Bill Walsh’s Standard of Performance

Bill Walsh was the legendary coach of the San Fransisco 49ers in the 1980s. He took over a team that was previously 1-15 and in three years won a Super Bowl. The backbone of Walsh’s success was his “Standard of Performance,” his leadership principles. Bill Walsh assembled his leadership principles into 17 bullet points which could be applied to every area:

  1. Exhibit a ferocious and intelligently applied work ethic directed at continual improvement.
  2. Demonstrate respect for each in the organization.
  3. Be deeply committed to learning and teaching.
  4. Be fair.
  5. Demonstrate character.
  6. Honor the connection between details and improvement; relentlessly seek the latter.
  7. Show self-control, especially under pressure.
  8. Demonstrate and prize loyalty.
  9. Use positive language and have a positive attitude.
  10. Take pride in my effort as an entity separate from the results of that effort.
  11. Be willing to go the extra distance for the organization.
  12. Deal appropriately with victory and defeat, adulation and humiliation.
  13. Promote internal communication that is both open and substantive.
  14. Seek poise in my and those I lead.
  15. Put the team’s welfare and priorities ahead of my own.
  16. Maintain an ongoing level of concentration and focus that is abnormally high.
  17. Make sacrifice and commitment the organization’s trademark.

From Gridiron Genius by Michael Lombardi, p. 16

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