how to resolve them.”5
One reason why so many people are put off by many professional sports these days is because of these tensions. With professional sports many times the game appears to be about the individual players instead of the team as a whole. Teams that go on to do great things do them not necessarily because of the individuals, but how the team works together. I think the same is true for business as well. When there is no vision that the team can be drawn to, there is confusion and chaos. People resort back to their own personal interests whether that be as simple as the amount of hours they work, or as ambitious as to how far up the ladder they climb. Without a vision the team has no place to go to. It’s like saying “meet me here” and not giving an address or a means to get that address (now in the days thanks to google).
Which this idea, I’ll leave you with three valuable questions. Where is here? Have you effectively communicated that place to your team? Have you given them the map and means to get to “here”?
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Vigilant Poster Girl
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- Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle. pg 8
- Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle pg 21
- Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle pg 26
- Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle pg 36
- Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle pg 25