Philosophy is critical to success

I’m reading Pete Carroll’s book, Win Forever. Pete is the former coach of the USC Trojans and the current coach of Seattle Seahawks. During Pete’s time at USC, “the Trojans went 97-19, played in seven BCS bowl games, won two national championships, developed 34 All-American first-teamers and produced 60 NFL draft picks” (source). Clearly, Pete knows a thing or two about winning. In his book, Pete says his philosophy is one of the main reasons he has been able to win so consistently.

Pete Carroll’s Philosophy for win forever starts with three simple things.

  1. Protect the team. This has to do with external actions. No one should do anything, say anything, or act in a way that will harm the team.
  2. No whining, no complaining, no excuses. This deals with a person’s internal self-talk. It helps them to get their thinking right and overcome mental obstacles.
  3. Be early. Pete says that for a person to be early, they have to be organized. They have to think ahead, plan and have their stuff together.

(source, Win Forever by Pete Carroll)

These things seem so simple, but they frame everything that Pete’s teams do. And, with a simple philosophy at their core, Pete’s teams win, a lot.

Reading his book has helped me realize that every organization needs a guiding philosophy that people can easily understand and get behind. If the philosophy is too broad, it means nothing and guides no one. Instead, an organization’s philosophy must be simple and compelling. It must be simple so that everyone can understand it the first time with little additional explanation. It must be compelling in that it is immediately actionable to everyone. I’m increasingly convinced that without a simple and actionable philosophy an organization will struggle.

I’m working on my philosophy for my life, my family, my business and my nonprofit. I’m certain that to have the success that I want for each of them this will be critical.

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