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The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership Paperback – June 29, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This posthumous leadership guide by the acclaimed head coach of the San Francisco 49ers is a fascinating compendium of Walsh's philosophy, as compiled by his son and Jamison (coauthor of Wooden) from interviews and private notes. Interspersed with the coach–turned–leadership guru's insights into management are pieces by football greats Joe Montana and Randy Cross and former colleagues John McVay, Mike White and Bill McPherson. Walsh reveals a simple and strict philosophy that prizes people above all and focuses on core values, principles and ideals. His philosophy centers on three beliefs: organizational ethics are critical; everyone, regardless of their position, must perform at the highest possible level; and teaching should be a top priority for any leader. He shares his unique Standard of Performance and offers valuable advice on communication and priorities. Enlightening, informative and engaging, this powerful book is a must-read for executives and managers at every level. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Bill Walsh was one of the NFL's all-time best; a creative genius, a master at management, and a brilliant student of human nature. The Score Takes Care of Itself is his own personal and powerful road map to success as a leader whether in professional football or anywhere else. Terrific reading; tremendous insights."
-Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL
"The Score Takes Care of Itself is a leadership classic-a magnificent step-by-step tutorial on how to achieve success. It is practical, profound, and perfect for today's ultracompetitive business environment. Indispensable reading."
-Pat Williams, senior vice president of the Orlando Magic and author of What Are You Living For?
"The Score Takes Care of Itself is not about football. It's about how to treat people right. How to get the best out of the people around you. How to be a highly effective leader. I am thankful that this book about Bill Walsh's leadership point of view is now available to inspire countless leaders to come."
-Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager(r) and Leading at a Higher Level
"Bill's personal examples of how he implemented and executed each of these steps in the transformation of the San Francisco 49ers creates a fascinating story of business, football, and triumph. More than anything, Bill's story reminds business leaders that success is not accidental but rather the result of deliberate and tenacious preparation."
-John F. Milligan, Ph.D., president and COO of Gilead Sciences, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Like all of Walsh's work, it's more a series of short essays, collected and sorted into manageable categories. They are based on the speeches he gave after retiring from coaching. Now, as a management system I don't think he says anything that Steven Covey and others haven't said. But if you have ever wondered if the guy was really as good as his fans claim, or why the Niners were the 2015 laughing stock of the NFL, all you need to do is read this book to understand:
1) Yes, he really was as brilliant as his fans claim
2) Yes, his burnout was inevitable; he cared too passionately, too intensely about perfection
3) No, nobody in the current Niner organization even comes within ten Levi Stadiums' distance of Walsh' football expertise and management skills.
Reading this, you understand that coaches like Mike Holmgren and Bill Belicheck are the real Walsh fans. And how success breeds success, but also the never-ceasing, crushing pressure that accompanies it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all football fans.
Bill Walsh on the Standard of Performance:
* Culture precedes positive results. It doesn't get tacked on as an afterthought on the way to the victory stand. Champions behave like champions before they are champions.
* The exceptional assembly line comes before the quality car - strive to make your assembly line better and better.
* All we can do is increase the probability of success. Do it by intelligently and relentlessly seeking solutions that will increase your chances of prevailing in a competitive environment. When you do that, the score will take care of itself.
* Teach players to hate mistakes in games and practice - if you aim for perfection and miss, you're still pretty good...if you aim for mediocrity...
* "Organizational excellence evolves from the perfection of details relevant to performance and production."
* "I know what is required for us to win. I will show you what it is."
* "There are winners and there are people who would like to be winners but just don't know how to do it."
Especially in recent years, there have been many articles and books written about how to develop peak performers. (Some of the best observations and insights are provided by Erika Andersen in her book, Growing Great Employees.) The most highly-admired CEOs tend be those who were especially effective developing high-impact leaders among those in middle management. At GE, Jack Welch devoted at least 20% of his time to mentoring high-potential middle managers and his successor, Jeff Immelt, continues to do so. Given that, now consider the fact that a total of 24 head coaches in the NFL were once an assistant coach on his staff at one time, and many of them led teams to victory in the Super Bowl (e.g. Brian Billick, Jon Gruden, Mike Holmgren, George Seifert, Mike Shanahan). Some of Walsh's greatest skills were those of a teacher. Many who recalled their association with him after his death (from leukemia in 2007) made it a point to praise his intellect, energy, scope and depth of knowledge, enthusiasm, insatiable curiosity, and especially his passion to help others to understand what great success required and how to achieve it.
In the introductory essay, "A Leader's Book for Leaders," Craig Walsh identifies five "key" players in his father's life: Joe Montana (the first quarterback he drafted who led the 49ers to all of their Super Bowl victories), John McVay (vice president and director of the 49ers' operations while Walsh was head coach), Mike White (a long-time personal friend and a fellow assistant coach at U. Cal Berkeley), Bill McPherson (a defensive assistant coach while Walsh coached the 49ers), and Randy Cross ("a great offensive lineman [and a] member of the San Francisco 49ers for thirteen years including his first three, which were pre--Bill Walsh seasons"). All of them accepted an invitation to "contribute their analyses of the leadership philosophy of Bill Walsh and expand on the comprehensive lessons my father offers [in this book]...these five were asked and kindly accepted the invitation to more fully explain the `genius' of Bill Walsh." Their contributions are substantial. Nonetheless, this is still Bill Walsh's book.
In the Foreword, "His Standard of Performance," Montana praises Walsh's ability "to teach people how to think and play at a different and much higher, and, at times, perfect level." How? Three ways: sharing a tremendous knowledge of all aspects of the game, assembling a highly competent staff as well as coaches "who knew how to coach" and who complemented the intensive instruction that Walsh provided on and off the field, and finally, developing a hatred of mistakes. "He was extremely demanding without a lot of noise...great at making people great students" and "ran a pretty tight ship, but he knew when to let us. He didn't beat up players mentally of physically." On the contrary, he assembled teams whose players who had to be highly intelligent to understand the immensely complicated strategies and game plans for which Walsh was noted throughout his career. He may have been the most cerebral head coach in the league's history. That said, Craig Walsh also reveals that his father "was an outsider; he wanted to be an insider. What he found along the way professionally, starting in his days as an assistant coach, was an unwillingness by others to `let him in.' He didn't have the pedigree -and athletic résumé from a big-name school or assistant coaching credentials from a big college program." Nonetheless, what he accomplished as a coach was eventually considered sufficient for election to the NFL Hall of Fame.
I was fascinated to learn that Twelve O'clock High was one of Walsh's favorite films and that he identified with the lead character, General Frank Savage (portrayed brilliantly by Gregory Peck) who commanded the 918th Bomber group during World War II. "My father loved that movie because it told the story of what he did in football, and what happened to him as a result, in the context of something he loved - the military."
The account of Walsh's career is enlightening. There are important business lessons to be learned from his leadership and management, especially during periods of failure as well as of success. This is what his son means when referring to "his ferocious competitive instinct, and his singular brilliance as a strategist, organizer, and team builder," who "produced historic results." However, what I found riveting is the multi-dimensional portrait of a profoundly human Bill Walsh that emerges gradually as the narrative proceeds, an "outsider" obsessed with "proving them all wrong." He did that and, with what he so generously shares in this book, can continue to help others learn "how to be as great as they can be."