Scotch

I choked up reading Scotch’s farewell messages today. I don’t know what to write. But I want to write so much. Sigh! I wonder if I should just send an email instead.

Scotch was one of the first leaders at Google who showed me the mirror. In a good way. My favorite Scotchisms are the analogies he used to explain things.

One was that of a glue. A glue so strong that holds teams together despite their siloed agendas. He told me that I was a glue for him. I could be applied to a lot of relationships and teams – be it across product areas or within his staff. I love that analogy. And I live by that mantra. When he asked me how I do it, I did not have an answer. I recall saying something like – it’s not intentional. It’s just how I look at things. And he asked that I never change that way of looking at things.

He then went on to tell me about the Tesla windshield glue that can withstand the impact of 35 airplanes put together. A glue holds it together and saves the drivers in a crash. Imagine the strength of that glue. That’s the strength he wanted me to have.

A few weeks later he asked me if I had figured out how I do it and surprisingly I did give it a thought and responded that I play from the middle and take no sides. I play for the big G and no one else. And he nodded in agreement and grinned ear to ear. I won’t forget that grin.

And the other one was the third legged stool of management, leadership and governance. And also the three legged stool of trust that is built on playing with competence, concern for others and keeping commitments. He liked 3 legged stool analogies.

Scotch taught me how to write my perf as a people manager at Google. Now that is a bit of an art. He taught me to think like an entrepreneur and act like one. Maximize my resources and drive for more.

He told me that secure people build safe environments for their teams. And he thought that my team felt safe.

He also told me that to those whom much is given, much is expected. His generosity knew no bounds. And he gave silently.

When I told him that I am considering another role, he did not try to stop me. He asked me who would I work for. And he did his background checks and came back and said, wise choice. He did not ask me to stay. He simply said, go play on the other side. Regardless of which side you play for, we will win as a team.

I will miss his warm smile and twinkling eyes. His loud thud on the table and his swearing (that I did not appreciate and called him out on). I will miss his loud voice and boisterous laughter. I will miss his swinging by our desks on a late Friday evening picking up casual banter and connecting with the team.

People did not exhaust him. He derived his energy from them. Scotch was a sunshine yellow and so am I. V though that yellows attract other yellows. She always smirked at the instant alignment we’d reach in any debate. It’s true that Scotch and I were never on the opposite sides of an argument. Either he indulged me or V was right, yellows attract yellows 🙂

Regardless – Scotch was an anchor for me at Google. And his departure has been difficult to process. But I am sure he will find more meaningful pursuits. And I wish him all the best.

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