It’s The People
December 6, 2021
I recently completed reading Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, a book dedicated to shining the light on Bill Campbell. I hadn’t heard of Bill Campbell until I read this book. (which I incidentally picked up because the title was interesting and the author happened to be the more visible Eric Schmidt!!)
Bill was a former football coach who shifted career in his mid-thirties to join Kodak as an executive and then rose through the ranks at Apple and eventually became the CEO of Intuit. Apart from being a successful business leader, he was also an executive coach to the who’s who of Silicon Valley tech giants like Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Sergei Brin, Eric Schmidt, Marissa Mayer, Sunder Pichai, Sheryl Sandberg, Ben Horowitz.
While the book sheds light on Bill Campbell’s leadership philosophy through personal stories of how he helped countless business leaders navigate the complexity of running billion-dollar companies (hence the moniker Trillion Dollar Coach), one particular idea from the book stood out to me as being unique.
“It’s The People” Manifesto.
Coach Campbell cared deeply about the people he coached and led, and this was the foundation for the deep trust and love he evoked from anyone who worked with him. As the CEO of Intuit, Bill cared so deeply about his people that he wrote the “It’s the people” manifesto. He repeated it practically verbatim to the multiple CEOs he coached.
I am reproducing below the excerpt of this Manifesto.
IT’S THE PEOPLE.
“People are the foundation of any company’s success. The primary job of each manager is to help people be more effective in their job and to grow and develop. We have great people who want to do well, are capable of doing great things, and come to work fired up to do them. Great people flourish in an environment that liberates and amplifies that energy. Managers create this environment through support, respect, and trust.
Support means giving people the tools, information, training, and coaching they need to succeed. It means continuous effort to develop people’s skills. Great managers help people excel and grow.
Respect means understanding people’s unique career goals and being sensitive to their life choices. It means helping people achieve these career goals in a way that’s consistent with the needs of the company.
Trust means freeing people to do their jobs and to make decisions. It means knowing that people want to do well and believing that they will.”
What is the essence of this Manifesto in the context of a typical workplace?
To become a good manager, you need to think about how you will make people under your watch better. Focus on the well-being and success of your people by giving them the Support, Respect and Trust they deserve. When you do that consciously, you will become a more effective manager and, in the process, a more effective leader.