Leadership evolves as a result of management excellence. If you’re a great manager, your people will make you a leader. They acclaim that, not you.

So how do you become a great manager? Google, Intuit, Apple, Facebook and many other renowned companies in Silicon Valley have become successful by imbibing the effects of one common but unknown person–Bill Campbell. Bill was the greatest executive coach the world has ever seen. And not an executive coach in the traditional mold, working solely to maximise the performance of individuals. Bill coached teams.

Today, success lies in moving quickly and continually creating innovative new features, products and services–accomplished by a new breed of employees called the smart creative. The smart creative is someone who combines technical depth with business savvy and creative flair. For companies to be successful, they must attract smart creatives and build an environment where these people can succeed at scale.

But teams of smart creatives by their nature are populated with aggressive, ambitious, strong-willed, opinionated people with large egos that more often than not lead to conflicts and tension. All too often, internal competition takes center stage, and compensation, bonuses, recognition, and even office size and location become ways to keep score. Tension is a good thing; if you don’t have it, you will fade into irrelevance. But tension makes it harder to cultivate community, and community is necessary to cultivate success. To balance tension and mold a team into a community, you need a coach.

And there can be no better coach for a team than its own manager. Grab Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle’s much awaited book to learn from Bill Campbell, the Trillion Dollar Coach!

The book highlights how while mentors dole out words of wisdom, coaches roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. They don’t just believe in our potential; they get in the arena and help us realise our potential. They hold up a mirror so we can see our blind spots and they hold us accountable for working through our sore spots. They take responsibility for making us better without taking credit for our accomplishments. Fates of our careers and companies hinge on the quality of our relationships. Coaches are like great artists getting the stroke exactly right on a painting. They are painting relationships.


Nikhil Gumbhir is a serial education entrepreneur. He has worked with over 1.5 lakh students across the fields of experiential STEM education and technology enabled test preparation. He currently leads Business & Innovation at Harappa Education, and is an avid nonfiction book reader and a running enthusiast.

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