Book Review: Trillion Dollar Coach

Trillion Dollar Coach is a book written from fans of the renowned Silicon Valley business coach Bill Campbell.

It was a fun read. Below, I’ve recapped my highlights.

The top priority of any manager is the well-being and success of her people.

Start with trip reports

To build rapport and better relationships among team members, start team meetings with trip reports, or other types or more personal, non-business topics.

5 words on a whiteboard

Have a structure for1:1s, and take the time to prepare for them, as they are the best way to help people be more effective and grow.

The throne behind the round table

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.

Lead based on first principles

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.

Manage the aberrant genius

Aberrant geniuses-high-performing but difficult team members-should be tolerated and even protected, as long as their behavior ins’t unethical or abusive and their value outweighs the toll their behavior takes on management, colleagues, and teams.

Money’s not about money

Compensating people well demonstrates love and respect and ties them strongly to the goals of the company.

Innovation is where the crazy people have stature

The purpose of a company is to bring a product vision to life. All the other components are in service to product.

(This really stuck out to me as I’ve been developing a stronger interest into product.)

Bill Campbell on boards

It’s the CEO’s job to manage the boards, not the other way around.

Only coach the coachable

The traits that make a person coachable include honesty and humility, the willingness to preserver and work hard, and a constant openness to learning.

Practice free-form listening

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.

No gap between statements and facts

Be relentlessly honest and candid, couple negative feedback with caring, give feedback as soon as possible, and if the feedback is negative, deliver it privately.

Don’t stick it in their ear

Don’t tell people what to do; offer stories and help guide them to the best decisions for them.

Be the evangelist of courage

Believe in people more than they believe in themselves and push them to be more courageous.

Full identity front and center

People are most effective when they can be completely themselves and bring their full identity to work.

Work the team, then the problem

When faced with a problem or opportunity, the first step is to ensure the right team is in place and working on it.

Pick the right players

The top characteristics to look for are smarts and hearts: the ability to learn fast, a willingness to work hard, integrity, grit, empathy, and a team-first attitude.

Pair people

Peer relationships are critical and often overlooked, so seek opportunities to pair people up on projects or decisions.

Solve the biggest problem

Identify the biggest problem the “elephant in the room” bring it front and center and tackle it first.

Don’t let the complaining session last

Air the negative issues but don’t dwell on them. Move on as fast as possible.

Winning right

Strive to win, but always win right, with commitment, teamwork, and integrity.

Leaders lead

When things are going bad, teams are looking for even more loyalty, commitment, and decisiveness from their leaders.

Fill the gaps between people

Listen, observe, and fill the communication and understanding gaps between people

Permission to be empathetic

Leading teams becomes a lot more joyful, and the teams more effective, when you know and care about the people.

The lovely reset

To care about people you have to care about people: ask about their lives outside of work, understand their families, and when things get rough, show up.

The percussive clap

Cheer demonstrably for people and their successes.

Always build communities

Build communities inside and outside of work. A place is much stronger when people are connected.

Help people, be generous with your time, connections, and other resources.

Love the founders

Hold a special reverence for and protect the people with the most vision and passion for the company.

The elevator chat

Loving colleague in the workplace may be challenging, so practice it until it becomes more natural.

All in all, this book was a good reminder of the critical human elements to be successful business. 7.3/10.

Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash.

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