Vince Lombardi was one of the most successful coaches in the history of American Football, but he also had an uncanny knack of providing some of the most inspirational quotes used in business today…
Lombardi died way back in 1970 but his inspirational theories on playing, coaching and life in general have adorned the walls of both team dressing rooms and board rooms ever since. His ability to motivate people to achieve their maximum potential has transcended football and become a beacon for business leadership.
I’ve long believed that the business community can learn a lot from how to succeed in sport and I’m rather partial to stealing (with pride) their working practices. I’m particularly fond of the concept of ‘aggregating marginal gains’which was posited by Dave Brailsford in his pursuit of the Tour de France withTeam Sky. His theory was that it was possible to make a…
“1 percent margin for improvement in everything you do”
Brailsford reckoned that if he could make a 1% improvement across every conceivable dimension (e.g. lighter bike, better nutrition, more sleep etc.) the cumulative gains would turn his team into winners within five years. The reality? It only took him three.
There is no doubting the genius of Brailsford but I wonder if he will still be being quoted 46 years after his demise? So what makes Lombardi’s utterances so resonant and why are they still so relevant in modern business? Well I reckon it’s simply because the truths that Lombardi so eloquently espoused over a half a century ago whilst talking about the game he adored are still as poignant now as they ever were.
The majority of his statements had 3 core themes running throughout them, captured across 25 rules outlined in Success magazine. Firstly it was that success was only achieved through hard work. Secondly, it was about being about the best that you could possibly be. And finally (and in my humble opinion, the most redolent of success), perseverance in the face of adversity.
In honour of the man and his legacy, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite 8 Lombardi quotes in the hope that they energise you as much as they do for me:
“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up”
“Winning is not a sometime thing, it is an all the time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while – you do them right all the time”
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will”
“If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives”
“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.”
“Winning is not everything – but making the effort to win is”
“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary”
I wonder how many of these you might end up using in one of your presentations in the next few months…