I am a big believer in the idea that culture drives outcomes. Process drives results. The score takes care of itself. I think this simple framework applies on a variety of different levels – from personal development to company building. 

“For me the starting point for everything – before strategy, tactics, theories, managing, organizing, philosophy, methodology, talent, or experience – is work ethic.” – Bill Walsh

If you put the work in up front, if you really sweat out the details, then everything else will come together. In fact, you do not really need to worry about the outcomes…you just have to get the inputs right.

The inputs give you the outputs. It seems obvious. But I think most people do not really realize this. They focus on the outputs. 

“How did we perform?”

“Did I get x job?”

“Did we win?”

Measuring outputs is inefficient because they are not the problem. The inputs are! 

The inputs, though, are detailed. They seem trivial. They are the types of things lots of others glaze over. 

You have to really grind on them to get them right. 

Have you been in this type of position before? 

Where have you really sweat before? Do you remember it? Where all you can really think about is that one particular moment…it is finishing that lap around the track. It is wrapping up this part of a presentation. It is making that last sprint effort towards the finish line.

You know what it is.

You are proud of it. That grind. And you should be! That grind is an investment in the future and you know it will pay off. 

It pays off when you take your shirt off at the beach. It pays off when you go up to give that presentation. When you line the field and you know you are more prepared than your competition. 

Though, this does not mean you should always expect to win. 

“Do expect defeat. It’s a given when the stakes are high” 
― Bill Walsh, The Score Takes Care of Itself

What it means is that you should only focus on what you (or your team) can control. That means getting all of the tiny little things right. 

“My Standard of Performance—the values and beliefs within it—guided everything I did in my work at San Francisco and are defined as follows: Exhibit a ferocious and intelligently applied work ethic directed at continual improvement; demonstrate respect for each person in the organization and the work he or she does; be deeply committed to learning and teaching, which means increasing my own expertise; be fair; demonstrate character; honor the direct connection between details and improvement, and relentlessly seek the latter; show self-control, especially where it counts most—under pressure; demonstrate and prize loyalty; use positive language and have a positive attitude; take pride in my effort as an entity separate from the result of that effort; be willing to go the extra distance for the organization; deal appropriately with victory and defeat, adulation and humiliation (don’t get crazy with victory nor dysfunctional with loss); promote internal communication that is both open and substantive (especially under stress); seek poise in myself and those I lead; put the team’s welfare and priorities ahead of my own; maintain an ongoing level of concentration and focus that is abnormally high; and make sacrifice and commitment the organization’s trademark.” 


Also published on Medium.