I got reference to a great book by listening to the 14th lecture of How to Start a Startup. “The Score takes care of itself” by Bill Walsh, Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh. It is a book on leadership by the legendary coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Bill Walsh. I really believe in the philosophy of Bill Walsh, that is if you do the right things the results are built into the effort. It is not easy or simple to execute but it is very easy to see, the results that is. San Francisco 49ers under Bill Walsh won 5 Super Bowl Championships in a span of 14 years, not repeated by any other NFL team. In order to build a world class company you need to start at the lowest level and build it up. I just started listening to it and it is a fascinating book, highly recommend it.
The topic of the How to Start a Startup lecture was how to build a great operating system for your company or simply How to Operate. I think a lot of us have a some semblance of understanding of what it takes to operate a company. I like how the speaker, Keith Rabois, Venture Partner at Khosla Ventures and one of the members of the Paypal Mafia, talk about building the operating system of a company is harder than starting up. It is hard because you have number of different irrational people working on different things thinking they are all aligned. It takes leadership at all levels, discipline, hard work and persistence to build a culture that creates a world class operating company. The answer like everything else that is hard in life is counter intuitive, it has to start with the minutest of details. The example that he gives in the lecture is from the above book, where Bill Walsh the coach of the 49ers, taught at every level starting with the receptionist of the organization. He wrote a 3 page note on how to answer the phone professionally. Similarly, Steve Jobs was known for demanding perfection at the minutest of things. There is a pattern to be learnt here. I am not suggesting that you need to do everything, but you need to have the proclivity to know when the perfection standard is slipping to step in and steer the team. This is by far the hardest job being a startup founder or a leader of an organization. Here is the lecture video. There are pearls of wisdom on how to operate, please watch it.
I had to add a video to pay tribute to Bill Walsh and the Dynasty that he created by building a Standard of Performance, where the score took care of itself. Enjoy