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  • Writer's pictureCharles Cherney

119: Coach Walsh's Wisdom on Being a Leader

I just read Bill Walsh’s book The Score Takes Care of Itself (2009), and I highly recommend it.

Bill Walsh went 102–63–1 (wins-losses-ties) as Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers, winning 10 of his 14 postseason games along with six division titles, three NFC Championship titles, and three Super Bowls. He turned a losing team into a winning team.


Be a Leader: Twelve Habits Plus One

1. Be Yourself. “You must be the best version of yourself that you can be; stay within the framework of your own personality and be authentic.”

2. Be Committed to Excellence. “At all times, in all ways, your focus must be on doing things at the highest possible level.”

3. Be Positive. “I spent far more time teaching what to do than what not to; far more time teaching and encouraging individuals than criticizing them; more time building up than tearing down.”

4. Be Prepared. “No leader can control the outcome of the contest or competition, but you can control how you prepare for it.”

5. Be Detail-orientated. “High performance is achieved small step by small step through painstaking dedication to pertinent details.”

6. Be Organized. “You must think clearly with a disciplined mind, especially in regard to the most efficient and productive use of time and resources."

7. Be Accountable. “Excuse making is contagious. Answerability starts with you.”

8. Be Near-sighted and Far-sighted. “Keep everything in perspective while simultaneously concentrating on the task at hand.”

9. Be Fair. “Be clear in your own mind as to what you stand for. And then stand for it.”

10. Be Firm. “I would not budge one inch on my core values, standards, and principles.”

11. Be Flexible. “Consistency is crucial, but you must be quick to adjust to new challenges that defy old solutions.”

12. Believe in Yourself. “Of course, belief derives from expertise.”

+1. Be a Leader. “You must know where you’re going and how you intend to get there, keeping In mind that it may be necessary to modify your tactics as circumstances dictate."


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