Hall of Fame Coach’s Standards of Performance

These are some notes from NFL Hall of Fame Coach Bill Walsh’s book on leadership entitled “The Score takes care of itself.” I think they are very worthy of consideration as you assemble and teach the standards that you expect for your team.

When Walsh arrived with the 49ers, he didn’t have a timetable for a championship. He had an urgent timetable and agenda for installing specific behavioral norms for everyone’s attitudes and actions. He implemented what he called his standard of performance—a way of doing things and a leadership philosophy having to do with core values, principles and ideals. It has more to do with the mental than with the physical.

His belief is that organizational ethics are crucial to the ultimate and ongoing success of a team. “Good talent with bad attitude equals bad talent.”

The dictates of the leader’s personal beliefs should become the characteristics of the team. His or her philosophy is the single most important point on a leadership compass. It is a blueprint for what should be done, when it should be done, and why it should be done. These are the basic characteristic of attitude and action that Bill wanted to instill:

Bill Walsh’s Standard of Performance:

    1. Exhibit a ferocious and intelligently applied work ethic directed toward continual improvement.
    2. Demonstrate respect for each person in the organization and the work he or she does.
    3. Be deeply committed to learning and teaching which means increasing our own expertise.
    4. Be fair.
    5. Demonstrate character.
    6. Honor the direct connection between details and improvement.
    7. Relentlessly seek improvement.
    8. Show self control especially when it counts most—under pressure.
    9. Demonstrate and prize loyalty.
    10. Use positive language and have a positive attitude.
    11. Take pride in my effort as an entity separate from the results of that effort.
    12. Be willing to go the extra distance for the organization.
    13. Deal appropriately with victory and defeat, adulation and humiliation.
    14. Promote internal communication that is both open and substantive (especially under stress).
    15. Seek poise in myself and those I lead.
    16. Put the team’s welfare and priorities ahead of my own.
    17. Maintain an ongoing level of concentration and focus that is abnormally high.
    18. Make sacrifice and commitment the organization’s trademark.
    19. The leader must exhibit the principles, code of conduct, and behavior that he is asking others to emulate.

    You can read through a part of the book by clicking on the image of the cover


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