by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle

“If the top manager always makes decisions it’s not the best ideas that win but those from the people that are best at lobbying. In other words politics. That’s why it’s important to let the ensemble make decisions. Like in improv comedy.”

Below are the boxes from the book that summarize each topic.

It’s The People

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 of more personal, non-business topics.

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

Management / Leadership

  • Are you guiding/coaching your people?
  • Are you weeding out the bad ones?
  • Are you working hard at things?
  • 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.

Manage The Aberrant Genius

Aberrant geniuses – high-performing but difficult team members – should be tolerated and even protected, as long as their behavior isn’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.

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.

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

Core Attributes

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 the company as a whole and his/her organization.
  • Expanded the boundaries of what is possible for the company 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

Open-Text Questions

  • 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?

Get To The Table

Winning depends on having the best team, and the best teams have more women.

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.

Ther 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 colleagues in the workplace may be challenging, so practice it until it becomes more natural.

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