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The foundation of a standard of performance is attention to detail.
  —  Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in:  “The Genius“, by David Harris
[“Attention to detail, private!” was another of those sayings my old Drill Sergeant used to beat me over the head with…  Who knew he might have been a great coach!  —  KMAB]
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The object is to play so well so consistently that your opponent caves in.
  —   Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in “The Genius“, by David Harris
[Happy Birthday Bro,
The same can be said about squeezing every drop of living out of life…
Love ya,
Kev
  —   KMAB]
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You have to develop an ethic so that on every down you play as well as you can play.  From week to week, it is your personal, internalized standard of play that makes the difference.
  —  Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in “The Genius“, by David Harris
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What matters most is what you expect from yourself.  The players who do the best are those who expect the most.  They play every down matched against their own expectations.  That’s how you win games and sustain a season.
  —  Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in:  “The Genius“, written by: David Harris
[Happy Birthday, Sarah!
The quote above is also about how you live your life without regrets…
Love, Dad — KMAB]
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Players must execute.  They can’t depend on emotion to win.  It doesn’t matter how much you want to win the game.  Everyone in the NFL is intense.  It’s foolish to think we can out intensity them.  The bottom line is: Can we execute a series of plays almost flawlessly?  Only through repetition and experience with those plays can each player complete the necessary assignments.  If you want something too badly, you can throw yourself out of sync trying to make a play that isn’t really achievable.  It’s not the attitude or the personnel that does it.  It’s how well you do things.  Don’t count on heroics.  Count on execution, on the things we have practiced and are good at.
   —  Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in “The Genius“, written by David Harris
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The critical factor whenever people work together, is that they expect something of each other.  It’s not just that the coach expects a lot of the players — it’s the fact that the players expect a lot of each other.  We establish a standard of performance here where each man is an extension of his teammates.  We prepare for every contingency and through all of this there is a single thrust — sacrifice for your team because you infinitely care.  You are truly a Forty Niner when you aid and assist each other, when you believe in each other.
  —  Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in:  “The Genius“, by David Harris
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For the last two years, about this time, I make my Super Bowl predictions.  I try to pick the winner, predict the score and explain why.  So far, I’m zero(0) for two(2) on my picks.  However, I’m not so easily deterred that I won’t try again.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure I will have to admit that I am a lifetime San Francisco Forty Niners fan.  This means my “normal” sense of objective reasoning will have to be set aside for this posting.
I believe the 49ers will easily win the Super Bowl to the tune of something like 34 to 13.  That’s correct!  We will score four touchdowns and two field goals and they will score one touchdown and two field goals.
The 49ers met the Baltimore Ravens last season on Thanksgiving night and they defeated us 16 to 6.  They scored one touchdown and three field goals to our (only) two field goals.  The difference in the game was nine(9!) sacks of our quarterback (Alex Smith).  This was very much a defensive battle and Ray Lewis, the Ravens middle linebacker did not play due to injury.  This year, neither team has as good a defense as they had last year.  I personally think the age (and related slowness) of the Ravens linebackers will prove to be their downfall.  The Ravens other great linebacker (Suggs) has been slowed by injury this year and is not his pass rushing best any more.  Not to take too much credit from the Ravens that night, the fact is the game was played on a short week (for both teams) but we had to spend a day travelling to Baltimore.  I honestly feel it they had had to come to us OR if the game was on a normal Sunday, we would have prevailed.
On the other side, our new quarterback (Kaepernick) is much more athletic than our quarterback from last year (Smith).  Kaepernick is also a much better deep thrower than Smith.  I believe Kaepernick will open with runs to draw the Raven linebackers close, then throw to Vernon Davis (our tight end) in mid-range, and then go over the top (and center) to Randy Moss.  With the Ravens thinking center and deep, Kaepernick will switch to shorter routes (in and outside) to Michael Crabtree.  With the Ravens dropping back to protect the pass, the 49ers will interweave the ground pounding of Frank Gore.
The Ravens offense is a mirror of the 49ers, but not as good.  Flacco is a good deep thrower, but we have a better pass rush than they’ve seen in a while.  Pitta is a large target as a tight end, but he is not as fast as V. Davis and our linebackers are better pass defenders than the Raven’s are.  Reed is their best pass defender, but he has lost a step.
So, this will be a VERY physical game, but the 49ers should win handily…
The Genius” — Book Review:
About a month ago, I picked up: “The Genius” by David Harris (2008©).  The sub-title is: “How Bill Walsh Reinvented Football and Created an NFL Dynasty“.
To be honest, I was expecting another “puff-piece” about how great and good Bill Walsh was.  (Walsh passed away 30 July 2007.)  The reality is (was) that he was not a particularly nice man – even if he was a great head coach.  Walsh is made to seem almost bi-polar and manically depressive in this book.  I don’t question this impression.  I just wonder that twenty years after the fact, so much of this is “new” to me.  I bought this book expecting to “re-live” some of the good-old days.  The book is a very fast read (which I didn’t expect) and was perfect to squeeze in in-between our winning the NFC Conference Championship and going on to the Super Bowl.
If you are looking for a book to advise you how to build a winning football (or sports) program, this one won’t be of much use.  If you’re looking for an in-depth explanation of the “West Coast Offense”, sorry, still no joy here.  If you’re looking for how to evaluate college players for drafting to create a winning team, nope.  How to create a game plan or manage an actual game, nope and nope again.
So why is this book “good”?  (I highly recommend it!)
Because it reminds of what must be sacrificed in order to reach the top (of any profession) and stay there.  It is a cautionary tale of an intelligent, forward looking and forward thinking man who could not separate sports losses from personal failures and suffered terribly / emotionally for it.
Although I enjoyed every Walsh (49er) victory, I also found his personnel actions disloyal and sometimes despicable.  This was true “back in the day” (when they were happening) and more so as I read this book.  That’s not to say Walsh wasn’t doing these things for the good of the team.  It’s just I found them morally objectionable.
It seems, for the last chapters, that Walsh, after his own retirement, made a concerted effort to try to befriend the players he treated so badly during their careers.  I’m happy he was able to convince them there was nothing personal in his intent while he was coaching.  It is stated that many former players came to have great affection for him, even a sense of love.  I think this a “common” response among people who feel someone tried to get the very best out of them – even more than the person themself felt they had to offer.
It’s a shame that a “truer” genius could not have found a way to be both a great coach and a better person at the same time.
In conclusion – Go Niners!!  Beat the Ravens!!
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If you are uncomfortable walking around your team’s workplace, awkward and out of place, you are a disconnected leader — not really part of the team.  Sitting in your office with the door closed and issuing edicts from on high is not communication, and is certainly not collaborative leadership.
  —  Bill Walsh
From his book:  “The Score Takes Care Of Itself
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The “big plays” in business —  or professional football —  don’t just suddenly occur out of thin air.  They result from very hard work and painstaking attention over the years to all of the details related to your leadership.
Talent, functional intelligence, experience, maturity, effort, dedication, and practice may not be perfect, but they will get you so close to perfection that most people will think you achieved it.  And the results will show it. …
…Your effort in the beginning is part of a continuum of effort; your Standard of Performance is part of a continuum of standards.  Today’s effort becomes tomorrow’s result.  The quality of those efforts becomes the quality of your work.  One day is connected to the following day and the following month to the succeeding years.
Your own Standard of Performance becomes who and what you are.   You and your organization achieve greatness.
  —  Bill Walsh
From his book: “The Score Takes Care Of Itself
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Looking back, perhaps the lesson I would draw is this: If you don’t love it, don’t do it.  I loved it — teaching people how to reach in deep to fulfill their potential, how to become great.  And when you do that with a group, you, as the leader, enjoy the thrill of creating a great team.  For me it was like creating a work of art.  Only instead of painting on a canvas, I had the great joy of creating in collaboration with others.
  —  Bill Walsh
From his book: “The Score Takes Care Of Itself
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In my experience, this is what it takes to be a good teacher: passion, expertise, communication, and persistence.
  —  Bill Walsh
From his book: “The Score Takes Care Of Itself
[Which is why great teachers are so hard to find – anywhere – let alone in schools.  Being great at any of those individual areas will make you a valuable commodity in the market place.  Why would someone settle for the average teacher’s salary?  —  KMAB]
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Saturday morning I was supposed to go in to work some overtime.  I went out to the car and started it up.  As I was backing it out, I heard some crunching sounds.  As I got clear of the driveway I had two passing thoughts: it sure is cold in here and the back window sure is clear this morning.  (Usually, when the weather is cold the  back window is frosted over.)  Once the car was in the street, I noticed a black patch on my driveway.  Of course, your first thought is, “Great, the oil has dumped all over the drive!”
Then it all comes together and you realize your back window has been shattered.

Bashed in rear window

Random act of violence by some jerk…

And so you start the process – call the police, call the insurance, call the shop…  The police say it appears to be a random act of vandalism.  The shop says call Safelite.  The insurance says it’ll be a $100 deductible.  So, I’m out my overtime, my $100, and I have to take a day of leave off to get the window replaced.
The good news is I met a nice repairman – Reggie (from Safelite).  He was very professional and seems to have done a great job.  It’s too bad you have to have something bad happen in order to meet good folks.
I took advantage of the time to read “The Score Takes Care of Itself“, written by Bill Walsh with Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh.  After reading several books on running, it was nice to read about a different sport (football) and about management and leadership.  The book is sub-titled: “My Philosophy of Leadership“.  The book is copywrite in 2009 and must have come out shortly after Walsh’s death.
I found it to be a VERY fast read and a very interesting one as well.  Of course, being a 49ers fan, it would be hard not to like it.  Walsh discusses some players and some game situations, but mostly he is talking about what he believes it takes to be a great leader.  Namely: personal expertise in the subject matter, a dedication to teaching and communication, and a commitment to a specifically defined and explicitly communicated standard of performance (strive for excellence and improvement).
The following excerpt is from early in the book and is Walsh’s definition of his Standard of Performance:
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.
At another point he says, passion, expertise, communication and persistence are the key’s to great teaching and great leadership.  It would be hard to disagree with anything said in the book.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in management or leadership.  It’s also a great read for any 49er fan seeking insight into our glory days.
Yesterday was Easter Sunday. We all got together (Mom, Carm & Art, Sean and Junior, and Hil, Sarah and me) for lunch at Fresh Choice to celebrate Mom’s and Carm’s birthdays.  It was a great time and we all had a laugh.  Afterwards we all came back to our house to hang out and have a cup of tea or coffee.
Sometimes the simplest family get-togethers are the best…
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