Saturday, March 26, 2016

Bill Walsh's Standard of Performance

Bill Walsh was a Super Bowl coach for the SF Forty Niners between 1979 -1988. He leaded them to three successful Super Bowls for those ten years.    

Coach Walsh was quite innovative and was also the architect of the West Coast Offense system. 


Following is a listing of quotes from his book- The Score Takes Care of Itself :

“I came to the San Francisco 49ers with an overriding priority and specific goal – to implement what I call the Standard of Performance.

“When you know that your peers – others in the organization – demand and expect a lot out of you and you, in turn, out of them, that’s when the sky’s the limit.”

“It was a way of doing things, a leadership philosophy that has as much to do with core values, principles, and ideals as with blocking, tackling, and passing: more to do with the mental than with the physical.

“While I prized preparation, planning, precision, and poise, I also knew that organizational ethics were crucial to ultimate ongoing success.

“It began with this fundamental leadership assertion: Regardless of your specific job, it is vital to our team that you do that job at the highest possible level in all its various aspects, both mental and physical (i.e., good talent with bad attitude equals bad talent).

“There are also the basic characteristics of attitude and action – the new organizational ethos – I tried to teach our team, to put into our DNA.

“Of course, for this to happen the person in charge – whether the head coach, CEO, manager, or assembly line foreman – must exhibit the principles.”

"Scripting was a most effective leadership tool in fair and foul weather. In a very calculated way, I began calling the plays for the game before the game was played."

"The more thorough, the more extensive, the more rehearsed, the better you perform under the pressure of any situation that calls for an immediate decision. ...”

“When you prepare for everything, you’re ready for anything.”

"I was always consumed with the X's and O's of football. It was like a chess game to me. I could see 22 people in my mind when I closed my eyes. I can see exactly where they are, exactly where they are going. If it's not part of your nature, you're never going to make it big. "
- Bill Walsh's, for an AIM's Investment Funds commercial (a part of Investco Funds Group) in 2002

Following is a listing of comments on Coach Walsh from his peers:

"Bill's thought process was, 'I'm going to take advantage of what you do well.' He was doing a lot of substituting, getting certain matchups. It was fascinating."
- Tony Dungy, Former NFL head coach, who played for Walsh's 1979 Niners team

" ... The biggest thing to come to mind is just how comprehensive his knowledge was. Most people think of Bill Walsh and the West Coast offense, but it was the organization, the personnel evaluation, how to deal with players -- Bill was really the first to start players' programs. Every interactive aspect of the entire organization is what Bill was such a master of. ..."
- Brian Billick, Former Baltimore Ravens head coach and co-author of Walsh's book, "Finding the Winning Edge"

"One of the most important things I learned being around Coach Walsh was that nothing happened because of luck. He planned for every situation and every eventuality. We had an answer for every blitz, every coverage and game situation, because we were challenged to prepare. .." 
- David Shaw, Stanford coach, who played for Walsh at Stanford  

"He would lock himself in a room on Monday night, turn on classical music, and he would create plays. Like a great composer. Alone. And design all the plays."
- Ernie Accorsi  Former GM of the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Colts

The way we begin games with a "First 15." I firmly believe that this was in line with Bill's love of boxing. This is the idea of starting games by probing your opponent with a variety of plays like a boxer would "stick and move."

- David Shaw

Source: NFL

The Script: The Perfect Leadership Tool
" ... By 1980, the script of Walsh’s opening plays had grown from five plays to twenty-five plays, allowing his team to visualize days before the game how they’d attack their opposition. By the time it matured in San Francisco, Walsh’s offense seemed to be a step or two ahead of its opposition, able to set the tone of the game, take full advantage of the liberalized passing rules and keep the defense off-balance. … ‘American’s Team’ was the most imitated club in football during the seventies. The Cowboys used computerized scouting, and the rest of the league eventually followed suit. The Cowboys used a multiple offense with lots of shifts. The Cowboys based much of their defensive philosophy on computerized tendencies identified from an opponent’s previous games; the rest of league based on computer-generated tendencies identified from an opponent’s previous games.

But Walsh’s twenty-five-plays script subverted all of that. You couldn’t plan for the 49ers because the 49ers didn’t have an identifiable sets of biases on first or second down and they possessed such versatile running backs that they were equally effective running or passing on third down.  .."
Source: More than a Game: The Glorious Present--and the Uncertain Future--of the NFL    By Brian Billick, Michael MacCambridge    Pg 125-126

Other Notes 
During our spare time, our associates are still focused on completing our Scripting Book project.  It has passed the 70% mark. 

Following is an abridged listing of "possible" topics that the book will cover:
  • the basics of our Assess, Position and Influence model;  
  • the conceptual bridge between our Assess, Position and Influence (API) process model and the script;
  • the basics of a starter script (aka. the first 25, openers, drive starters, etc.);
  • the basics of a well-developed scripted play;
  • the basics of staging and shaping the competition with the integration of orthodox tactics and unorthodox tactics.
  • the art and science of "scenario planning and modeling"; and
  • the technical differences between our Assess, Position and Influence (API) model and John Boyd's Observation, Orientation, Decision and Action (OODA) model.

Side Notes    
We are still deciding on whether it is necessary to transpose the basics of the Sunzi's "Victory Temple" Paradigm into this book.

Click here and here for more quotes from Coach Walsh.

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