Business Management Principles We Learn From Google

Business Management Principles We Learn From Google

The business management principles that undergird Google’s success aren’t magical – but they are very real and compelling. They include an unrelenting focus on:

  • Noble passions
  • Building core talents and skills
  • Providing the greatest value possible to end users
  • Finding economic opportunities that align with passions
  • Seeking to find and achieve perfection
  • Believing deeply in the principles of freedom
  • Seeking to create a fun, innovative, passionate and deeply respectful culture

Google's Beginning in a Nutshell

Larry Page and Servey Brin were brilliant not only in search innovation, but in how they found their sweet spot, understood their competition, and in time developed a compelling business model. This article doesn’t address the strategic reasons for Google’s success, which are compelling and merits attention, but rather it focuses on the foundational business management principles key to Google’s success.

Larry Page and Servey Brin, the ultimate co-founders of Google, were Ph.D. students at Stanford University. Larry saw how unproductive was at the time – just following one link from one webpage to another. He wondered, “wouldn’t it be helpful to know who was linking to whom on the web?” From there, he decided to attempt to count and qualify backlinks on the web.

Larry intrigued Brin – a brilliant mathematician. The two developed a good friendship and joined forces. In 1998, they literally started working in a garage with only eight employees. The evolution and history of the Google Inc. is fascinating – see link below. Business Management Principles We Learn From Google

Our history in depth – Company – Google

Get the details, year by year, on Google’s growth as a company over more than a decade. 1995-1997 1995 Larry Page and Sergey Brin meet at Stanford. (Larry, 22, a U Michigan grad, is considering the school; Sergey, 21, is assigned to show him around.)

A Jim Collins' Angle - Google 

To understand what ultimately led to Google’s success, it helps to understand what Jim Collins shared in his book “Good to Great.” Jim led a team in a five-year study in which he and his team “scoured a list of 1,435 established companies to find every extraordinary case that made a leap from average results to great results.”

Jim’s team came to simple but powerful conclusions. One important point is the ‘hedgehog’ concept. A key to greatness is finding the intersection ir sweet spot, where talent, passion, and economic opportunity come together. Jim’s diagram below helps to illustrate this.

Business Management Principles We Learn From Google

When we look at Google from this framework, here’s what we learn:

Passion: What are you deeply passion about?

  • Most businesses are focused on making money first. Is money a strong enough motivator to create tremendous value to customers? Google’s passion was and is to make all information in the world instantly available to everyone.

Talent: What you can be the best in the world?

  • “We do search. With one of the world’s largest research groups focused exclusively on solving search problems, we know what we do well, and how we could do it better.” (Google’s philosophy statement)

Economics: What drives your economic engine?

  • Google found its economic engine in search coupled with advertising. The results? It’s revenue for 2009 was $23,650,563,000.00 dollars.  Business Management Principles We Learn From Google

Highlights from Google's Philosophy Statement

Google’s philosophy statement provide us important insights:

Focusing on the end user

  • “Since the beginning, we’ve focused on providing the best user experience possible. Whether we’re designing a new Internet browser or a new tweak to the look of the homepage, we take great care to ensure that they will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line.”

Seeking to develop the perfect search engine

  • “We do search. With one of the world’s largest research groups focused exclusively on solving search problems, we know what we do well, and how we could do it better.”

Democracy on web

  • “Google search works because it relies on the millions of individuals posting links on websites to help determine which other sites offer content of value. We assess the importance of every web page…”

Fun culture

  • “Our founders built Google around the idea that work should be challenging, and the challenge should be fun. We believe that great, creative things are more likely to happen with the right company culture… There is an emphasis on team achievements and pride in individual accomplishments that contribute to our overall success.”

Eight Habits of Highly Effective Managers

In March of 2011, Adam Bryant wrote an article titled “Google’s Quest to Build a Better Boss” for The New York Times. In it, he highlighted Google’s goal of “creating a better boss.” There were eight habits identified that Google’s managers should focus on:

  • Being a good coach
  • Empowering your team and don’t micro-manage
  • Expressing interest in employees’ success and well-being
  • Being productive and results-oriented
  • Being a good communicator and listening to your team
  • Helping your employees with career development
  • Having a clear vision and strategy for the team
  • Having key technical skills, so you can help advise the team

Business Management Principles We Learn From Google

Business Management Principles We Learn From Google