Note: While reading a book whenever I come across something interesting, I highlight it on my Kindle. Later I turn those highlights into a blogpost. It is not a complete summary of the book. These are my notes which I intend to go back to later. Let’s start!
Your Title Makes You a Manager. Your People Make You a Leader.
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 people want to do well and believing that they will.
START WITH TRIP REPORTS TO BUILD RAPPORT AND BETTER RELATIONSHIPS AMONG TEAM MEMBERS, START TEAM MEETINGS WITH TRIP REPORTS, OR OTHER TYPES OF MORE PERSONAL, NON-BUSINESS TOPICS.
Marissa Mayer developed a variation of the trip report practice when she was CEO of Yahoo. Rather than trip reports, her staff meetings started with thank-yous. “My staff called it the family prayer. You have to thank another team for something that happened last week. You can’t thank yourself, and you can’t repeat what someone else said. This ends up being a nice way to recap the entire week.”
5 WORDS ON A WHITEBOARD HAVE A STRUCTURE FOR 1:1s, AND TAKE THE TIME TO PREPARE FOR THEM, AS THEY ARE THE BEST WAY TO HELP PEOPLE BE MORE EFFECTIVE AND TO GROW.
BILL’S FRAMEWORK FOR 1:1s AND REVIEWS:
PERFORMANCE ON JOB REQUIREMENTS
Could be sales figures Could be product delivery or product milestones Could be customer feedback or product quality Could be budget numbers
RELATIONSHIP WITH PEER GROUPS (This is critical for company integration and cohesiveness)
Product and Engineering Marketing and Product Sales and Engineering
Are you guiding/coaching your people? Are you weeding out the bad ones? Are you working hard at hiring? Are you able to get your people to do heroic things?
INNOVATION (BEST PRACTICES)
Are you constantly moving ahead . . . thinking about how to continually get better? Are you constantly evaluating new technologies, new products, new practices? Do you measure yourself against the best in the industry/world?
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.
HEADS HELD HIGH IF YOU HAVE TO LET PEOPLE GO, BE GENEROUS, TREAT THEM WELL, AND CELEBRATE THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
BILL ON BOARDS IT’S THE CEO’S JOB TO MANAGE BOARDS, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
ONLY COACH THE COACHABLE THE TRAITS THAT MAKE A PERSON COACHABLE INCLUDE HONESTY AND HUMILITY, THE WILLINGNESS TO PERSEVERE 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 FACT 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 FOR 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.
BILL AS A COACH
So as a coach of teams, what would Bill do? His first instinct was always to work the team, not the problem. In other words, he focused on the team’s dynamics, not on trying to solve the team’s particular challenges. That was their job. His job was team building, assessing people’s talents, and finding the doers. He ran toward the biggest problems, the stinkers that fester and cause tension. He focused on winning but winning right, and he doubled down on his core values when things turned south. And he brought resolution by filling the gaps between people, listening, observing, and then seeking people out in behind-the-scenes conversations that brought teams together.
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.
The peer feedback survey:
For the past 12 months, to what extent do you agree/disagree that each person:
Displayed extraordinary in-role performance. Exemplified world-class leadership. Achieved outcomes that were in the best interest of both Google as a whole and his/her organization. Expanded the boundaries of what is possible for Google through innovation and/or application of best practices. Collaborated effectively with peers (for example, worked well together, resolved barriers/issues with others) and championed the same in his/her team. Contributed effectively during senior team meetings (for example, was prepared, participated actively, listened well, was open and respectful to others, disagreed constructively).
PRODUCT LEADER ATTRIBUTES For the past 12 months, to what extent do you agree/disagree that each person demonstrated exemplary leadership in the following areas:
Product Vision Product Quality Product Execution
What differentiates each SVP and makes him/her effective today? What advice would you give each SVP to be more effective and/or have greater impact?
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 BITCH SESSIONS LAST AIR ALL 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.
Do a lot of “five-minute favors.” They are easy for the person doing the favor, requiring minimal personal cost, but mean a lot to the recipient
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 COLLEAGUES IN THE WORKPLACE MAY BE CHALLENGING, SO PRACTICE IT UNTIL IT BECOMES MORE NATURAL.