Whit MItchell: “Working in Sync” | Talks at Google

WOLF WEBER: All right. Good morning. Welcome to this edition
of Authors at Google. My name is Wolf Weber. I’m a long time Googler, and I’m
happy to introduce our speaker today, Whit Mitchell. Whit was my freshman coach
in rowing in college. And we recently had
our college reunion, and we kind of all reconnected. And Whit was inspired–
by this time, he had become an
executive coach, and he was inspired by some
of the professional paths that we’ve had in our lives. And we all kind of
reconnected on that. And he ended up writing
a book about it. And so here’s Whit
Mitchell– Working in Sync. WHIT MITCHELL: Wonderful. Thank you, Wolf. So my executive coaching career
started on June 16, 1962, when I was eight years old,
on the banks of the Thames River in New
London, Connecticut. I just didn’t know that
that’s when it would start. My grandfather took me to
the Harvard-Yale crew race, which is the oldest
intercollegiate event in the country– older than
football, baseball, anything else. That Harvard-Yale crew race was
rowed on Lake Winnipesaukee– 1852. Yale won by a couple lengths. But my grandfather took me to
this Yale-Harvard crew race in New London, Connecticut,
and we showed up on the finish line that was a
bluff raised above the Thames River, and we drove in. There were lots of cars there. And he took me out
at the age of eight, and he gave me the
binoculars, and he said look four miles
down the river. So as I looked
four miles away, we could see a flotilla of boats. And back in the early ’60s,
crew was a very big sport. In fact, there’s another
book out now called “The Boys in the Boat.” And it was thousands
and thousands of spectators used to
show up for crew races, and this was the
case on that day. Four miles downstream, he showed
me you could see a crimson and a blue boat– oarsmen
in the boat getting ready– lined up for a four-mile row. And what he told
me was these boats would take about 20 to 25
minutes to get upstream. And sure enough, at 6
o’clock, the gun went off. And there was a train
with bleachers in it that was loaded with spectators. And the train would follow
the race all the way up. And as they followed the race
up, the announcer on the train would call the race. So I had never seen
this sport before, but it sounded– he
made it exciting. So Harvard’s ahead by a seat. Yale’s ahead by a seat. Through the first mile,
through the second mile, through the third mile–
and they came into view, and I could see the
water splashing, and I could see
the backs arching, and I could see how much
energy and power was being exhibited by these guys. And at the last
couple of strokes, Yale pulled ahead
and won by a second, which is about that much. What happened next
changed my life and is probably why
I’m standing here. My grandfather
said watch closely, and he gave me the binoculars. And what they did was they
pulled these two boats together. The oars are 12 feet long,
so to pull two boats together takes a bit of jimmying. But they pulled
the boats together, and the Harvard guys
took their shirts off, and they reached across to
the Yale counterpart who won, shook his hand,
gave them the shirt, and then they separated. And the Harvard guys
rowed back bare-chested, and the Yale guys row back
with their Harvard award. The humility, the
courage, the teamwork, the work ethic that went into
racing four miles upstream and losing by this much
made an impression on me at the age of eight. And I said, boy, is
that all you have to do to win a free t-shirt? That was sort of my mentality
at the age of eight. But what impressed me
was the sportsmanship and how they rowed against these
guys and pulled this together. I went back to that race
four or five years later, and then went on
to high school– a small school in Connecticut
that had 150 boys, and 100 of us went out for crew. The rest went out for
baseball and tennis. We won every race
for four years. So I was really
interested in this sport and became passionate about
wanting to do more of it. I went to the University
of New Hampshire. And I’m lying in
bed the first night, and I saw in the
school newspaper– it said “crew club meeting 7
o’clock at the Memorial Student Union building.” It was 7 o’clock. I hopped in my car,
and I got there. 60 or 70 people in the
room– as a club sport. And the fellow
standing up in front started describing what
was going to happen. Come down to the boathouse,
and here’s what it is. They were all new people. None of them had rowed before. So I had had enough of rowing. And I walked up to them
at the end of the event, and I said I’d be
happy to help out. He said great. Show up tomorrow. So I showed up the
next day, and people had recruited another
10 or 12 people. There were probably 60
or 70 people there– college students. So I walked up and I
said, “Remember me? I was there last night.” And he said, “Oh yeah. We got together after you left. We’ve got a job for you.” I said “Great. What is it?” He said, “You’re going
to be the head coach.” And I was a freshman. And I argued with him
for 5 or 10 minutes, and then I relented,
and I said, “Great. We’ll give it a go.” So 70 people– and I went
out every day in the launch and coached 60 or 70 people
until we had some people graduate and they helped me out. But again, my passion, my
excitement for coaching– of which I’m now an
executive coach– really came from that experience. That, to me, was an
extraordinary learning. And I want you to think about
an extraordinary learning you’ve had in your own life. Just think about
it for a minute. Was it something that you read? Because we learn
a lot by reading. Was it something you heard, like
Martin Luther King’s speech? Or was it something you did–
an experience that you had? Yes. Yes. And those experiences stay here. So what I’d like to
do is just– there’s blank piece of paper
on your chair– is go through a learning–
doing it by an experience. So I’m going to give
you six different pieces of instruction, and
just follow me along, and then we’ll
see what we learn. There’s paper on the chairs. So here’s the instructions. Take the paper and
fold it in half. Tear off the upper
right-hand corner. Fold it in half again, and tear
off the lower left-hand corner. Fold it in half one
last time, and tear off the upper left-hand corner. Once you’ve completed all
six pieces of instruction, just unfold it and hold
it up above your head, and look around, and
look at the people. So if you hold it in front of
yourself, you can’t see it. So just hold it up. Look around. And let’s see
whose are the same. Go ahead. You can hold those up. That’s perfect. So what do you see? Any two the same? So you work here every day. You go to meetings every day. What’s the analogy here? You go to a meeting, and
you listen clearly what the instructions are. Or you have a meeting, and you
give out clear instructions. And a week later you
come back thinking, I thought I was pretty clear,
and you get one of these, and you can’t figure it out. 55% of what listeners
believe have to do with your
presentation, your hands, your facial expressions. 38% have to do with
the tone, and 7% have to do with the words. So why do you think
whenever I walk in a place, they go, there’s a problem
with communication. So that’s a quick experience. But look at the differences. What I’d like to do is
zero in on the differences. We each tore– six
of us, seven of us. Each one was different. My encouragement would
be to find somebody in the audience that had
something very different, have a cup of coffee with them,
and find out what they heard and what the differences were. How can you maximize differences
here in the work that you do? Put the two sheets
together, and see if it makes a whole sheet again. But what could we
do here at Google to maximize our differences? Walking across to a different
department, research and development, going to sales,
working with other people, getting people out and finding
out what do I need– what could I learn from you to make
me a better employee here. What I’d like you to
do– this is an event. It’s the Olympic gold medal
event in London in 2012 for the women. And the USA made the final. They’re in lane three. It’s going to be
fun to watch this, but here’s how I
want you to look at it– through
a different lens. I want you to come
up with one or two key characteristics of why
this team is so extraordinary. So as I said, you can
see USA in lane three. It’s the finals. It’s London. We’re not going to
watch the whole race. I’ve cut it up a little bit. But key in not just on
enjoying the race but what makes them so good,
so extraordinary, at a world-class level. So in rowing, for those
of you that don’t know, when you start, you start
with very short strokes to get the boat moving. There’s a ton of weight
that you have to get moving. Each guy is about 200
pounds– 8 plus the coxon. And once you get it going, you
just lengthen the strokes out and sort of settle in, because
it’s about a six-minute race. So you’ve got to
save some energy. But you can already see there’s
a couple of boats out ahead. And yet, these are
the best in the world. They all look like they’re
doing the same thing, but there’s one– and you
can think about Google. Why are you the
best in the world? What is it if you did 5%
better could you get faster at? So there’s 2000 meters. This is the first 500 meters. You can see that USA up top
is ahead already– Canada close behind,
Netherlands close behind. But again, it’s fun
to watch, but focus in on what do you think they did as
far as recruiting, development, and getting them to be the best. You can’t get much
better than that. In the sport of rowing,
for those of you that don’t know a lot
about it, the coach looks at the different aspects–
the different expertise of the people and puts them in
different seats in the boat. The person that is facing you
with their back is the coxon. Their job is to steer. They have little
cords next to them, and they want to
steer a straight shot. You can see buoys, so
it’s not too hard to do. But they’re also looking
at the other crews, and they’re giving
some information to the crew that’s rowing
about the crews next to them. That’s their job– the strategy. The next person in the
boat that they’re facing is called the stroke, and
they really set the pace. They’re the pace setter. So in a mile run, you’d
want them right next to you. They’re setting the pace
for the rest of the people. And the person right
behind him is also sort of on the other side of
the boat setting the pace. The people in the
middle of the boat– the fellow that introduced
me before, Wolf– he was right in the middle. I wanted the big,
strong guys right in the middle of the boat,
called the engine room. Just pull hard. Technically, I wasn’t as
interested in– but pull hard. And here they have 1,500 meters,
so they’re– 500 meters to go before they finish. I’ll let you watch the finish. Key in on some attributes
or characteristics that make extraordinary teams. Canada is not going to
let us get away with this. So as you get close
to the finish, they’re going to raise
the stroke level up. Just like you get close
to the last quarter mile in a mile run, you’re
going to pick it up. So they’re putting everything
they’ve got into it, and yet they’re still
rowing exceptionally well, and they’re extremely
tired right now. Their heart rates are close
to 200 beats a minute. And the Canadians are
right here in the white. And we have good competition
with the Canadian women in soccer and hockey
and in rowing as well. And these women are big. They’re 6′ 0,” 6′ 2,” 180, 185. The coaches are on
those bikes on the side. So they’re taking some
notes, but at this point, there are no more notes this. This is the gold medal, or not. So here comes Canada. So they’ve saved
something for the end, but there’s the finish. The part I love is right here. So there it is. That’s how tired they are, and
yet they rowed so beautifully. So I’d like you to think about
one or two characteristics of extraordinary teams. What comes to mind as you
think about that race? This is the part of the group
participation part of the talk. What comes to mind when you
think of extraordinary teams? What did that coach do
to make them so good? AUDIENCE: Focus? WHIT MITCHELL: So focus on what? AUDIENCE: On the gold? WHIT MITCHELL: Their
focus was a gold medal from the time they
started a year earlier. So focus and agreed upon goals. Same in business? Yeah. We want to know
where we’re headed. We want to know
what the focus is. Where are we headed
in this department? What’s the goal? What’s the vision? What’s the mission? Are we headed in that direction? What else? AUDIENCE: They kept
their composure. So when Canada was kind
of inching up on them, it seemed like they
just [INAUDIBLE]. WHIT MITCHELL: So think
about that in leadership. When stress starts to come
up, when the market starts to change, when things are not
as we plan– like where are they coming from– when
you’ve worked for leaders, how do they handle that stress? What do they do well? What could they do better? What else? Yeah? AUDIENCE: They’re in sync. WHIT MITCHELL: So they’re rowing
in sync– working in sync, so to speak. Yeah, rowing in unison. So they know what the
other one’s doing, and they know they
can’t just stop. Well, I’ve had enough of this. I think I’ll just stop. I mean, you get an
oar in the back, so you don’t do that very often. I came up with three
words thinking about it that all end in “ing.” There’s the gold medal. The gold medal is the highest
form of accountability, and you hear that
word a lot in work. We need to hold
them accountable. I’d like to change the
mindset and say, what are you doing to hold
yourself accountable. But here are the three words
I use– connecting, knowing, and winning. Connecting has to do with
building deeper relationships. Who do you know that
you work with that you need to connect at a different
level or a deeper level with? And if you did, work
would get better. Work would get more–
we’d put more out. Knowing is knowing about me. And some of you aren’t old
enough to remember this, but Ed Koch, who was
the mayor of New York, he used to walk through
the streets of New York as he was campaigning, and
he’d say how am I doing. How many leaders do you know
that walk around and say how am I doing? I want to know. And then we’re able to give
them safe, constructive feedback to get better. That may be happening here. I don’t know. But getting to know self
is extremely important. And the last is winning. So they went for a gold medal. They spent a year
training for that, and they’ve got it
around their neck. Winning has to do with
developing key results that reflect superior
performance in your work. It’s not just the
job description– other duties as assigned. But do you have three
to five key results that you’re zeroed
in on– focused on– to get the gold medal? So let’s go into
that a little deeper. Connecting– my background at
the University of New Hampshire was exercise physiology. And each year, I’d go
to the American College of Sports Medicine
annual meeting. This year it was in
Indianapolis, Indiana– the year that– I’m
referring to a story. So I walked in a little late. They started with a dinner
at 7 o’clock at night. The first night you get
there, everybody arrives. You go to dinner. It’s a big awards dinner. And I walked in,
and all the tables were full except for the
one nearest the door. There were two empty seats, so
I jumped on one of those seats. They brought the salad. They add the water– talking
to the guy next to me. There’s an empty seat. We’re about halfway through
the salads, and the door opens. And I can see the
light coming in. And I look around,
and there’s a guy standing there that looks
homeless– big beard, big hat, scruffy clothes, boots sort
of dirty, scruffy pants. And I’m thinking to myself,
this guy’s got life figured out, and he’s homeless. He knows if he shows up
here every night at 7:10 when the dinners
start getting served and there’s an empty
seat, he can go sit down. So I’m thinking, he’s
going to sit next to me. So sure enough, in
the door he comes. The door closes, and he’s
headed right for our table, and he sits down
right next to me. And I do one of these, and start
talking to the guy next to me. I couldn’t do it
for much longer. So after five minutes, I
turn to him and I said, “Hi, my name is Whit. What’s your name?” He said, “My name’s Joe.” Sure. “Joe, what are you doing here?” He said, “I’m the keynote
speaker tomorrow.” So I started talking to Joe. Turns out that Joe was the
keynote speaker the next day. His name is Joe Redington. Joe Redington is the founder
of the Iditarod sled dog race. He started it. And he was there to
speak about the exercise physiology of
training sled dogs. And we sat there
for three hours. He had a card he gave me. You go like this, and it
was– three-dimensionally, you can see the dogs
running the cart. It was fascinating. It was from Alaska. He’d just flown in. He’d just landed from Alaska. He didn’t need to
get dressed up. He was the keynote. He was fascinating. The next day, 90
minutes he talked about how he trained
dogs on treadmills. This was back in the ’80s. Fascinating guy. However, the point
of the story is who’s the Joe
Redington in your life? We all have them. Who am I not talking to
that I should talk to, that I should connect with, that
I should find out more about? So connecting– I’m going
to do a little activity. You can just raise your hands. Again, I like to have
experiential things because we just decided
that that’s good to learn. If you’ve done this,
just raise your hand. We can look around, learn
something about you. You haven’t done this yet. Wait. Here we go. Have you done that? So have you ever
ridden an elephant? Whereabouts? AUDIENCE: In Nepal. WHIT MITCHELL: So see? So I’d want to know
more about that. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]. WHIT MITCHELL: In India? Have you ever eaten two pints
of Ben & Jerry’s in one sitting? We live about an hour south
of Ben & Jerry’s, so a lot of people in here that
would raise their hands. Visited all seven continents? Anybody done that? Six? Yeah? Again, so you’re a traveler. Yeah. So again, connecting– how
can we connect with each other and learn something
new about each other? So afterwards, I’d want
to find out where he went. What was Asia like? What was Africa like? What was South America like? Can speak four or
more languages? Yeah. What are the four? AUDIENCE: I speak Russian,
Japanese [INAUDIBLE]. WHIT MITCHELL: Good for you. Yeah. So I’d want to know
more– connecting. We work with people every day. We don’t know these things. How about this? No? I’ve come close–
hasn’t quite gone in. How about driven a car
over 100 miles an hour? Yeah, Wolf. Yeah. And what kind of car was that? AUDIENCE: Every car
I’ve ever owned. WHIT MITCHELL: Yeah, there. Written a book? How many want to write a book? So Wolf raised his hand. There’s just six, seven people. He raised his– he’s done it. I’ve done it. Talk to me. What’s that like? Man, it was great. My English teacher
would not have said, Whit, go write a book. He just wouldn’t have said that. But when I gave my
idea about these guys that I’d coached in 1983 and
how we can transfer sports analogies to business
success– these guys are successful– my publisher
said, Whit, just write from your heart. Write from what you
know about crew. Write from your passion. So talk to Wolf. Attended an Olympic Games? Anybody ever been to one? Which one? AUDIENCE: LA– ’84. WHIT MITCHELL: Yep. Which one’d you go to, Wolf? AUDIENCE: Atlanta. WHIT MITCHELL: Yeah. And you went? AUDIENCE: I went to LA, also. Yeah. My sister-in-law made the 1976
Olympic Games in Montreal. We live an hour
and a half south. I sat next to her parents as she
marched into opening ceremony. I still get chills
talking about it. She marched in opening ceremony,
and here’s her father in tears. It was unbelievable. I have not competed,
but I have been to one. Knowing– what do we
know about ourselves, and what don’t we know? What are some of the blind
spots in both directions? What are we doing
really well at work here that we don’t know that
we’re doing it really well? I talk to the people around
you, and they said, you know, she runs meetings really well. She’s organized the agenda. She’s on time. We end on time. It’s great. Then you think, I don’t
run meetings very well. Or the other thing– what do you
not know about you that others know– a blind spot– that
could help you get better? If you got 5% better– if the
Canadians had been 5% better, they would have
beaten the Americans. This is a guy by the
name of Sam Kinney. Sam rode with Wolf
freshman year. Sam and about four
or five other guys said, hey Coach, let’s go
hunting in South Dakota. Well, I’m not a hunter. I don’t own guns, and I’m
not big at killing things. But somehow, they
got a gun in my hand, and we killed these pigeons–
not pigeons, pheasants– and we had a ball. But we got back together
after 30 years and connected. Sam came from Ohio. And one of the things I
appreciated about Sam when I was coaching him was that Sam
brought a work ethic with him to Dartmouth College. He’d never rowed before. But he grew up on a farm. And in March, the
sap would run, and he talked about 16 to 18 hours
of carrying sap buckets down to get boiled. And I knew the kid
loved to work hard. But the other thing
about Sam is that I called him sort of the
keeper of the culture. He always kept people up. He always had a story. He was always kidding
people, sometimes maybe a little too much. Sam graduated from Tuck School
number one in this class, and he went on to
start a company called Free Markets in Pittsburgh–
reverse auctioning. Sam rang the bell, and
retired at the age of 37. Sam has a quote in
the book on page 122 that says “the leading cause
of death in an executive career is lack of self-awareness.” Sam was known at his company
for building dynamic teams by knowing more about himself. Self-awareness– he learned that
because the company he worked at before he started this
company– one of the engineers put a 360 degree
review on his door so that every time he
walked in, he would say, that’s what I’m working on. That’s what people say
I need to get better at. Sam used to walk
around his company and ask how he was
doing, like Ed Koch did, and find out what he was
doing well as the leader and what he needed
to do differently and started instituting
some of that. And his company went public,
and he did quite well. He’s now an entrepreneur and
investing in other things. The reason I’m
standing here is that I was in Hanover, New Hampshire,
in 2011, going downtown to where Dartmouth College is to
go out to dinner with my wife. And across the room, I heard
this guy go, “Hey, Coach.” Well, I’d been coaching
athletes and executives for years, so I thought I
had the right to turn around, see who it might be. And sure enough, it was Sam. And we all got together that
night– 11 out of the 18 guys that rowed for me back in
1983– and they told me story after story after story
about what they were doing– successful, like my
good friend Wolf. And they made analogies. They were nice enough to
me to say, “You know what? I learned a little
bit about business through my time in that boat. It was rowing 20
miles when it was sleeting and raining and
cold and my hands wet.” I had one of the guys say
he made it through residency because he remembered
how hard it was in crew. The residency couldn’t
have been that hard. So knowing more about yourself. For the last 25
or so years, I’ve been working with
top-level executives, and I asked them to–
it’s very simple. I say pick one
behavior that you think if you got better
at it might make a difference in the bottom
line of your organization– a behavior making a
difference in the bottom line. So this guy picked listening. He said, “I got to be
a better listener.” And I told him because
of the statistics I know, “Listen with your eyes,
because you’re not doing really well
with your ears. So at least watch
the body language.” And he had me call
a number of people and ask how he was at listening. And I called his– he
said, “Call my wife.” I said, “I’m not going
to call your wife.” He said, “No, I want
you to call my wife.” So I called her. She said he comes home–
“Kevin comes home every night for dinner, and he asks
me how was your day.” His wife would
start in on her day, and he’d interrupt
about halfway through, and he’d take 45 minutes
and tell her about his day. She said he’s a
horrendous listener. I asked his people
who worked with him. They said, “When I walk into his
office, he’s on his computer. He’s on his cellphone. He’s not listening
to a thing I say.” So nine months of work with
him– and I’ll show you the system I used
about listening– he’s now given six keynote
addresses across the country in listening. We groomed him for
the CEO job– he just got that in December– to run
his small insurance company was just bought by Nationwide. And he’s about to write a book
for executives on listening. So if we could take a
behavior and turn it into ROI, we can do that. So let me just practice in here. Who’s got a behavior that if
you got a little better at, it might make a
difference in your world and the world of the
people that work with you? So who’d like to volunteer? It’s a quick little
minute exercise, but it’ll give you an example. One behavioral change that
if I asked the people that work with you,
they might say she or he could do this
a little better. Anybody want to quickly
volunteer for this? Great. Thank you. Pick a behavior. AUDIENCE: Is writing? WHIT MITCHELL: So a
behavior is not writing. What’s a behavior? Yes? AUDIENCE: Speak up more. So I want to speak up more. So I’m going to ask you
a series of questions. It’ll take about a minute. They’re going to be
the same question over, so be patient with me. But I want to show you how
it impacts the bottom line. So if you spoke up more in
meetings and with people one-on-one– and you
just did it here. In a word or two, what’s the
benefit to the organization? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] WHIT MITCHELL: So knowledge
starts to increase. What’s the benefit if they
get more knowledge from you in you speaking up? What’s the benefit to Google? AUDIENCE: Better ideas? WHIT MITCHELL: So if we
had better ideas at Google, what’s the benefit? AUDIENCE: A lot
better for customers. WHIT MITCHELL:
Better for customers. And if we have
better for customers, what’s the benefit to Google? AUDIENCE: Revenue– bottom line. WHIT MITCHELL:
Better bottom line. And if we have– this is the
one where people get stumbled. They get to that, and
they think that’s it. If there’s a better
bottom line at Google, what is the benefit to them? AUDIENCE: Revenue
solves all problems. WHIT MITCHELL: And what’s
the benefit of that? So if revenue solves all
problems, what’s the benefit? Keep with me. We’re almost done. AUDIENCE: The
employees are happy. WHIT MITCHELL: OK, so
employees are happy. If that all happens and you made
that happen because you spoke up more, what’s
the benefit to you? AUDIENCE: Fulfilled my dogma. So fulfillment–
fulfillment and happiness. So think about
that for a minute. You take one behavior
with a top leader, and they do that,
that’s what happens. So I work with leaders
for nine months, and that’s the goal
I’m trying to get to. Winning– the third one. Winning’s about that gold
medal around the neck. So winning has to do with
thinking about, developing for yourself, three
to five key results. Three five key
results– we could measure these results
that would reflect superior performance
in your job. Three to five key results
that would reflect superior performance
in your job. And write those down,
and have those somewhere. And here’s a practical
tip that’s easy to do, and watch what happens. Every morning when
you come to work, before you start answering
emails and phone calls and everything else, write down
three high-value activities that would help you get one,
two, or three of those results. Now what’s a
high-value activity? It might mean I’ve got
to give my boss a call, and sit down for 15
minutes, and talk about X. That would be a
high-value activity. I’m going to be thinking
about something. I don’t know is– that’s
high value unless you put it into action. Could going for a run at noon
be a high-value activity? Boy, for me, it is. I always put that down because
that’s where my ideas come up. That’s where I’ve
got things going. I wish I had a tape recorder. I get back to the
office after a run, and I’m just writing stuff down. So try that for three
months– not for a week, not for 21 days. Every morning, write down
three high-value activities that lead to one of those
three to five key results. My coaching’s called
Inner Circle Coaching. I had the great fortune of
working with Marshall Goldsmith at the Tuck School
for nine years. Marshall’s one of the
premier coaches in the world. He coaches Michael Dell. He coaches the CEO of
United Airlines– Boeing. So he’s big time. He wrote a book called “What Got
You Here Won’t Get You There.” Wonderful book– 20 things
leaders should stop doing. But here’s the model
that he shared with me, and I’ve just sort
of played with it. So if I’m working with one of
the leaders here, one of you at Google, you
are in the middle. And we’re going to
work for nine months on a behavior like listening,
like I did with Kevin. And I’m going to
say to you what I want you to do is I want you to
pick three to five influencers that influence your decision
making, that challenge you, that make you better
at what you do. And you’ll be able to give
them open and honest feedback. So pick three to
five people that are willing to do
that, because I’m going to meet with
each one of them. I go meet with each
one of them, and I say there’s four commitments to
me working with Kevin and you. The first is to
let go of the past. So if there’s still something
that’s kernel in the tooth, get rid of it in the
next week because I’m coming into work with Kevin. The second thing is to
support and encourage Kevin. Kevin’s going to make a change. Kevin’s going to
be more positive or listen better,
be more objective, whatever it might be. So be supportive. When you see him
doing it, tell him. “Hey, you’re doing it better.” The third commitment
is to give Kevin and me every 30 days open and honest
feedback on his progress on what he’s trying to achieve. Wow, so I get feedback from six
or seven people every 30 days. Do you think a change
is going to happen? It’s got to. And the fourth is, to the
blue people on the outside, I’m asking you to also make
a behavioral change that will impact you, your
world at work and at home. So pick one. So the whole system
is like an elephant through a snake, so to speak. So there’s a whole
team working a system. Kevin’s getting better every
single month because he’s getting feedback through me
and by asking how am I doing. It’s a beautiful system. So it’s nine months. Here’s some results
that I got with Kevin. So I went in and asked his team. He asked me– as
the influencers, he wanted eight
people on his team to go through this process. So we incorporated all eight. And I went in in March of 2012,
and I said on a scale of 0 to 10, how’s the trust
amongst the team members. So the average score,
5.8, not so high. The end of nine months– and
Kevin worked on– a different Kevin– but he worked on
positivity because when I interviewed each one of his
people, they said, “You know, he’s– you come in at 8:01. He starts yelling at you. You got to be here at 8:00. And he’s blunt, and he’s
competitive, and he’s driving, and he doesn’t
have any empathy,” and boom, boom, boom– it’s
one thing after another. So Kevin said, “I’m going
to be more positive. I’m going to start
complimenting people. I’m going to start looking
for what they’re doing well.” And it was a struggle for Kevin. So every month, he’d get
more feedback, and some of it was good, and some
of it was, “You know, I came in the other
day, and he was blunt, and he was brutal to me.” But it got better
and better and better because he kept
getting feedback. And then he started
asking for it. Went up to 8.5. Communication skills, 0
to 10– that’s a big word, but I ask it anyway. How’s communication? 4.41, went up to 8.5. How’s the morale? 5.1, went up to 8.4. Happiness, lowest one
here– what did you want? Fulfillment. Happiness. 4.2 was the lowest one. People did not
like going to work. They sat in their silos. They didn’t talk to one another. After a while, these teams
started talking to one another. They started connecting–
building better relationships. 8.7– so it went from the
lowest to the highest. And stress was high. People did not
like working there. They lost two women, which
is why they hired me. Two women with a
blunt man– there was more than just
behavior going on there. So they didn’t want to
lose any more people. You lose somebody,
it’s three times– the cost to an organization is
about three times the person’s annual salary. You have to find somebody,
train them, get them back up to speed. So it’s a big cost. So they brought me in and
said we got to stop the blood. So stress went from
7.8 down to 4.3, just working on a behavior–
being more positive. Peer coaching– this is
a high-value activity with a low amount of time. So the guy on the right, his
name is John [? Kerig ?]. He’s a colleague of mine. And I’m in the red
suit on the right. So John’s on the left. I’m on the right. I’d been saying for
10 years I’d like to go skiing– heli-skiing. I love to ski. And John was tired
of hearing about it. He said, so we’re going
to go do something. It wasn’t heli-skiing. It was cat skiing. But here’s what John and I did. We listened to Marshall enough
about this peer coaching. And it’s very simple. I have made up eight questions
that I’ve given to John, and every Sunday night
for nine years, John and I talk at 9 o’clock. And John asks me my
questions, and they’re yes, no, or a number. And John’s given me
his 11 questions, and I ask John the questions. There’s no judgment. It’s just ask the
questions, and I have an Excel spreadsheet
for nine years. So the first question
John asked me is have you hugged
your wife this week. Well, I can tell you I
don’t want to say no. So unconsciously, every
morning– and sometimes she’ll say, are you just doing
this to check the list off? And I said no, come on, honey. I want to– we need a hug. Have you made a difference
in someone else’s life? So I look for
opportunities to make a difference in
other people’s lives. There was a guy
in a wheelchair– I’d just gone snowshoe
running the other day– and he was sitting,
waiting for a bus. And I have my dog with
me– a yellow lab. And I was going to
cross the street, or I could go
another 50 feet up. And this guy was just
sitting in the snow, waiting for the bus
in a wheelchair. I went 50 feet up. I found out I knew
this guy from youth. He’d been in a bad car accident. He’d been in a
wheelchair for 10 years. We had a 40-minute conversation. Did I make a
difference in his life? Yeah, but I made a difference
in my life as well. Health– so one of
John questions to me is did you pick up your cell
phone in the car while driving. I want the answer to be no– or
actually, it’s how many times. So I want that to be
zero because I understand that that’s more dangerous
than driving drunk. So I don’t want to
pick up the phone. So I don’t want to
say to John “nine.” My values– I have a
certain list of values, and John asks me my values–
high, medium, or low, and I tell them every week. And did you have fun
with your wife this week? And I want to say yes. Think about picking a peer coach
and taking 10 minutes a week and asking each other questions
and keeping a spreadsheet. Do it for three
months, and then decide whether you want to
stop doing it or not. It’s changed my life. I drink less. I drive safer. I have a relationship with my
wife that’s a little closer. So it’s a pretty
simple activity. Call to action–
so the three things I talked about– connecting,
knowing, and winning. Think about leaving here
and connecting with somebody that you see every day. Maybe you work with them. But you just haven’t
found out about them. Maybe they shot a hole-in-one
or rode an elephant in India. Make it a point once a week
to go connect with somebody. Knowing– maybe get
on SurveyMonkey– monkey survey, whatever
it’s called, or just ask some people you work with. Hey, what’s one thing
that I do that really helps you do your job well? And what’s one thing
I could do better? Maybe do some of that. Find out a little bit
more about yourself through the eyes of others,
and you’ll find out quickly if it’s safe because they’ll
say “you do just fine.” That means “I can’t
tell you because I don’t think it’s
safe to tell you.” But if you encourage
them and say, “Look, let me make
it safe for you. I’m just going to write it
down” and say thank you. Don’t argue with them. Don’t get defensive. Just say thank you. That’s their perception. And winning? Maybe leave here
today and come up with three to five
key results that would reflect superior
performance from now until the end of December
in your work at Google. So there’s some call to action. Let me end with a quick story. Many years ago, I worked
with United Airlines. This was before 9/11. And we went to
Chicago, out where the corporate offices were. And this particular day was
in the middle of the summer, and we were trying to get
from Chicago back to Boston. There were two of us. We show up at the airport,
and its thunderstorm season in Boston and Chicago. They had flights leaving at
2 o’clock, 3 o’clock, and 4 o’clock. We were on the 3 o’clock. We get there, and the two
o’clock flight’s still there. They hadn’t boarded yet. Immediately, you know what
that’s like at the airport. So you’re thinking,
oh, my goodness. So the whole room was
filled with people. And we started to
work our way up, because they got
on the microphone and they said we’re going to
send one of the three flights– we know when we can get it
out of here– because the 4 o’clock people started showing
up– and we’ll get into Boston, and we’ll have to
rebook everyone else. So we’d been
working with United. We thought maybe we had an in. Again, let’s remember
connecting, knowing, and winning. So as we’re standing
in line, we’re getting close to the
front where the woman that makes the reservations
and rebooks– and there’s a guy in
the line next to me who you can tell– he’s itchy. He’s irritated. He’s sort of looking
at his watch, and he’s sort of
mumbling to himself, and you could just tell he
was upset about something. We got to the front,
and my buddy Robin started talking to the
woman– connecting– said “Do you know
such-and-such a person?” “Oh, yeah, I used
to work with him.” He’s the CFO in Chicago. She said, “I was the person that
ordered that red convertible for–” “Oh,” Robin said, “Yeah,
I rode in that this weekend.” Connection– knowing. It was sincere. So she starts going like this. Next to me, I hear this guy
start blasting the woman about, “I’m going to get
on that flight. I’m getting to Boston.” He said, “Don’t
you know who I am?” And she said “Sir, sir,
just a second, please.” and she went over, and she
tapped on the microphone, and she said, “Excuse me. Could I have
everybody’s attention?” There were 300 people
in the lobby waiting to get on a flight, irritated. And she said to the man, “Can
you raise your hand, please?” So he raises his hand, sort of
not knowing what’s going on. “There is a follow up here
who does not know who he is.” Embarrassed him–
connecting, knowing, winning. As we left, I
turned to the woman. I said, “How do you
deal with those people?” And she said, “Oh,
he’s going to Boston. His bags are going to Boise.” We got on the flight. The woman that we connected
with– two tickets came out, and off we went. So thank you for
your time here today. I have the book that
is for sale outside. Google price of $10 a book. So if you want a book, I’m done. Any questions you have for
me, I’m happy to answer. If not, you can go back to work. Questions? Thank you.

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