Trillion Dollar Coach: Lessons for Managers by Google's Schmidt, Rosenberg and Eagle

12manage is looking for students!

Knowledge Center


Next Topic

Coaching > Forum > Trillion Dollar Coach: Lessons for Managers by Google's Schmidt, Rosenberg and Eagle

Trillion Dollar Coach: Lessons for Managers by Google's Schmidt, Rosenberg and Eagle
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
Are you a manager or a coach? According to a new book by Google's Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle there is little difference.

The Trillion Dollar Coach is a tribute to Bill Campbell. Campbell first coached professional football teams and then coached an immense list of top business leaders of US tech companies. For example, he worked for many years with Steve Jobs and Tim Cook (Apple), Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Larry Page and Eric Schmidt (Google), and many other hotshots, before passing away in 2016 at the age of 75.

The essence of Campbell's thinking is that in order to be a top manager in an innovative firm you should act like a team coach. After all, the higher your management position, the more your success depends on making other people (your team) successful. See indeed: Leadership Pipeline.

In their previous book, "How Google Works", Schmidt and Rosenberg argued that you need to attract Smart Creatives in innovation companies. People who combine technical savvy, business understanding and creative flair. And you must build an environment in which these people can flourish at scale.

In their newest book, "Trillion Dollar Coach", they add one critical thing: You need to build teams that work well together.
To create such teams, you need to act like a COMPASSIONATE TEAM COACH, and provide the following key psychological factors to the individuals members, to the whole team, and to your entire firm:
  1. SAFETY (they can trust that if they take risks, you will have their back)
  2. CLARITY (of the mission and goals)
  3. MEANING (each one's contribution is important)
  4. DEPENDABILITY (of the members of each other)
  5. IMPACT (the feeling that team's mission will make a difference)
The authors write that it was not their intention to write a hagiography. Well, let's say they haven't fully succeeded. In a typical US style, the book is worshipping both Campbell, his ideas, and the famous people he coached. That is understandable out of respect for someone who passed away and was so deeply loved, but still it's a bit of a pity. Trillion Dollar Coach could have benefited from also describing the difficult events, disadvantages and failures of Campbell's life and ideas, in order to add more depth to his advices for managing and coaching. Here you can find more critical ideas about coaching by managers and leaders.

Having said that, I found the ideas and many practical tips and tools of Campbell important and valuable.
★★★★★ A must-read for any manager and coach.

Book: Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle, "Trillion Dollar Coach - The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell", Harper Business, April 2019.

Coaching Lessons Passed Forward
Gregory Johnson, Coach, United States, Premium Member
I haven't purchased the book yet but appreciate the information and perspective provided by Jaap de Jonge. Core in this message is the quote: "in order to be a top manager in an innovative firm you should act like a team coach. After all, the higher your management position, the more your success depends on making other people (your team) successful."
I couldn't help but start thinking of the business of building relationships, being in the right place at the right time and having an effective elevator speech that is different than the traditional garbage about being a problem solver.
Learning is our nourishment and I hope to learn from this text. Through this learning I hope we will share our learning and perspectives with others through 12manage.

Act as a Boss, Leader and Coach
Javier Elenes, Business Consultant, Mexico, Member
To achieve results trough people you need to excell as a Boss (Supervisor), as a Leader (Inspirator) and as a Coach.
The purpose of coaching is to improve the ability to perform of your people. To do that well, aks the following 5 key questions to the person you are coaching:
1. Do you know what is the contribution (the expected results to deliver) of your job?
2. Are you (being a clever employee) aware of these poor results?
3. Do you know the reason why these poor results occur (root cause)?
4. What you will do to eliminate the cause of the poor results and to improve your performance?
5. Tell me what you need from me to help you realize your solution?

Definitely an elegy, but....
Alessandro Pegoraro, Coach, Italy, Member
Fully agree with Jaap: the book is an elegy (Editor: ~poem of serious reflection, usually a lament for the dead) and as such not the best I’ve ever read.
However the idea that in order to succeed as a manager you need to become a good team coach is really interesting.
Today the “mainstream” managerial mantra is that you have to be / become a coach, acting mainly 121.
The book features an improvement in the managerial coaching activity: The 1:1 dimension is not enough. You need to blend it with team coaching activity. Nice stuff...

Coaching, Managing and the Servant Leadership Model
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States, Premium Member
I don't know anything about Bill Campbell, but he is exactly correct: the essence of command at the field marshall level begins with small unit leadership and the priorities of servant leadership at any echelon is Mission:Men:Self. This is in contrast to the Me, Myself and I priorities of the Harvard Business model.
In Vietnam, my primary weapon was my platoon: the care and feeding of these 22 professional soldiers is how I focused on mission. The object of the exercise was to coach and manage them in such a way that, if I got killed, the mission orientation would remain unchanged.
In the corporate community, Esprit de Corps as a management principle is almost universally ignored if not actively violated.

Manager and BUSINESS Coach: Same Tools But Different Purposes
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
Managing, coaching (& mentoring) use common tools/techniques but have different purposes re: the planning, doing & reviewing of performance.
  • Managers are superordinate (above-over in the order/hierarchy) to their subordinates. A manager’s role is to get things done (ideally participatively) through people: they Delegate (tasks + responsibility + authority) then Monitor & Review achievement and performance. Managers are REQUIRED to ensure judgemental feedback on these (appraisal).
  • A (business) coach’s role is to ask questions to enable the coachee/s to: think through performance concerns, identify and commit to solutions, then assess how they did. Coaches (whether line-senior or not) do not give answers; they are not trainers and do not provide feedback. This would be judgemental; a coach is NEVER judgemental. A coach must be accepted as a 100% trusted equal, they must not be perceived as being either over or under the coachee. Can the coachee avoid seeing the manager?

The Throne Behind the Round Table
Bought the book and reading it currently…
One thing I liked so far is the idea that when you let a team resolve some issue, 8 out of 10 times or so they will reach the best conclusion on their own. The other 2 times, if the votes are tied, you as a manager/leader will have to make the decision.
Campbell apparently called this "The Throne behind the Round Table"-principle: like the round-table used by King Arthur, it means that the manager's job is to run a decision-making process that ensures all perspectives get heard and considered, and, if necessary, to break ties and make the decision. In such case, s()he has to expect everybody to rally around it.

Round the Table Decision Taking
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
@Anonymous: The principle of the team resolving an issue is a concept behind the "CONSULT" position in the Tannenbaum-Schmidt Continuum. It is also the concept behind the chair person of a committee only voting if there is a need for a tie-break (and then always voting to maintain the status quo).
In a TELL situation the manager takes the authority of taking the decision. In a business meeting voting should be avoided as it has the potential (like tell) to cause dissension (it is a form of tell).
The approach to taking a decision is best founded on the building of CONSENSUS (accepted [and worked for to be achieved] even if not agreed with).
In the team coaching situation the 'consensus' is within the coachees. They are the ones on the 'throne' (in the Chair) observing their desire, the options, obstacles and outcomes as if laid out a-round the table and selecting from these the approach that they find acceptable...

Special Interest Group Leader

Interested? Sign up for free.

Best Practices

Knowledge Center


Next Topic

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2019 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.1 - Last updated: 15-9-2019. All names ™ of their owners.