We have a new addition to the UltimateNYG Book Club. And I have not even finished reading it yet, but that should tell you something about how good the book is. The Score Takes Care of Itself - My Philosophy of Leadership, by Bill Walsh.
Bill Walsh. Not only is this book great for football fans, it is an extremely helpful tool for anyone in business. The combination of football and business make this one a SLAM DUNK. Or to use football parlance, an 80 yard TD pass. The number of things that we talk about on this blog overlap tremendously with the content inside this book.
One concept Bill Walsh discusses midway through is being an "organizational archaeologist." Walsh goes through the trials of his second season as coach, when the team went 6-10 but endured an 8 game losing streak before winning 3 of the last 5. His 6 wins that season were more wins than the previous two seasons combined. But he sifted through the "ruins" of this difficult season, one where he was reduced to tears and contemplated resigning midway through, and painstaking analyzed where all of the problems were. Akin to "Good to Great," the message here was to CONFRONT THE BRUTAL FACTS. Unearth all of the dirty details and problems of the season so that you can address them and position yourself for success.
Walsh was getting his offense on track but his defense was a problem. He had difficulties in the secondary. Two things they did made a HUGE difference. (1) They drafted a key #1 pick, a Cornerback named Ronnie Lott (ever hear of him?!). (2) They brought in a 34 year old MLB named Jack ("Hacksaw") Reynolds. Reynolds had TREMENDOUS leadership. On the field and off. Walsh: "You could say that Ronnie Lott had character and Hacksaw was a character... Reynolds had an insanely competitive spirit and work ethic. He became a tutor for our younger players." Oh, and another thing WHICH DROVE ME TO THE KEYBOARD TO BANG THIS BLOG POST OUT...
"Six of our first seven draft picks were defensive players. You can see I was addressing what my search through the ruins had revealed."
So everyone has this lasting image of Bill Walsh as the offensive architect, the "genius" of the West Coast Offense, but the thing that put Walsh over the top was drafting defense. Three of those defensive draft choices started ALL 16 games. Go after defense this April.