The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership by Bill Walsh
Yesterday I announced the audiobook release of Not Your Parents’ Workplace. Today I’ll get back to our regularly scheduled programming. Here are a few career-focused books and articles to check out as we roll into the last month of 2016.
The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
The Talent Code teaches how to grow talent and maximize potential in yourself and others. The book is broken down into three sections, each one an important step in developing talent:
1) Deep practice. Engaging in deep practice isn’t just going through the motions but instead requires operating on the edge of your ability. Slowing down and breaking the task into components is critical.
2) Ignition. To achieve deep practice over an extended period of time, you have to have deep passion. Without passion you won’t have the motivation to stay with it.
3) Master coaching. Characteristics of master coaches include listening more than talking, giving immediate and highly specific feedback, and tailoring the feedback to the student’s way of learning.
I loved learning about the Brazilian soccer players who elevated their talents by playing Futsal, an indoor five-on-five version of soccer played with a smaller, heavier ball on a tiny field. Futsal allowed these players to get five times the number of reps they’d normally get in a typical game. This enabled them to develop skills at an accelerated pace. What talents do you want to develop? How can you dramatically increase reps and expedite your learning process?
NFL coach Bill Walsh took over the last place San Francisco 49ers football team and eventually coached them to three Super Bowl championships. While his book shares mostly football anecdotes, he makes direct application of these lessons to the business world. He encourages readers to concentrate on what will produce results rather than on the results; the process rather than the prize. Why? If you are consistently doing the right things, the score will take care of itself.
Walsh also gives advice on how to overcome failure, how to build a great organizational culture, and what it takes to be a great leader. Here are two favorite anecdotes:
- He tells the story of being at a dinner party with friends. At the table he was rubbing his wife's back when he unconsciously started diagramming a football play. Eventually his wife turned around and said, "Did it score a touchdown, honey?" This man loved his craft so much (maybe even too much?) that he was never stopped thinking of how to improve.
- Walsh reached a point in his career where the expectations he put on himself were so high that he no longer felt the joy of winning, just the pain of losing. This ultimately led to an early retirement. This is common of ambitious people. We get so focused on pursuing our goals that we don't take any sort of satisfaction in achieving those goals. As Walsh laments: "Had I been able to avoid the dead end calculation of zero points for winning I would have continued to coach the 49ers and I believe won additional super bowl championships. That is something that has never stopped eating at me."
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Earlier this month I spoke at Qualtrics Talentweek on how building strong hiring and onboarding practices create engaged employees. You can check out a recording of my presentation here under the Employee Lifecycle category.
Thanks for reading! My goal is to write and share great career-related content. If you've read anything worth sharing, please let me know. And do let me know if there's anything I can do to help you.
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