Genius in Simplicity

Vince Lombardi is considered one of the greatest football coaches of all time. His drive, determination and vision earned him the love and respect of players and coaches alike. 

What was it about his leadership style that has stood the test of time? 

Lombardi took a complicated game and created a clear and manageable and game plan for his players. He taught his team how to win with basic straight forward football. Lombardi had only five running plays in his offense.

We really don’t fool anyone. The opposition knows what’s coming, but they rarely stop us because every player knows his assignment and we’ve practiced it a thousand times.
— Vince Lombardi
 NFL File Photo

NFL File Photo


"Three yards and a cloud of dust" was his inspirational explanation for what he wanted from his team. Block, tackle and play with your heart until the clock runs out. No wonder his legend lives on and his name evokes inspiration. 

There were and are, many talented coaches who also believed in discipline, consistency, selflessness, resilience, confidence and pride. So, what was the simple message beyond the simple game plan that Lombardi gave to his players that upholds his reputation after all these years?

It is said that more is "caught than taught". His players caught his commitment, his work ethic, and above all, his players knew he loved them and would do anything for them. 

He answered the two questions any player asks and any employee asks: "Can I trust you and do you care? No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

Once those two questions are answered, you have earned the right to lead. Leadership is influence. It is a position, not a title. It cannot be demanded or taken. 

Lombardi's teams knew with extreme clarity and simplicity that the goal was to strive for perfection one play at a time. They were taught how to execute flawlessly. They were inspired by a man who loved them and led by example. 

Perfection is unattainable, but if we chase perfection, we catch excellence.
— Vince Lombardi

Win or lose, his players were prepared for battle. That is why he is forever endeared to our hearts.       

What is holding you back from being the Vince Lombardi of your organization? What behaviors do you need to address that will inspire others to greatness? What changes are necessary to lead your team to their greatest victories? What is it you need to “throw off" to create an environment where you can impact and inspire?    

Leadership is influence. It is a position, not a title. It cannot be demanded or taken.
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