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Bill Walsh: Lessons from beyond the field

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Spotting insights from fields far outside your own is one characteristic of an innovative leader. That’s what 49ers coach Bill Walsh does.

The most popular offense in the NFL is known as “the West Coast offense.”  Walsh, who led the San Francisco 49ers to three Super Bowl wins, invented it.

And where did he get the idea for the offense? From Carl van Clausewitz, a Prussian general, philosopher and author from the 1800s.

Walsh, a history and war buff, used his interests and readings to advantage on the football field. While other coaches were imitating football legends, Walsh saw parallels in warfare that he used to devise football strategy, which he convinced his team to put into action again and again.

— Adapted from “Unsung Innovative Leaders,” Rich Karlgaard, Forbes. 

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