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Issue 582 - Three Steps That Lead to Great Teamwork (Bill Walsh)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 12 Issue 582
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Bill Walsh is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history. When Walsh took over the 49ers in 1979, he implemented three steps that led to great teamwork.
  1. He established performance standards for every individual in the organization. You cannot begin to help others until you do your own job without needing help from somebody else.

  2. He established an environment where everyone was working at improving their performance, irrespective of their position. In his excellent book with Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh, The Score Takes Care of Itself, Walsh gave this example:

    "Our groundskeepers raised their level of play to a point where Candlestick Park’s football field was increasingly among those in the best shape of any natural surface in the NFL, despite its proximity to San Francisco Bay, which produced a soggy subsoil and a mushy topsoil, and the effects of our winter rainy season. They often succeeded despite having these tremendous obstacles to overcome."

  3. He made sure everybody treated each other with respect. Coach Walsh described it this way:

    "I would tolerate no caste systems, no assumption of superiority by any coaches, players, or other personnel. Regardless of the size of an employee’s check or the requirements of his or her job, I made it clear that he or she was 100 percent a member of our team, whether he or she was a superstar or secretary, black or white, manager or maintenance man.

    In keeping with this philosophy, I forbade the traditional hazing of rookies and walk-ons—making them the butt of humiliation or physical punishment. Scouts, usually considered outliers, were treated right by us. They came to feel like real members of our organization, rather than pizza delivery boys who showed up with hot tips about players."

Does everybody feel they are an important part of your team?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise



Those Who Serve

People have not served who only gather gold,
Nor have they served, if their life is told
In selfish battles they have won,
Or deeds of skill that they have done;
But those have served who now and then
Have helped along their fellow men.

The world needs many people today;
Red-blooded people along life's way,
With cheerful smiles and helping hands,
And with the faith that understands
The beauty of the simple deed
Which serves another's hour of need.

Strong people to stand beside the weak,
Kind people to hear what others speak;
True people to keep our country's laws
And guard its honor and its cause;
People who will bravely play life's game
Nor ask rewards of gold and fame.

Teach me to do the best I can
To help and cheer our fellow man;
Teach me to lose my selfish need
And glory in the larger deed
Which smoothes the road, and lights the day
For all who chance to come my way.

Adapted from a poem (Men Who Serve) by Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)






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