From the start, my prime directive, the fundamental goal, was the full and total implementation throughout the organization of the actions and attitudes of the Standard of Performance I described earlier. This was radical in the sense that winning is the usual prime directive in professional football and most businesses.
Consequently, the score wasn’t the crushing issue that overrode everything else; the record didn’t mean as much as the season progressed, because we were immersed in building the inventory of skills, both attitudinal and physical, that would lead to improved execution. That was the key. (The losses hurt, and the wins felt good. But neither was the primary focus of my effort or attention. At least, in the beginning. Unfortunately, that changed for me down the line.)
I directed our focus less to the prize of victory than to the process of improving-obsessing, perhaps, about the quality of our execution and the content of our thinking; that is, our actions and attitude. I knew if I did that, winning would take care of itself, and when it didn’t I would seek ways to raise our Standard of Performance. At least, that was my plan.
From “The Score Takes Care Of Itself” by Bill Walsh