Trillion Dollar Coach. Leadership handbook of Bill Campbell

The team behind How Google Works is back with some insightful management lessons from Bill Campbell, legendary coach and Silicon Valley executive.

Bill Campbell played an instrumental role in the growth of several prominent companies, such as Google, Apple, and Intuit, fostering deep relationships with Silicon Valley visionaries, including Steve Jobs, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt. In addition, this business genius mentored dozens of other important leaders on both coasts, from entrepreneurs to venture capitalists to educators to football players, leaving behind a legacy of growing companies, successful people, respect, friendship, and love after his death in 2016.

Leaders at Google for over a decade, Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle experienced firsthand how the man fondly known as Coach Bill built trusting relationships, fostered personal growth-even in those at the pinnacle of their careers-inspired courage, and identified and resolved simmering tensions that inevitably arise in fast-moving environments. To honor their mentor and inspire and teach future generations, they have codified his wisdom in this essential guide.

Based on interviews with over eighty people who knew and loved Bill Campbell, TRILLION DOLLAR COACH explains the Coach’s principles and illustrates them with stories from the many great people and companies with which he worked. The result is a blueprint for forward-thinking business leaders and managers that will help them create higher performing and faster moving cultures, teams, and companies.

Duffy’s Thoughts On Trillion Dollar Coach

There are thousands of self-improvement, leadership and management books on the shelves and available on e-books. A few stand out as classics such as The One Minute Manager, Who Moved My Cheese and How Google Works. But, on the whole, it’s pretty hard to differentiate between the masses. The messages are in the most part good, but they all seem the same. Is Trillion Dollar Coach any different?

Bill Campbell was a ‘super American’. A great football coach turned Silicon Valley executive at the heart of the tech boom in the 90’s. He mentored plenty of high powered and influential tech visionaries and was even mentor to Steve Jobs. So, how did Bill gain such trust in the inner eschelons of Silicon Valley, and how did he command such respect? Well, had the unique gift of connecting with both the jocks and the nerds.

Trillion Dollar Coach shares a lot of information and anecdotes about Bill Campbell, but ultimately his success came from being a decent person. There are many great examples of Bill’s leadership style, but these were my favourites:-

  • Make employees feel psychologically safe. It’s more important than, extra $ in the bank. Make them feel safe enough to innovate and take calculated risks to improve the business.
  • If you need to fire someone, let them go with their integrity intact and head held high. Don’t break self-improvement or berate them publicly
  • The Aberrant Genius. Don’t let your top performer or brightest star get away with being a dick. The damage they cause within the team and to your company culture will far outweigh what they can deliver for you in the long run. Cut them loose if they can’t treat people with respect and work in a team.
  • The best teams have more women.

I thoroughly recommend the Trillion Dollar Coach for anyone who manages a team and works in tech. The examples are specific to the tech firms of Silicon Valley, but the core values and tools will work wonders for any team as long as the company culture and values support people from the top. It can be a little evangelical at times, but see past that and you’ll be sure to get something out of it.

Trillion Dollar Coach. Leadership handbook of legendary coach and Silicon Valley executive Bill Campbell.
Published April 23rd by Hachette RRP $32.99