Episode 57

The Caddie and the CEO - Trillion Dollar Coach Series - Chapter 1

Published on: 24th January, 2022

Today we continue our series on the Trillion Dollar Coach. We cover the first chapter which covers some backstory of Bill's life and some of the events and experiences that led him to become the person he is today. It's sort of a prequel to the book, there is not much actual guidance in this chapter but there is some wisdom that is worth the read.

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Robert Greiner 0:05

So how's it going, man? So you're busy?

Igor Geyfman 0:07

Yeah, buying another house.

Robert Greiner 0:10

What are you doing?

Igor Geyfman 0:12

I don't know what I'm doing, Robert, this one this one's for us to live in.

Robert Greiner 0:17


Igor Geyfman 0:18

So they accepted the offer. And now it's the appraisal inspection times. Man. I went super aggressive man. I told you. We'll see.

Charles Knight 0:31

Where's it at?

Igor Geyfman 0:33

Preston and George Bush

Robert Greiner 0:35

is that you're a mogul now.

Igor Geyfman 0:39

I do believe 2 real estate properties is mogul.

Robert Greiner 0:42

Mogul status.

Charles Knight 0:44

That's it.

Robert Greiner 0:45

Yeah, more than me and Charles combined.

Igor Geyfman 0:49

Yikes. Yeah. So I can't I won't say the south west corner of Preston and George Bush. Yeah, I'm pretty. I'm pretty stoked. It's a very tidy little house.

Charles Knight 1:02

A single family home. Little single

Igor Geyfman 1:04

er was kind of, you know, big:

Robert Greiner 1:22

Is the one in prosper still rented?

Igor Geyfman 1:24

Yeah. Yeah. Still Still going? Strong.

Robert Greiner 1:27


Igor Geyfman 1:28

So it's generating some income.

Robert Greiner 1:32

Silicon Valley when Jared rented his, his apartment, that guy stopped paying and then he was squatting in there, but he was Airbnb being it couldn't kick them out.

Igor Geyfman 1:43

It's it's hard to kick people out.

Robert Greiner 1:45


Igor Geyfman 1:46

Yeah. You know, probably should be risky. Leasing your properties to peoples is a risky endeavor.

Robert Greiner 1:55

Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

Charles Knight 1:59

13 minutes away from me, Igor.

Robert Greiner 2:01

Oh, there you go, neighbors.

Igor Geyfman 2:03

you know, it's just such a central location that it's close to everybody except for Robert

Charles Knight 2:10

doesn't mean anything about y'alls friendship at all. It's just a fact. That's all

Igor Geyfman 2:16

something about

Roberts value. All right.

Robert Greiner 2:19

Yeah. Is directly

proportional to how far away we live from each other. Yeah. Well, okay, man, the house right beside me right next door to me sold. And could have been my next door neighbor. But you're not. There's also zero crime. So, you know, whatever.

Igor Geyfman 2:40

For now.

Robert Greiner 2:41

Until you moved.

Igor Geyfman 2:44

Until the Russians move in.

Robert Greiner 2:45

Yeah. I don't even go to other other cities for crime. No crime, good schools. Still, some cattle farmers finally got Chick fil A had a Chipotle burned down. So there's that when you say there's no crime? That was that? There was no malfeasance?

Igor Geyfman 3:01

Sure, allegedly. They wouldn't tell you.

Robert Greiner 3:05

That's true. That's true. I didn't even know burn down. I was like the Door Dash Cam comes from a different location. The old the one that we sorted from and I was asking the drivers like, hey, like, what's going on is that other Chipotle seems really busy. And she was like, yeah, it's because the one close to you burned down. I was like, Oh my gosh. So I actually don't know what happened could have been malfeasance, but also not technically in Sunnyvale.

Charles Knight 3:31

So there you go.

Robert Greiner 3:33

There you go.

Charles Knight 3:34

sunnyville prevails.

Robert Greiner 3:36

I guess. That should be the motto. Oh, my gosh.

Igor Geyfman 3:40

Charles, you're still in.

Charles Knight 3:42

I am over by the TD.

Robert Greiner 3:45

Yeah, that's cool place. Are you gonna do really well Mexican food place by you, Charles?

Charles Knight 3:51

Oh, yeah. Which one?

Robert Greiner 3:52

It's called Frankie's. It's frankly, Frankie's Mexican cuisine. It is phenomenal.

Charles Knight 4:00

Frankie's with a ies. Yeah. Oh, yeah, it's real close. Frankie, so I'll check it out.

Robert Greiner 4:07

I think there's a Elsa special but it could be frozen on the brain. Whether it's like enchiladas with the fajitas on top.

Charles Knight 4:14

Oh Wow.

Robert Greiner 4:15

Ranchero sauce.

Charles Knight 4:17

Shredding into the Canyon Creek Country Club. So you know it's gonna be good.

Robert Greiner 4:20

There you go. Yeah. Getting your golf cart and head over there.

Charles Knight 4:26

Igor, yeah, I'll probably be there for a few years.

Robert Greiner 4:30

Oh, in that house.

Charles Knight 4:31

Yeah. Just renting for few years. Yeah, why not?

Robert Greiner 4:35

Seems pretty. Looks pretty nice.

Charles Knight 4:37

Yeah, that's nice. And at that point, Jamie will be done in Alabama and then we'll figure out what we want to do. House wise. Yeah. Hopefully the market will have tanked significantly, except for your rental properties. So that and your house Robert.

Robert Greiner 4:55

by then I don't care what happens with my house because I'm I'm not moving so hmm, gotcha. Got the mortgage locked in so I'm, it's good, whatever happens happens. Yep,

Charles Knight 5:05

Thanksgiving was good Robert I, I stopped by to see my old landlords speaking of moguls where, you know, used to rent from there. Then they had that studio apartment. Well, they bought, they bought a house in Garland to be their primary residence, they also bought a rental property. And have renovated that themselves. And they bought another one on the same street. So now they own two rental properties on that street. And I just imagine that they're going to buy, and they have a goal of, of having like 10 to 12 properties. I just imagine that they're going to buy up that entire street and just rename the street based on their last name their Rowels. But yeah, they said that, based off of the proceeds of selling their, you know, $1.6 million house in Lakewood, they they now own those three properties, like their two rental properties plus their primary residence. They own them outright. So they they used all the cash proceeds to sell smart.

So smart. Yeah, good for them.

That's so cool. Yeah.

Robert Greiner 6:12

So they downgraded? Yeah, significantly,

significantly. Yeah. Okay. Are there kids out of out of the house? Yeah. Okay. Okay. So they, Oh, man. Good for them.

Charles Knight 6:23

Yeah. The kids.

Robert Greiner 6:24

That's a good move.

Charles Knight 6:24

He's probably late 20s. He's a little older than Jamie. He's kind of running the rental properties, the dad doing all the renovation. And so they're in a what they consider a dying industry. They're in the alcohol distributor world. And so they're like, Yeah, you know, eventually this industry is going to go away. So we need another form of income,

because of robots orwhat?

Robert Greiner 6:48

I don't know, I guess, like legislation that's changing around, you know, essentially, the distributors have a monopoly. They've had a monopoly on how to sell or I guess, distribute alcohol. But now there's things changing, where companies can start to sell alcohol directly to consumers in ways that they couldn't before. And so,

it would be like, if you own a car dealership, and then all of a sudden, Ford could just sell you the car. Is that right?

Charles Knight 7:14

Okay. Yeah, got, like wineries in California can are finding ways to try to sell direct to consumers, as opposed to having to get into a partnership with a national distributor sort of thing? I don't know. I don't know enough about the details. Anyway, we want to get started, we talked about chapter one. Well, we don't have back part stop at one o'clock. Just

Robert Greiner 7:37

let's do it. Welcome back to the trillion dollar coach series. The the funny thing about this chapter, so chapter one, the caddy and the CEO. Up until now, in the book, the authors have said multiple times that we're not going to write a biography about Bill Campbell, we're not going to tell you about his life, we're going to distill his sort of leadership wisdom, because he wouldn't want us to just talk about him. And then they proceed to write a chapter, basically just talking about life. And, and that kind of thing. It's, I wouldn't be able to resist, though. I mean, it's so I think important to set the stage for the rest of the book I have, it's not offensive to me. It's just kind of funny that Bill wouldn't want this. But we got a so just one chapter, we promise and then we'll, we'll get into the guts,

Charles Knight 8:21

but well he's dead, so you know,

Robert Greiner 8:24


Charles Knight 8:24

He can't stop anyone.

Robert Greiner 8:25

he's not gonna complain. Yeah. Although I think the book had its desired effect, too. You know, it's been very helpful to a large group of people.

Charles Knight 8:32

So yeah, yeah, that was the first thing that stood out when I was reading the chapter. I think maybe the first or second page. I think they were setting the stage for his funeral, I guess. And he said, they, they just described so many people showing up. And there was a phrase in there way more than respected, he was loved. And that really kind of stuck out to me, because in the business world, you know, where does love fit in? And so it's just kind of interesting. It's just what, what is? What is the role of love and successful businesses, I guess, or in leadership? You know, what role does love play in effectively leading or coaching people? Do you need to love or be loved to be an effective coach? It made me think about those things, which may not be where we want to take it. But

Robert Greiner 9:24

yeah, we can, you know, in the very beginning of the chapter, he talked about his failures as a football coach, and a lot of had to do with caring too much, which is funny, because, you know, it's a cliche. What's your biggest weakness, Charles, I guess I care too much

Igor Geyfman 9:39

care too much.

Robert Greiner 9:40

But he pointed out that success as a football coach, American football coach depends on dispassion, right. So you have to be detached to a certain degree from your players. You have to be able to replace one with another based on performance or injuries or whatever. And that was just a really hard thing for Bill Campbell to do, but it turns out in when you move from such a fixed finite game like football, we have winners and losers on a weekly basis into a more open landscape, infinite type game of business, and especially in the technology space, where things just scale so well, that compassion served as like a multiplying effect for his leadership effectiveness. And I would argue back to your point, Charles, that most leaders bring the same level of dispassionate leadership or management of a software development team, or an accounting team or an HR team, as football coaches do to their team. I don't think even though there's much more room to care deeply about the people that you work with in a business environment, I don't think we even approach the appropriate level of compassion as leaders most

Charles Knight:

interesting. I mean, before we're recording, you know, Igor, we were talking about war, like, generals probably need that level of dispassion, and disconnection from their troops that they're leading to to be effective. And so I like what you said, Robert, about how the difference between the two is that, you know, American football and in war, not to equate the two because that's just not not appropriate. But there are finite games, you know, there are winners and losers. And I didn't pick that up when I read reread it. So that thank you for, for sharing that. I like that distinction, and why he's so much more successful in one than the other. That makes sense. Yeah, there's a there's a section title in there called too much compassion. And I don't know, like it. Is there such a thing as too much compassion?

Robert Greiner:

Well, okay, so mixing books here, Jocko Willink, we talked about him a bunch. He has a book called dichotomy of leadership, which I know we've referenced before. And so it's like, train hard, but train smart, aggressive, not reckless, discipline, not rigid, you know, so it kind of goes into, you know, when to mentor when to fire, own it all, but empower others. So there's kind of like these nuances into leadership behaviors that kind of cut a little bit deeper than you're normally you normally think about them. And the very first chapter is the ultimate dichotomy, which is caring for the team, but also you have to complete the mission. So in Jocko his world when he was a Navy SEALs commander, obviously, that was a life or death thing, we don't deal with life or death things. But there is a way he would argue, to care deeply for each individual on the team, while at the same time accepting the risks necessary to accomplish the mission. And in our world, that could mean putting a member of our team in front of a senior stakeholder when they're really nervous and maybe less prepared than they'd want to be in order to get the right level of experience, or to let someone struggle with fixing a production issue. Without jumping in and solving it for them. There's, there is a level here, going through adversity in order to grow and improve. And we've talked about this before, to have you step in and fix the problem for the people on your team. And remove that pain, which is a very human natural instinct, it robs the person of their destiny, right. And that was something that the complete opposite of what we would want when we were in that position. And so I do think there's a level of carrying, like too much, maybe you go, you get into enabling, right, which is not helpful. So maybe too much caring can be not helpful. I'm not 100% sure how that works. But I do think there is a way to and Jocko again, calls it the ultimate dichotomy, caring for the team, but also there is a mission to be completed. And you have to balance those risks and care.

Charles Knight:

Yeah, I think there's a fine line there between compassion, you know, just showing kindness and caring about and being willing to help other people. And coddling you know, being a big softy sort of thing, for lack of a better phrase or definition there. And I don't know if I would call it too much compassion, though, you know, but I think I'm maybe getting too caught up in the semantics and the definition of compassion. But I totally understand the dichotomy. I like that. And I remember, like, I don't know if this chapter one or the rest of the book, but Bill Campbell, even though he really cared for his players and cared for the people on his team in the business world, he was definitely not a softy.

Robert Greiner:

No, yeah, he was really tough.

Charles Knight:

He was very, very tough. And so yeah, I think it's important to not equate being compassionate and caring with soft and lenient. Because yeah, there is. Every team has some sort of objective, you know, whether it's to win the football game or to accomplish the mission or the objective or to make a business successful, and it definitely requires a balance of both. Because in all those things, like we're motivating, we're trying to motivate as leaders, we're trying to motivate other human beings. Yeah, and

Robert Greiner:

exactly. And, you know, seeing someone do something poorly, who is under your charge? Right who's on your team? And not pointing that out to them and offering support and guidance for how to improve for the next time is not compassion. That is a level of cruelty. And so I think we owe it to not providing feedback is I'm not saying you have to bat 1000 here, but to consistently avoid it in the, in the name of compassion doesn't make any sense. Igor, the first thing that popped into my mind is we had someone right before Igor went on sabbatical, pretty junior member of the team need to go and give up fairly important, like, it was an important update in that we had to check the box before we could consider a project complete, but also not so high stakes, that if this discussion didn't go, well, we would be behind schedule or tank, our relationship or anything. So it was a good learning opportunity. And this guy did a horrible job in his presentation. And I thought Igor did a really great job coming alongside after the fact pointing out, hey, this didn't go well. Here's, here's what I saw. Here's the level of preparation, that's probably required before you go into this, you know, had a good discussion on here's the feedback, here's what we can do to get better next time we supported, added a little bit of support by showing up to the next meeting, to provide some air cover. And then he nailed it, he did a great job. And I don't ever expect this person to show up to another meeting ever again so unprepared because he knows what it feels like. But also, we helped get through the other end of it to a place where now there's like a level of competence here. And the way Igor did that the a, a word that comes to mind is compassionate. But it was also uncomfortable. You know that on that first little bit where you had to go through that little bit of remediation might be the right word or wrong word, but certainly feedback and adjustment and support in order to get the resolution that we needed.

Igor Geyfman:

You know, I felt I felt good. And I did not feel that intervention lacked compassion. Like I very much reconciled. That that was me, I was a tough conversation. And but I it was, it was the right thing to do is the right thing for the fin. And in its own way. It was compassionate, really, even though it was, you know, tough and no nonsense.

Charles Knight:

I'm curious how the how your, your team member received that? Do you think that they received it as compassion? Or they? I don't know, what do you think it was like for them to be on the receiving end of that?

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah, you know, I think the thing that I think about a lot is when when a situation requires that sort of intervention, I work really hard on establishing close relationships with people on my team. And so part of that is building up trust in the relationship and in one another. And the other part of that, is also coming to an understanding of how people react to different types of feedback and how it's delivered. And, and I think because of the relationship building that's done before you have to do an intervention, it probably went pretty smoothly. Because, you know, the framing the context, setting the tone, the follow up, was, I think what that person was expecting, and what they would positively react to, and, and they expressed gratitude, you know, for for the feedback. And I felt it was it was genuine, I didn't think it was just like, oh, yeah, thanks for the feedback. You know, I felt that they genuinely appreciated, getting detailed feedback, and what to do and why it's important, and what they might do in the future as well. Right? Because it wasn't about, you know, it was like, hey, here's what happened at the meeting. But I don't want to focus on that. What I want to focus on is talking about the behavior, and what our next opportunity is, for practicing the right behavior. And I think it went off pretty well. But boy, you know, there's definitely an opportunity for that conversation to not go well either, right? If you don't focus on relationship building, if you don't have an understanding of sort of the nuance of, of how to deliver feedback to different people and how they're going to react. You know, some people are like, you know, you give them the feedback sandwich, you know, the good, bad, good,

Robert Greiner:

no, please don't ever do that.

Igor Geyfman:

And I'm like, I don't know, if I, if I've ever met anyone that enjoyed the feedback sandwich, you know, that's such, that's such a kludgy way of addressing situations, and you know, people that listen to that advice, I think, should think twice about employing it. So every person is different. They require different approaches. And you got to figure out what those are as as their coach. Yeah, I bet. Bill Campbell would also tell you that

Robert Greiner:

So part of the reason just popped into my head as I have a little bit of firsthand observations on how it went because not because I needed to get involved, but because Igor went on vacation, and so I was covering. And so I was part of the discussion, the meeting after the feedback had been given. And I think maybe a good a good sign is when you give feedback to someone, and they are hard on themselves, appropriately hard on themselves, I think that's a good proxy, you know, there's definitely, you can definitely get feedback in a way that makes someone feel terrible, like we've all done it, hopefully, most of the time inadvertently. But, you know, this particular person was itching to go on the next meeting, was excited about getting an opportunity to, to come in and show what he's capable of, and really nailed it. I mean, it was, it was great, it was night and day. And those, you know, you do that 100 times, you know, your first few years out of out of college, and you've built like a really strong foundation for career growth. And so I definitely think you Igor you hit such a great point, which is that relationship capital has to be there. So that you get the benefit of the doubt, when you have to go give an uncomfortable, difficult message, because just because you had a good relationship doesn't mean it didn't really make it any easier. It just helped ensure that your intention, which was to help this person improve was viewed as genuinely trying to help them. And not that you were angry or

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah, exactly. But basically, it's coming from the right place. And the right place is investment in developing that person like that I personally care about their growth and their development. And I care about that, beyond the result of any single meeting. And then the feedback was all about their growth. But you have to have that relationship with that person to believe it. You know, like it has to be felt.

Robert Greiner:

And and that and I think if you approach it in with a level of dispassion, right, like we were just talking about, we could have probably had this person replaced. Right, we could have gone down avenues that removed responsibility that were a little bit harsh in the feedback, or callous, maybe harsh is probably the wrong word. Like we could have done things to marginalize a minimum, minimize the quote unquote, risk of this happening again. But ultimately, that's, that's not a good long term recipe for success. And, again, we wouldn't want people treating us like that. Right. And so I think that's where sort of the differences and, you know, trending more on the side of, of compassion, which does require it is a necessity to have these difficult conversations pay. So

Charles Knight:

a question for you, for you to about this situation. Because one of the things I was reminded of when I was reading this chapter, was that Bill Campbell was more of a team coach, as opposed to individual one on one coach, not to say didn't have one on ones, right. He coached individual people, but it was, it was really, he was trying to maximize the output of the team. And so in this situation that y'all are describing, did you all discuss who would you know who amongst the team would would deliver this presentation and Igor, his absence? Because, you know, what y'all are describing was the coaching of one particular person on their, on their performance, you know, doing one certain activity. But the, the piece that I really liked, and I wrote down here today was that the author's identified a critical factor for success in companies. And that is that teams act as communities. And that Bill Campbell was really good about managing that tension of, you know, getting individual performance out of people, and balancing the tension across highly ambitious, you know, smart, opinionated people on a team to achieve the the team's desired outcomes and goals. And so, did that apply? Does that apply to the situation that you're describing where you thought about and selected that this is the person that should go do this presentation? Or was it really focused on the individual? Yeah, question even makes sense?

Robert Greiner:

Yeah. Great. I was hoping we would get here so I'm glad you brought it up. There. There was a community response here, right? The person that gave the the original presentation and then the follow up one that was part of his set of responsibilities, and based on interests, skill set, level, you know, those kinds of things. I think when it talked about this in the book is this collective obsession with what's good for the group for the community versus the individual. So it took more energy to collectively support because me Igor and then the the manager on the team. And so there, as far as a supportive community, we all kind of rallied around to make sure that this was not a repeat, you know, you can a lot of times that doing client work you can get by making a mistake, if you repeat that mistake, people start to really kind of ask questions. And so we wanted to make sure that we did everything possible to put this person the best possible chance to succeed to succeed. And so that was more of a community support effort, versus just working with some person individually, we kind of banded around

Igor Geyfman:

that. And, and maybe this can provide some context to because at least as far as I'm concerned, in the same pile that I put the feedback sandwich into, as advice. There's also a piece of advice that I put on the same pile, and that is praise in public and criticize in private. And, you know, right after the first meeting happened, we did a team, let's call it an afternoon after action report. And we did it as a team. And we talked about the things that worked and the things that didn't work, and like at the individual level, and you know, what we could do about it, and what we could improve next time. And then there's follow up, one on one coaching. But, you know, the initial discussion about the performance was actually done with with the team. And, and it did convey this idea that, yes, you know, this one meeting, maybe it was this person's accountability to talk about this specific topic. But at the end of the day, we do things as a team, and we succeed as a team, or we fail as a team. And it's, you know, not this person failed, because if that person failed, and then the team's failed. And so I don't know if that helps to provide more context into how it was handled?

Charles Knight:

Yeah, I think it reinforces the point that the author's make towards the end of the chapter around, you know, every sports team has a coach, and, you know, the business world, you might try to draw the conclusion that every, every team within the business world needs a coach. But that that's probably not feasible. Right, a lot of executive senior executives have executive coaches. And I don't know if this is just based on that constraint, where it'd be really hard to have a Bill Campbell for every team for every business out there. But they, they assert that, you know, the best coaches are the managers of the teams themselves. So it's not so so as a leader, if you're leading a team, you need to see as part of your responsibility to be the team's coach. And I know, that's something that that is probably innately drilled into us, you know, based on the way that we approach leadership at our company. But I would venture to guess that that's probably not a universally held belief, you know, that all managers, all leaders of teams, are also coaches. What do you all think about that? Do you think that's a well accepted kind of component of leadership? Or is that a? Is that a radical kind of viewpoint out there in the business world?

Robert Greiner:

Well, yeah, I definitely agree that the person best position to coach a team is the leader of that team. So you can break down the way organizations are structured, basically, your direct reports, you're their coach, certainly shouldn't stop there. I think there's people who are uniquely qualified or have the right level of experience or interests or whatever to, to provide that sort of cross functional coaching. So it shouldn't exclusively be on the team. But I think that's first line of coaching, if you will, it should definitely be the team's manager, it should be more explicit in the expectations for that leader. And it's not and I think most people don't view who are in leadership positions. I would say less than half probably view their view it as their job or a primary, or maybe the primary responsibility of their role is to is to coach the team. I just I don't see a lot of it. But I could be wrong.

Igor Geyfman:

The same. I mean, I think like, way less than half, right, like probably 10% or less.

I think a lot

Charles Knight:

I wonder if that's a Go ahead Igor. You go ahead and finish, sorry.

Igor Geyfman:

I think managers think of their job is to manage however they want define it. And, and not to coach or, you know, they don't think of coaching activities as part of their management, sort of duties. And so they just don't, yeah, they don't think about it that way. They don't practice it. And some people may not even think about it that way, but they practice it anyway. Right? Because it's something that sort of comes to them naturally whether, you know, that's how they learned leadership when they were kids, you know, if they participate in sports or other sort of activities, where you know, they had coaches and they understood the importance of, of that sort of interaction to their success as a as a player.

Robert Greiner:

And then obviously people who are not in a formal leadership position coach others all the time, right? Especially if you're if you've been on a team for a couple years, there's a new person that comes in, who is your peer, you know, helping them get up to speed on boarded, feeling part of the group and making introductions, getting them the credentials and everything set up that there's a, like sort of temporary coach idea there as well. So I think there's also true this transient nature where coach by definition is temporary. Right? In any in any profession. That's not a someone is not your coach forever, but you can be a coach to is a many to many kind of thing.

Charles Knight:

Robert, I don't know if I followed them at the end. Could you just say more about them?

Robert Greiner:

Yeah, I got away from you there. Okay. So you got you got the first part about you can be a coach, you can serve as a coach without a formal title. I think that

Charles Knight:


Robert Greiner:

obvious. Okay. The coach, relationship. So coach and coachee, coachee, coach and team member, maybe there's a better way to say it. Those are, by definition always temporary. They could last multiple years. But you know, Bill Belichick is no longer Tom Brady's coach. But Tom Brady may go and call bill up before a big game or something. And though they may, they may talk about thoughts and ideas around football, right? There's a subset of people you're coaching right now that you won't be probably in a year and some you might still be. And so that the coaching relationship is transient nature. And it's this, it's not, it's not also not very scalable, because there's individual one on one time are required, but there is sort of this many to many factor where you can be a coach to several several people can be coaching you. And I think managing the sort of ebbs and flows of those relationships is a beneficial thing to think about.

Charles Knight:

Yeah, I think I now understand what you're saying, I think I'm gonna need to sit on that and chew on Well,

Robert Greiner:

it just popped into my head, like what else? I can write as if I'm wrong, please.

Charles Knight:

No, I'm just I'm just, I'm thinking about, okay, what are the implications of that? You know, it's you've got this web of coaching activity that happens over time. And my initial reaction is, it's kind of hard to make sense of all that. Right? If you're getting conflicting advice from different coaches, about a particular thing. You know, what, what does that mean?

Robert Greiner:

And you should be, you definitely should be getting conflicting advice from coaches, because these, the situations you find yourself in are are nuanced and complex. And there's a, a worldview, a filter with which the person the coaching relationship takes on. And so it's a good thing for you to triangulate, advice from a group of people and then make your own decision. Yeah, maybe not so good. If you're just doing what a single person tells you,

Charles Knight:

there's, there's some real truth to that I don't remember exactly in my career when I stopped, just assuming that what my manager or mentor or coach was telling me at the time as just absolute truth, on a Bashatt truth that I should just accept outright and not question. But I definitely don't do that anymore. And that's not a reflection of the coach. That's probably more of a reflection of my maturity and my ability to kind of operate in more nuanced situations. And so yeah, there's a lot of truth in that.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah. When, when kind of meme or analogy, I put in a lot of presentations. I do and, and I don't, I make sports analogies a lot when I like sports into, you know, when we're talking about leadership and performance and those kinds of things like it's just such a concrete example. But I, I do need maybe to expand my repertoire a little bit, but there's this major league baseball player and I actually don't like baseball at all, really, but they I think the examples good. So Mike Trout is a major league baseball player for the Los Angeles Angels, and one of the best hitters in the league today. So his batting average is 305. So it's also interesting that 70% of the time he fails at batting which is the thing that he's best at but anyway 300 or point three will get you in the Hall of Fame. It's that good. And there is an image I use of Mike Trout, talking to a batting coach before like during the game like before he goes up to the plate. Like if you could ever make an argument that someone didn't need a coach right like this, this guy's like at the top of his game, and is one of the best to ever play the position and or at least to one of the best hitters in the in the history of baseball. And yet he has several coaches, and the coaches bring him observations. So again, detached, they're not. They're not in his shoes, they don't have to step up to the plate they can they can watch from a distance while he's practicing. his craft, and they offer observations, thoughts and ideas on how to improve. And at this point in his career, he's looking for an edge, right? Little tiny tweaks that maybe compound into a big thing. And so I think we should all think of ourselves as World Class performers or aspirational world class performers in our craft in our, in our work in our industry. And the coaching and feedback and information that we take in is like Mike Trout, getting in getting feedback from his coaches, their thoughts and ideas to help you become better at your craft, but you have to be the one to internalize, distill and act on based on the context that you have.

Charles Knight:

I love it, man. That was great.

Robert Greiner:

So that the other thing, Charles, that I wanted to talk to you about, because and I'm reading this book now with a with a bit of an eye towards the team coaching, because I think I mentioned last time is a very interesting observation that you made. You know, instead, in this chapter, you know, he generally kept like opinions to himself as far as product and strategy, which is interesting, because, you know, he's bouncing, he has all this inside information bouncing around these technology companies, he probably actually gleaned a lot of what works and what didn't work. But it says he made sure the team was communicating the tensions and disagreements were brought to the surface and discuss and that when big decisions were made, everyone was on board, even if they didn't agree. So that's a really, I think, interesting, distilled example of the things that that Bill did. I think most of his time, if I'm not mistaken, though, was focused on the individuals. He occasionally attended, I would say regularly attended, staff meetings and things like that. So he was definitely part of the group discussions. But I think when it says he coached the team, he, he did it through individuals, he sets the greater picture. Yeah, figured out what needed to happen where those tensions and weak spots were and then worked through others to help resolve is that the impression that you're getting here?

Charles Knight:

Yeah, itis. And, and I think it depends on which situation, because when he was at, because he was, you know, his role was not purely coach all the time in his career. Right. He was actually a manager and a leader. And he was, right. Yeah, he had had one on ones and staff meetings and things like that. But then, you know, later on, yeah, he, he served purely as like a, I guess, more purely, like an advisor and a one on one, kind of coach. But yeah, I think I interpreted that way too, it's just that it's just phenomenal that he's able to, you know, through one on one interactions, you know, keep the team's overarching goal and objective in mind. Right, that that's just really hard for me, because I, I don't know, I think I pay, I tried to pay so much attention to the individual, and help them achieve their goals, or thinking about the team's objective, the project's objective and how to optimize for that. I don't know. I mean, I can understand why. You know, they say that there is literally only one, Bill Campbell ever, and nobody will be as great as him. And nobody should try to be as good as him. Because dancing, that that's just, that's just black voodoo magic. I'm just trying to think about, you know, how I try to balance those things. And my poorly not very well. Yeah,

Robert Greiner:

I felt the same way. Luckily, though, this is this is a spectrum. So it's not like, you know, it's not like professional sports in that regard that you can be moderately above average, and have a wildly successful career. And where we are, we're getting a front row seat into someone's craft that created over a trillion dollars in value in the market. Right. That was a I think it's such a way to frame up the impact that Bill Campbell's had on by the US economy, the technology sector, these individual companies as well as, as people, you know, the three of us do not have that level of reach. And so we are we will not be required to be to have that level of competence, thank goodness. But yeah, it just kind of said at the end, it's like KV improving in any of these areas will will, will go a long way into helping you improve as a leader. So that's, that's where that gave me some solace. But I did kind of think about the same thing. Like how the heck are you supposed to?

Charles Knight:

Yeah. And I think for me, it was more less of a you know, I'm beating myself up I'm not saying you're doing see the Robert but it was just more of wow, like, I've never met the guy. I don't even know what the guy looks like, other than maybe the, you know, the photo of him on the front of the book, jacket. But there's a sense of awe that I can kind of tap into when I think about that, like how difficult it is for me to do that. And so, the fact that he did that, so consistent Somebody for such a long period of time. Just really? Freakin crazy. Right? It's like he's clearly a world class. You know, expert in. Yeah. Motivating humans.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah. Awesome. Well, that means you're reading my book.

Charles Knight:

Yeah, absolutely.

Robert Greiner:

Great. Yeah. So we'll get into some practical stuff. Next week, they did say it was what is it for four sections, just looking at my notes. So how bill got the details, right in management skills. So one on one staff meetings handling challenging employee? So there's this, how does Bill Campbell manage the mechanics of managing a team? Very important, you have to have that. So foundation, it's hard to coach someone on a nuanced topic, if you don't know how to have a one on one. Right how to how to handle him challenging employees, right, those kind of things. Next is how to how Bill Campbell built trust with the people he worked with. So assuming that's the individuals that he coached that in before talking individual versus Team, and then how he built and created teams. And then to the point you made at the beginning of the episode, Charles, how he made it okay to bring love into the workplace. And so they use that term very specifically. So I'll be maybe we'll put a pin in that and see, once we get to the content, how, how that ended up working out?

Charles Knight:

Yep. I think that's a good overview of what the rest of the book is going to show. You know, they, there's a, not a quote, but the authors wrote this about Bill Campbell, there was only one Bill Campbell, perhaps the most extraordinary individual we have had the pleasure and honor to meet and befriend. That's like, holy moly, that's

Robert Greiner:

Well and you have to think about who said that, which is CEO of Google? Like already pretty exceptional people. Yeah. And so that, yes, Bill Campbell, has been unanimously voted in as most exceptional, of the exceptional.

Charles Knight:

So, you know, it makes me wonder, like, wow, you know, just thinking through some counterfactuals? what if scenarios, it's like, what if instead of Silicon Valley, business executive, he was in government, you know, or, or, I don't know, and life sciences and healthcare, like, what what could have done, could have been done with him leading and coaching people in different environments. And just given how extraordinary he was, that's just maybe something I'll be thinking about as we go through this just does this stuff apply and transfer outside of the, you know, business and technology world? My intuition says, Yes, but I don't know, that's worth validating, and testing that assumption.

Robert Greiner:

You know, on that same note, if we're talking about what ifs, what if he stayed in football, something that he was biologically wired, to not succeed at? Right, it's like, you're there was this headwind for him the whole time, like he wasn't going to fundamentally change who he was. And he probably would have had a really long successful career as a head coach. But I think there's a, there's a sub theme in here, too, where, you know, if you're in a role where it's not working out, it's not because you suck, right? It's because more than likely the situation is not ideal for you. And maybe changing the situation is the way to go. There's tons of places that like I would say, have had a fairly successful career today, there's tons of places I wouldn't be able to last the weekend, I'll get fired. And so a lot of times, it's more of an indication of the fit than than the person

Charles Knight:

on just just imagine because he started his business, executive career late, you know, comparatively speaking, I guess, to, you know, me who started my career out of college, just imagine the sunk cost in being a head football coach that he had to ignore, to kind of make that leap and change careers late later on in life than then many. That in and of itself is impressive. I don't know if I'd have it in me, right to recognize this. Now. This is an ideal, and yet, I've invested 1520 years in this thing. I don't think I could walk away. Right. So think about that. Sometimes. I wonder if he did? I'm sure he did.

Robert Greiner:

Oh, I'm sure. Yeah. Yeah. Big, big risk move across the country. A lot of unknowns. No. Yep. Well, whatever happened, I'm glad. I'm glad he did what he did, because now we have a really great book. And, you know, props to the authors for, for saying bill would have wanted this to be in the hands of everybody. So let's write it down and open source the content and get it to as if you want this content, you can have it for free. Really, there's a lot of summaries and things like that online. So yeah, I think that's a that's a really powerful thing for Bill Campbell's legacy, but also, Bill Campbell, you want to talk about the ripple effect of someone's life, you know, has had a pretty large impact on the three of us and the people that we lead and coach and manage and we've never met the guy, and we don't live anywhere near California. And so chances are we won't work with any of the any of his apprentices. Right. And so we're getting the benefit of that distilled coaching wisdom and guidance, which I think is pretty cool.

Charles Knight:

Yeah. Talk about a legacy, huh? Yeah. Yeah. Impressive.

Robert Greiner:

I mean, could be a billion people, a billion people. I could benefit from these coaching techniques over time. That's pretty cool. Igor, you've been awfully quiet friend.

Igor Geyfman:

I just, you know, this is this is a really great book. And that to Charles's point earlier, you know, is this a common thing, and I said, not common, and maybe less than 10%. And I think the good work that this book is doing, and hopefully that we're some small part of while we're talking about the book and promoting the book, in our own way, is getting that number to edge higher. So let's get what I'm excited about.

Robert Greiner:

And look at the impact that someone like Bill Campbell has had on people's lives, like they're showing up to his funeral flying in from across the country. People are tied to him in a in a deep, emotional way. And they're all looking around saying, my life is made better because of this person. So yeah, what a great thing to focus on. Next week, Igor, I just one of your favorite chapters, I'm sure because you say stuff like this all the time. But maybe your favorite phrase of your title makes you a manager, but your people make you a leader. So this will be your sweet spot next week.

Igor Geyfman:

Yep, I'm really looking forward to it. It's a great chapter. All the chapters here are great. I think there's 60 in total. So we covered chapter one today, so we got five more exciting episodes coming in. The next episodes gonna be really, really great.

Robert Greiner:

Can't any better than that. Thanks, buddy.

Igor Geyfman:

Thanks y'all.

Robert Greiner:

ll right. Good chat.

Igor Geyfman:

Good job. Let's see.

Charles Knight:

See y'all later.

Robert Greiner:

That's it for today. Thanks for joining. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @wannagrabcoffee or drop us a line at [email protected]

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Wanna Grab Coffee?
Join us for weekly discussions about careers, leadership, and balancing work and life.
A podcast about all of the topics we discuss during our mid-day coffee breaks. We bring you stories, thoughts, and ideas around life as a professional, leadership concepts, and work/life balance. We view career and leadership development as a practice that spans decades and we are excited to go on this journey with you.