Notes & Quotes: Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle

The following are my favorite quotes from Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell.
  1. To be a great manager, you have to be a great coach.
  2. All too often, internal competition takes center stage, and compensation, bonuses, recognition, and even office size and location become the ways to keep score. This is problematic: in such an environment, selfish individuals can beat altruistic ones.
  3. To balance the tension and mold a team into a community, you need a coach, someone who works not only with individuals but also with the team as a whole to smooth out the constant tension, continuously nurture the community, and make sure it is aligned around a common vision and set of goals.
  4. 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.
  5. Your title makes you a manager. Your people make you a leader.
  6. Bill felt that leadership was something that evolved as a result of management excellence. "How do you bring people around and help them flourish in your environment? It's not by being a dictator. It's not by telling them what the hell to do. It's making sure that they feel valued by being in the room with you. Listen. Pay attention. This is what great managers do."
  7. 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.
  8. Define the "first principles" for the situation, the immutable truths that are the foundation for the company or product, and help guide the decision from those principles.
  9. Compensation isn't just about the economic value of the money; it's about the emotional value. It's a signaling device for recognition, respect, and status, and it ties people strongly to the goals of the company.
  10. If you have the right product for the right market at the right time, go as fast as you can.
  11. The purpose of a company is to bring a product vision to life. All the other components are in service to product.
  12. Only coach the coachable.
  13. The traits of coachability Bill sought were honesty and humility, the willingness to persevere and work hard, and a constant openness to learning.
  14. Listen to people with your full and undivided attention--don't think ahead to what you're going to say next--and ask questions to get to the real issue.
  15. Don't tell people what to do; offer stories and help guide them to the best decision for them.
  16. Bill's guiding principle was that the team is paramount, and the most important thing he looked for and expected in people was a "team-first" attitude. Teams are not successful unless every member is loyal and will, when necessary, subjugate their personal agenda to that of the team.
  17. Bill looked for four characteristics in people. The person has to be smart, not necessarily academically but more from the standpoint of being able to get up to speed quickly in different areas and then make connections. Bill called this the ability to make "far analogies." The person has to work hard, and has to have high integrity. Finally, the person should have that hard-to-define characteristic: grit. The ability to get knocked down and have the passion and perseverance to get up and go at it again.
  18. When change happens, the priority has to be what is best for the team.
  19. Identify the biggest problem, the "elephant in the room," bring it front and center, and tackle it first.
  20. Whether in business or in sports, it's amazing what can be accomplished if you don't care who gets the credit.
  21. Strive to win, but always win right, with commitment, teamwork, and integrity.
  22. Leading teams becomes a lot more joyful, and the teams more effective, when you know and care about the people.
  23. [Bill] had a very special place in his heart for the people who have the guts and skills to start companies. They are sane enough to know that every day is a fight for survival against daunting odds and crazy enough to think they can succeed anyway. And retaining them in a meaningful way is essential to success in any company.
  24. To be successful, companies need to have teams that work together as communities, where individuals integrate their interests and put aside differences to be individually and collectively obsessed with what's good and right for the company. Since this doesn't naturally happen among groups of people, especially high-performing, ambitious people, you need someone playing the role of a coach, a team coach, to make it happen. Any company that wants to succeed in a time where technology has suffused every industry and most aspects of consumer life, where speed and innovation are paramount, must have team coaching as a part of its culture.
  25. Bill grasped that there are things we all care about as people--love, family, money, attention, power, meaning, purpose--that are factors in any business situation. That to create effective teams, you need to understand and pay attention to these human values.
  26. Don't just do a portfolio of things. Whatever you get involved with, have accountability and consequence. Drive it.