The making of a Microsoft COO
The platform you stand on
determines the height of your reach.
Bob Herbold was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to a working class family. In 1942 no one imaged baby Bob would become the COO of the largest software company in the world, Microsoft. Dad was a pipefitter that persistently encouraged his children to, “Get an education.”
An intelligence test raised Bob’s platform.
Everyone thought Bob’s sister was the smart one until he took an intelligence test for admittance to Catholic school. When the guidance counselor told mom that Bob did very well, they wondered if he was talking about the wrong kid. Years later he walked away from Case Western Reserve University with a PhD in Computer Science.
A Deli job raised Bob’s platform.
Bob spoke fondly of his High School job at a Deli/Catering business. A year after beginning he ran the register and handled all the customers, big responsibility for a H.S. student.
P&G raised Bob’s platform.
Bob spent 26 years at Proctor & Gamble. He began like any good math geek – crunching numbers. One day they told him they’d like him to spend a year in Marketing. His first thought. Am I being punished?
I chuckled, it felt good hearing Bob talk this way.
The Proctor folks told Bob to pay more attention to his career and aim very high. He wondered who they were talking to. However, in 1990, before becoming the COO of Microsoft, Bob became the Sr. V.P. of Advertising and Information Services for P&G (’90-’94).
Platforms reflect what you believe about yourself.
Raise a person’s belief you raise their
platform and you raise their reach.
- Focus on strengths rather than weaknesses, “You’re intelligent.”
- Reward competence with responsibility, “I trust you.”
- Believe in others more than they believe in themselves, “You can go places.”
Has someone raised your platform? How?
How do you raise the platform of others?