Bill Campbell has helped grow some of Silicon Valley’s largest companies – including Google, Apple and Intuit – and generated more than $1 trillion in market value. Previously a football player and coach, Bill mentored visionary founders such as Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, and has coached dozens of other leaders on both the East and West coasts. Bill developed trusting relationships, fostered personal growth, infused courage, emphasised operational excellence, and identified simmering tensions that inevitably arise in fast-moving environments.
Three Google leaders–former CEO Eric Schmidt, former Google SVP Jonathan Rosenberg, and Google director Alan Eagle–decided to collect hundreds of Campbell stories and lessons in a new book: Trillion-Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell.
Indeed tales about Campbell, his technique, and his exec pedagogy still hover throughout Silicon Valley. He reported Apple to run the famous 1984 ad against the orders of Apple’s board. He fought against Steve Jobs getting pushed out of Apple while both were there, and helped him develop into a leader. Campbell famously embraced everybody, and if he couldn’t get close enough to hug you, he’d blow kisses in the middle of a board meeting or in staff meetings! Everyone knew with great clarity the intention of the hugs and kisses: to confirm that he cared, to prove that he loved. Though that didn’t mean he was a fool, oh no, he was able to give harsh feedback with care and intention.
“Winning depends on having the best team, and the best teams include more women.”
Trillion Dollar Coach is based on interviews with more than eighty people. The conversations are with people who knew and loved Bill Campbell. Indeed the book explains Bill’s beliefs and illustrates them with stories about the great companies and business people with whom he worked and cultivated friendships. liked the section on respect
Campbell wisely told a manager once, “You have demanded respect, rather than having it accrue to you. You need to project humility, selflessness, that projects that you care about the company and the people.”
Personally I think the result is the book is the ultimate coaching guide for managers and leaders, encouraging them to create high-performing, fast-moving teams and organisations.
“Think that everyone who works for you is like your kids,” Bill once said. “Help them course correct, make them better.”
When he departed in 2016, Bill left behind a legacy of growing companies and successful entrepreneurs, as well as an abundance of respect, friendship and love. To honour their professional coach and motivate coming generations, the authors’ Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle have systematised some of Bill’s wisdom in this wonderful guidebook.
Eric Schmidt served as Google CEO and chairman from 2001 until 2011, Google executive chairman from 2011 to 2015, and Alphabet executive chairman from 2015 to 2018.
Jonathan Rosenberg was a Senior Vice President at Google and is an advisor to the Alphabet management team. He ran the Google product team from 2002 to 2011.
Alan Eagle has been a director at Google since 2007. Formerly Eric and Jonathan’s speechwriter, he currently runs a set of Google’s sales programs.