7 Leadership Lessons From the Coach Who Mentored Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, and Jeff Bezos

Bill Campbell dies at 75, leaving Silicon Valley’s top leaders without their most trusted adviser.

VC Ben Horowitz onstage with his friend and mentor Bill Campbell (right).
CREDIT: Getty Images
 Most Silicon Valley titans are familiar figures. They make commencement speeches that rack up millions of views on YouTube, get profiled by business websites such as this one, and have irreverent movies made about their lives.

And then there was Bill Campbell, who died of cancer on Monday at 75. He was one of the most influential figures in Silicon Valley, yet was outside the norm in just about every way. Even though he was CEO of Intuit and was chairman of its board until his death, “Coach,” as everyone called him, could not write a line of code. He grew up in the Rust Belt of Pennsylvania and attended Columbia only because his father knew the football coach there and he wanted to play. He got a degree in education and headed into a career as a college football coach. But somewhere along the way he took a left turn and wound up at Apple (where, among other things, he kept the company from chickening out and canceling its famous “1984” Super Bowl ad).

He went on to become a VC, take on the top slot at Intuit, and eventually become a valued and trusted adviser to an impressive list of high-tech luminaries that includes Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, and Ben Horowitz, among others.

His death is a sad, sad loss. But we can all still benefit from his wisdom.

1. Care about people more than anything.

Campbell cared deeply both about the people he coached and the employees at the companies he helped lead. In 2002, Ben Horowitz (now a legendary VC and co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz) made a deal with EDS to save LoudCloud, the web-hosting company he had co-founded. Though the deal kept the company alive, it meant a major restructuring and layoffs of a third of its employees. Horowitz was headed to New York City for a joint press conference with EDS, but Campbell advised against it. “Nobody in the company’s going to care about anything but where they stand. You have to deliver the news,” Campbell said, according to a Fortune interview with Horowitz. “Be there all day — help them carry their stuff to the car.”

Horowitz canceled his trip and wound up happy he did. “It allowed me to live and manage another day. That was the foundation for everything we did after that.”

2. Judge people by more than their metrics.

Silicon Valley is famously data-driven. But many times, executives “make their numbers” by making life harder for everyone around them. Campbell understood this, so he came up with a review system that evaluates people across four measures: their traditional metrics; their peer relationships; how well they develop the people who work for them; and how innovative they are.

3. Don’t separate the vision from the operations.

You need to really kill it at both, Campbell counseled. This is why many of the companies he advised — including Google and Apple — have no COO. Vision is very important, he believed — and so is operational excellence. In a structure with a CEO and COO, the CEO can get too distant from the real life within an organization, while the COO gets bypassed by executives who insist on reporting directly to the top.

4. Put a premium on innovation.

Top executives who’ve been coached by Campbell report that he was always seeking to increase R&D budgets. At his suggestion, Intuit gave its engineers four hours of unstructured time every week — and wound up with some new products. Though he had no technological chops himself, many who knew him report that Campbell set a very high value on software engineers and their ability to come up with wonderfulinnovations when given the freedom and resources to do so.

5. Be completely trustworthy.

One reason so many top executives looked to Campbell for mentoring is that they knew they could trust him completely with anything they told him. Thus, he was able to serve for years on the boards of archrivals Apple and Google with no conflict-of-interest issues (although there was some yelling from Jobs).

6. Give away credit.

Campbell tended to stay out of the spotlight. You won’t find many videos of him on YouTube — which is ironic since one of his roles at Google was to counsel YouTube’s top executives. But he never wanted to accept praise for the accomplishments of anyone he mentored.

“People (many in the press) want to credit others for aiding the CEO/founder in these decisions. This result is totally unfair,” he told Fortune reporter Jennifer Reingold by email — as an explanation for his refusal to be interviewed.

7. Be yourself.

In further defiance of Silicon Valley norms, Campbell operated most often not from a shiny office but from a table (with a plaque reading “Coach’s Corner”) in the Old Pro sports bar in Palo Alto. Campbell was an investor in the bar, and often gave advice to high-flying tech executives there. He was fond of both hugs and profanity and apparently handed out plenty of both.

People loved him for it. He was living proof that you can be exactly who you are, live the way you want to live, and still do really, really well. And leave the world a better place for having been here.

Want To Make Yourself More Likable? Figure Out How To Do This

There’s a secret to being more likable, and it is not about the jokes you tell or the clothes you wear.
Contributing editor, Inc.com
CREDIT: Getty Images
You’re heading out for an interview. The job is the one you’ve dreamed about for years. Now for the hard part. You need to make yourself seem likable. Too many companies tend to hire based on whether they want to hang out with you after work, not the fact that you have multiple degrees from a prestigious university and won a bunch of industry awards (as disappointing as that may be).

The question is: How do you convince people you are worth hiring?

In meetings, at lunches and conferences, and during investor roundtables, the company picnic with the bigwigs, and everything in between in life and at work, it can be challenging to appear likable in multiple situations, especially since we all tend to fall into a mood once in awhile. Is it how you dress, what you say, whether you make some good jokes, your education, or some other magical formula?

I have a really good theory. As you may know, it’s impossible to have a one-size-fits-all rule about likability because it depends so greatly on the scenario, who you are with at the time, whether it is more of a technical discussion or simply a matter of acting suave and debonair. Likable people often don’t even know why they are likable. We just think: I like that person. Yet, I’m convinced there is a way to make sure you are more likable in almost any situation. Here’s the secret.

The one consistent trait of likable people is that they offer more than you expect. As humans, we are always setting internal expectations. We assume, for better or worse, that people will do essentially what they are asked to do and nothing more than that. This applies to assigning tasks to an employee, meeting someone for lunch, or attending a conference with a few colleagues.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you are going to hang out with someone after work. You go into it thinking the person will probably chat a bit and maybe share a few jokes. You’ll swap stories and eventually part ways. But what if your new work friend offers to buy you some food? Or maybe suggests introducing you to someone who can help out on a project at work? Your expectations are raised and you like the person more. We tend to like people who go the extra mile, who offer help and advice beyond what we expect, who don’t just meet our needs but serve us beyond the norm. Likability and going beyond the expected are inextricably linked.

One of the reasons I know this “going beyond the norm” is a big factor in likability has to do with my role as a journalist. I am constantly testing products, but more importantly I am constantly dealing with the people who represent those products. Some just share the facts and arrange for the UPS delivery. No big deal. Others go much further. In one recent example, a rep didn’t just send me a product–he offered advice about the entire subject matter (in this case, it was related to gardening). My reaction when this happens? This is a likable person.

Meeting a need is one thing. Going the extra few steps makes a major difference in likability. Isn’t that true of everything? When a smartphone does more than we expect, we like it more. When a new car has features we didn’t know it had, we like it more. Buy something that does what it claims and we react with a ho-hum attitude.

People are the same way. The most likable people in life are those who exceed our expectations. They take action. They encourage us when we didn’t think we needed any encouragement. They offer advice beyond our expectations and we suddenly prefer spending time with that person. We pick them.

The challenge is to become that person. In interviews, offer up more information than the interviewer expects. At a work lunch, offer to be the one to clean up the mess. With the boss, volunteer to do an extra project that’s not in your job description. Try going above expectations and see if you become more likable, then let me know if it works.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

Millennials Part Two

In May 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau’s data indicated that Millennials were the majority of our nation’s labor force.  This subset of adults born between 1980-1996 walks into the office with a completely different frame of reference from generations before them and the disruption is taking its toll on organizations.

The older generation often look at Millennials and make the bold claim:  “These kids are lazy and entitled!”  While this may be true in certain cases, I challenge that there is something deeper going on here that requires a different perspective.  Perhaps they aren’t lazy and entitled.  Perhaps they are bored and ambitious.

It is important to recognize who this younger generation is.  They are the first generation with access to personal computers at home and the internet (that included the ability to chat with people across the globe instantly).  Most of them got cell phones no later than high school and don’t know what it’s like to be without one in their pocket.

They are the generation that were told they needed to go to college and earn at least an undergraduate degree from a top school.  Many didn’t stop there and earned other undergraduate or higher level graduate degrees to complete their education.

They were told they could change the world if they only tried hard enough and they would be paid well to do it. I’m regularly amazed at how much this generation expects to be paid for entry-level positions.  But they were told they were worth it and they believe it.

Millennials have a unique perspective on their situation and how it fits into the scope of the world that is unlike prior generations.  That’s not to say that individuals from prior generations didn’t want to influence or change the world.  The important thing to understand is that group as a whole, carries this perspective and the weight of it is heavy, for non-Millennials to appreciate.

So when a Millennial walks into a new job, he immediately wants to jump in and add value.  He’s finally landed his dream job and he wants to conquer the world with it.  Unfortunately, most organizations are structured to use an employee as a resource to fulfill a single type of work.  For the Millennial, this can get boring very quickly.  Once they feel that they dominate that role, they want their responsibility to grow with their knowledge.

This is where things begin to fall apart.  In previous generations, a young employee would “learn the ropes” at an organization and sit in that seat for a few years.  After he worked hard enough and earned recognition from his superiors, he might receive a promotion based on the company’s needs.  Or at least he might be considered for one.

This model doesn’t work for the Millennial.  He was told that he was worth more and could impact more.  And that’s what he wants to do.  It doesn’t help that he has access to the internet and knows how to use it to learn everything he needs to know about doing the jobs of those around him.  Even if he doesn’t have the work experience, his ability to process what he reads and apply it to his situation is something he has done since his early teens.  He’s already well-educated and believes he can do a good job and add value in areas outside his job role.  If he doesn’t get that opportunity, he believes his career is at a standstill.

Do you see the complication here?  A Millennial who believes his career is stuck will suddenly become “lazy and entitled” (or bored and ambitious).  He wants more, but the way he wants it doesn’t fit with the older generation’s expectations and most organizations aren’t staged well to support their growth.

This may all seem like simple anecdotes until you start looking at the data available.  In one survey, Millennials reported that during year one of a new job, they really weren’t too concerned about what their career path looked like.  By year two, they were highly concerned about it and were generally dissatisfied with their current career path.

What does that indicate?  Simply that the perspective of a Millennial entering the workplace does not match the culture of the organization.  This is where leaders in organizations need to analyze how they engage Millennials. This younger crowd isn’t going away, and if you intend for your company to survive, you need to figure out how to attract and keep Millennials in your office.

So what can you do to embrace this young crowd?

The first step is inclusion.  Remember:  Millennials know how to get all the knowledge they need to exist through an internet search or their social networks. Don’t limit their knowledge in your organization!  Transparency is an instant win simply because it tells your employees that you trust their ability to provide value simply from possessing the knowledge.  This speaks volumes because it gives them the opportunity to see the bigger picture.

Contrary to popular thought, Millennials greatly appreciate and prefer personalized feedback and coaching.  However, you can’t take a negatively aggressive or unempowering approach.  If your typical approach to coaching is complaining to your employees about how they did something wrong and what they need to do better, you should work on your coaching skills before working with Millennials.

Millennials need to understand why answering the phone ringing on their desk provides substantial value to the organization.  They need to know that the data they enter into those spreadsheets feeds decisions that influence the trajectory of the company.  If you can’t provide reasonable value to the mind of a Millennial, they will begin to disengaged.

When coaching Millennials, think big.  Think about how their role serves the organization and why you need them to approach their job differently.  Explain how their current work serves as an opportunity for them to grow, and provide clear paths for them to expand their responsibilities.  Note that they don’t always need a promotion or title change.  While these are nice, Millennials often only need the freedom to add and grow to their responsibilities and skills.  Look for these opportunities and find ways to trust their desire to grow.

Another trait that older generations often find annoying about Millennials is their accessibility to social media and their personal life.  Texting, using Facebook, Snapchat, or other forms of communication is a part of who they are.  Banning their use in the office will often hurt more than it will help.  Learning how to tell them it’s inappropriate to use social media in certain situations but OK to use it in others enables trust and says that you believe they can manage their time on their own.  Focus and coach on the work that needs to be done and trust them to do it.  They will appreciate you more and their work will probably surprise you.

Millennials are clearly a different group of people than we’ve ever seen in the workforce.  Learning to adopt them into your organization will greatly benefit you for years to come.  In closing, I’ll leave you with a couple operating assumptions for you to think about:

Assumption #1:  A Millennial’s mentality often produces impatience and frustration because they haven’t yet learned that growth and advancement takes time.  They want to be as efficient as possible, so an unpublished career path, silent leaders, and no coaching feels to them like a “dead end” situation.

Assumption #2:  Millennials have ambition, drive, and commitment when they grasp the bigger picture vision and purpose of their job.  Their youth and inexperience prevent them from seeing this on their own and need more senior leaders to cast that vision within an organization.  This is often where the senior group thinks Millennials are “entitled”.  Millennials push the need for knowledge and want to add value in areas outside of their role much earlier in their careers in ways previous groups didn’t.

By: Joshua  McDonald  Services Senior Manager at HCSS

Houston, Texas Area Computer Software

The Millennialists

Managing the Millennial Generation


The Millennial Generation raises questions, confusion, and brings up multiple questions regarding how to motivate and manage this group, which is notably distinct from all others not in that generation. Who are the Millennials, also known as Generation Y, the age-group from 21-32 years, and why do we care?


The Millenial Generation will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025, according to studies done by Deloitte. The Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau says, “More than one-in-three American workers today are Millennials and this year they surpassed Generation X (ages 35-50) to become the largest share of the American workforce.”


That is why we care, because they are already so prevalent in the workplace and will be driving the future!

The question is…

How does your organization attract the best of this group and how do you keep them?

There are some common denominators among Millenials. This is what they want you to know and understand; take these considerations into account and you will find that Millenials can out perform as well and out produce workers from generations past.

Flexibility – This group was brought up with technology and they know how to use it. They believe they can work from anywhere and get the job done! They do understand there are times and situations when being at the office is imperative and they are OK with that but all other times should allow for options. Also, don’t be threatened by their ability to use technology – they are happy to teach you, just ask!

A Creative Environment: Think outside the box! Could your environment include: music, updated workspace, ways for employees to let off stress i.e., ping pong, air hockey, gym or an open work environment. Millenials will work hard for you and produce, in addition, they want a hip and inspiring place to work.

Respect: Millenials know they have to earn their stripes but many have already been running full blown and mini businesses via the Internet since they were 10! This business-minded group has set up Ebay, Etsy, U-Tube and other ventures while still in high school and some even in elementary. They have dealt with people across the world and have grown up as winners. They want to continue to contribute and make a difference and will do so for you, if you let them.

Work Ethic: Millennialists like any other generation has had it’s fair share of lazy and entitled people but they also have a far larger percentage of hard-working, innovative, intelligent people who are dedicated to the job. They are willing to put in the hours to get what they want but believe they should be able to access opportunities and advancement as earned.

Opportunity: Historically, in the corporate environment you knew you had made it when “Manager, Director, and/or VP” was part of your title and you were in charge of others. Some Millenials do want to be managers who guide and lead others but there are many who would prefer to be individual contributors and have no desire to manage others. Nevertheless, those Millenials who want to function as an individual contributor still want opportunities to lead without managing, to be influential, make more money, make a difference, and take on more responsibility. Offer dual career tracks and other paths for these workers to be involved and lead.

Even though there are some commonly recognized traits among Millennial workers, like all other generations they are a diverse group. But, include them, engage them, and treat them with respect, and they will respond accordingly!


Sharon Lucas, MS, ISD

President, CDT3


Delloitte 2015 http://www2.deloitte.com

The Pew Research Center of the US Census Bureau 2015; http://www.census.gov






As a leader in your workplace, you can be the force that motivates, inspires and unleashes  your employees to unstoppable power with just a little push!

Remember the cartoon with the snowball on top of the hill?  It starts to slowly roll down, picking up speed and plowing over everything in its way.  Tree limbs, someone’s legs or arms are sticking out on the sides as the snowball starts to move faster and faster down the hill. How did this snowball get moving?  All that stored potential energy was transformed into kinetic energy with a simple little push.  Like the snowball, your employees, are an energetic force that can be extremely effective, if someone will just give them a nudge.

Let’s look at four basic snarls that can hinder an individual’s forward motion:

  • Indecision – Stop Stalling and Decide!  The more options we have, the more difficult it is to decide.  Feeling overwhelmed by the possibilities can delay a person from moving forward.  Take some time to weigh out the evidence of each path while listening to your instincts.  Make a decision and then move on.  We can always adjust and make changes as we go along.  


  • Poor Time Management – Quit Wasting Time!  All of us are given the same amount of time each day, 1,140 minutes.  We know how quickly we can lose 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there and 20 minutes somewhere else!  If we all have the same amount of time, how is it that some people succeed when others don’t?  Be deliberate about the way you spend your time and stay realistic about what you can accomplish.  It comes down to planning.  When you excel at managing your time, you can maximize your day and minimize your frustration.  Before you begin working on a task, ask yourself: ”Will doing this help me fulfill my potential?”  This is an easy way to eliminate the busy work in our day that takes away from the important tasks.


  • Know the Costs –  For everything you gain, you must relinquish something.  Each choice you make to accomplish one task will leave some others undone.  John Maxwell says, “I always try to say, NO to the good so I can say YES to the best.”  


To reach your full potential in any area of your life – friendships, marriage, parenting, career, hobbies – you must be willing to pay a price.  Define the things you want most and then determine what you are willing to sacrifice in time, money, opportunities and relationships in order to achieve them.  You will be more at peace with your decisions if you have this real conversation with yourself ahead of time.  

  • Sharpen Your Problem Solving – Problems will find you!  The way you handle them will either limit or enhance your potential.  You can see these glitches as opportunities for wisdom and growth that spark kinetic energy or as obstacles that prevent momentum.  Face complications creatively, do not allow them to freeze your progress or that of your employees.  Search out the things you can gain from your problems.  There is much more to learn from our failures than from our successes!  


The wonderful thing about potential is that it can build upon itself.  If you can get the snowball rolling, the energy and motion will take over.  

Think about the people you are drawn to.  Why do you admire them?  You are probably attracted to them because they are people moving through their life with a force that is contagious.  Their purpose and energy draws us to them.  We want to get close to them and be apart of what they are doing!  

Today you have a choice, sit on top of the hill contemplating your capabilities?  Or, give yourself or your employee a little shove and barrel down that hill, knocking over obstacles standing in your way!


Welcome to Coaching Corner

Welcome to the Coaching Corner blog sponsored by CDT3. The Coaching Corner Blog is our way of sharing knowledge, expertise and relevant information to address real time issues occurring in businesses today.

CDT3 Wordle2_Blog.10.13.15

So who are we? CDT3 is a group of high octane individuals with substantial experience across multiple industries who are devoted to providing creative consulting, custom instructional design, training and talent acquisition. Our goal is to help organizations optimize their objectives by providing capable experts and resources for training, coaching, consulting, HR support and talent acquisition. Our approach is to first find out what the business objectives are for the client and then partner with our clients to assist them in achieving those goals.

We have built a team of talented experts in our focus areas.  We are so excited to have partnered with Kelsey DeHart of Digidi Digital Design to create this website and hope that you find it user friendly and informative. Please send us any feedback you have at info@cdt3training.com.

Feel free to explore the website and we are happy to answer any questions you may have. CDT3 looks forward to partnering with you in the near future

Sharon Lucas, President