Leader at Google
Nuggets from the
Sports to Business to Coaching
Alan speaks about Bill Campbell’s journey and the various transitions he has been through – from being a Football Coach to becoming a Business Executive to Leadership Coaching where he worked with several luminaries such as Steve Jobs, Founders of Google, Eric Schmidt, Sheryl Sandberg, Al Gore. He also speaks about how Bill transitioned from one canvas to another and what stayed the same across these stints.
Building trust as a Coach
Alan speaks about some of the things that Bill Campbell did to earn the trust of the leaders he worked with. This is all the more incredible as he worked simultaneously with leaders who were involved in an intense competition in the market-place. He also speaks about the fact that Bill had made his money and did this as a service. He alludes to Bill’s radical candour which is encapsulated in the phrase “I don’t take cash; I don’t take stock and I don’t take s**t”.
Coaching a Team
Alan speaks about a “Product” that Bill might have accidentally invented in the way he went about doing his work – The notion of a “Team Coach”. He speaks about how Bill would spend time getting to know the individuals and the overall team to be in a position to be of value to the collective.
Dealing with aberrant geniuses
Alan speaks about how Bill and leaders at Google deal with super-star performers who can have enormous impact given their talent can be leveraged and multiplied with technology. He specifically speaks about what to watch out for as determine if we should put up with the complexity or the toxicity that is caused by the employee.
Having difficult conversations
Bill Campbell was known to have a “salty language” filled with expletives. Alan provides nuance around how Bill used his directness to land tough messages. He also goes on to talk about the safety net that Bill would create around the difficult conversation so that the leader does not get over-whelmed with the feedback.
Being an evangelist for courage
Alan speaks about how Bill got his Coachees to believe in themselves and how he often he had greater faith in them than they had in themselves. Alan goes onto talk about how Bill would play the role of a cheerleader in public settings to give a boost of confidence to the people he worked with.
Receiving feedback as a Coach
Alan discusses some of the failures of Bill Campbell as an Executive and his perspectives around Bill being open to input from his Coachees. He speaks about the style of Bill’s intervention where he would not give specific suggestions but share stories and let you come up with your own conclusions.
Enabling good decisions
Alan speaks about how Bill would go about engaging with leaders and ensuring that they made good decisions. There is a piece here around following the right process for making a good decision. He also speaks about his role in helping leaders move on once a decision is made (whether it is in your favour or not).
How Bill thought about impact
Alan speaks about what mattered to Bill and how he measured his impact or success. He speaks about Bill’s genuine love for people, his keen desire to help them succeed and his passion for building communities around him.
Influencing Eric Schmidt's key transitions
Alan speaks about Bill’s role during some of his key transitions in his stellar career at Google. He speaks about the fact that despite his clarity of thought on the business front, when it came to making decisions for himself, there was an element of irrationality. Alan goes on to speak about Bill’s role in ensuring that Eric made sound choices at those crucial moments.