Google, Larry, Matt discussed on Wisdom From The Top


Did you see at Google that was different? It was like the resurrection of a dream when I got there. The kind of culture that I had wanted and failed to create a juice. Felt to me anyway, alive and well at Google. And I don't want to take things away from other people who did not have great early experience at Google. But those first couple of years at Google for me were a magical time since 2004, I think 2004, I was there in 2004 to 2010. And what did you see there? I mean, just in terms of how they, how they functioned in the workplace. What worked? There were a number of things. I would say in just work, I say, we all want the same things at work. We know that humanity's superpower is our ability to collaborate. And we also, I think, most of us know that there's no horror that we can't sink to when we try to coerce one another. And yet, so many companies optimize for this sort of coercive management techniques. And Google really didn't do that. So for example, if you didn't like your boss, you could switch teams without even talking to your boss. That doesn't sound very radical candor. But when power is involved, you've got to sort of tilt the balance of power. You've got to create checks and balances. A single manager could not hire whoever they wanted. This was a big drink of water for me, 'cause I was used to being my own little dictator. And I was told, you know, we don't trust you. We trust teams more than we trust individuals. No. Manager, no matter what kind of reputation you have for hiring great people, can make unilateral hiring decisions. You couldn't fire people Willy nilly. There had to go through a process. You couldn't decide who got paid what bonuses. And that effort to strip unilateral decision making power away from managers really meant that there was there was less bullying and we've read a lot. I'm not saying there was no harassment. There was certainly harassment at Google. But last there, then I had seen elsewhere. I mean, the other thing that I noticed was that I was paid. I compared the CTO and my cofounder at juice, also went to Google around the same time that I did. And we compared our offer letters. And I was just assuming that I would get paid a lot less than he was a man. He was an engineer, and I wasn't. And I had no idea. I knew that I had been mad about being underpaid in previous jobs. But I had no idea the sort of tax that it took on me. I was really much more able to give my whole self to that job and to work harder. Because this sort of invisible tax of resentment was just gone. And then the other thing that I noticed at Google was that there was really a very strong culture of respect there. I'll never forget being Matt cuts. It was an early engineer there. I know that. Yeah, great guy. Somebody I had gotten to know and like, and he and I went to we were concerned about an AdSense policy. And we went to Larry together. One of the founders together. And we were having an argument. Matt and I had one position, Larry had another. And Matt, at one point, was sort of yelling at Larry. I was worried he was going to get fired, and then I looked at Larry's face. And he had this big grim. And he loved the fact that Matt was pushing back. And he was really encouraging him. And that made a big impression on me. I was I felt from one of the first times in my career free at work. Even more free at work than I did in my own company. So from what I understand, you thought this was so interesting that you wanted to apply it to your own team. You basically wanted your own team. You encouraged the hundred people working under you to criticize you to tell you when you were wrong. Is that right? To really just be candid with you. Yeah, yeah. And this I learned actually from Sheryl Sandberg, who is my boss. I had to give, I had to give a presentation to the founders and the CEO about how the AdSense business was doing. And I walked into the meeting and there is Sergey Brin, one of the other founders on an elliptical trainer wearing toe shoes and a bright blue spandex unitard. Not really one of those expecting to see. And there in the other corner of the room was Eric Schmidt, doing his emails like his brain had been plugged into the machine. So probably like you in such a situation, I felt a little bit nervous. How in the world was I supposed to get these people's attention? And luckily for me, the AdSense business was on fire and when I said how many new AdSense customers we had added over the last couple of months, Eric almost fell off his chair. He's like, this is incredible. Do you need more marketing dollars? Do you need more engineering, resources? So I'm feeling like the meeting's going all right. In fact, I now believe that I am a genius. And as I left the room, I walk past Gerald and I'm expecting a high 5, a pat on the back. And instead, Sheryl says to me, why don't you walk back to my office with me? And I thought, oh, wow. I screwed something up in there, and I'm about to hear about it. And Cheryl began the conversation, not by telling me what I had done wrong. But what had gone well, not in the feedback sandwich, I think there's a less polite term for that. Not in the feedback. Sandwich sense of the word. But eventually, Cheryl said, you said I'm a lot in there, were you aware of it? And with this, I raised a huge sigh of relief, and I made this kind of brush off gesture with my hand. I'm like, yeah, I know, it's a verbal tick. It's no big deal, really. And then Cheryl said, I know this great speech coach. I bet Google would pay for it. Would you like an introduction? And once again, I made this brush off gesture with my hand. I said, no, I'm busy. I don't have time for a speech coach. And then Cheryl stop, she looked me right in the eye, and she said, I can see when you do that thing with your hand that I'm going to have to be a lot more direct with you. When you say every third word, it makes you sound stupid. Now she's got my full attention. And some people might say it was mean of Sheryl to say I sounded stupid, but it was really the kindest thing she could have done for me at that moment in my career. Because if she hadn't used just those words with me. And crucially, she would not have used those words with other people on her team who were perhaps better listeners than I was. But she hadn't used just those words with me. I never would have gone to see the speech coach. And I wouldn't have learned that she was not exaggerating. I literally said every third word. And this was news to me because I had raised millions of dollars for two different startups, giving presentations. I thought I was pretty good at it. And it really got me to thinking, what was it about Cheryl that made it so seemingly easy for her to tell me? But also, why had no one else told me? It was almost like I had been marching through my whole career with a giant hunger spinach between my teeth. And nobody had had the courtesy to tell me that it was there. And as I thought about it,.

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