Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi was quoted frequently during the 2014 Winning Is Everything practice management conference in Las Vegas in mid-January. The mentions were fitting, given his famous "Winning isn't everything..." speech -- a speech that Deborah DeHaas, Deloitte's chief inclusion officer and keynote speaker, pointed out is often misquoted. Lombardi later claimed that he said, or at least meant to say, "Winning isn't everything. The will to win is the only thing."
Easy for him to say. I recently watched a documentary on the Green Bay hero and was amused to learn that his first head coaching job was for a high school basketball team -- a sport he admittedly knew little about. Naturally, he led the team to a state championship. Lombardi's wisdom, principles and exceptional leadership would probably translate across many sports. Yet he's lucky that someone eventually gave him the shot to work within the sport he would eventually help revolutionize.
DeHaas and Deloitte are attempting their own revolution in working toward an inclusive culture, a goal that DeHaas holds especially dear, having watched her mother struggle in a male-dominated workforce, and having herself almost left the profession at the age of 25 for lack of opportunity. It took one partner telling her she could one day be partner to keep her on board -- a sponsor. We all need one, even Lombardi. He was an assistant coach for many years while teams passed on giving him the head gig. He didn't begin his National Football League career until age 41, and didn't attain the job that would define him in Wisconsin until the age of 45. He had the tremendous leadership ability; he just needed an advocate.
Though yes, winning helps. As he also said, "No leader, however great, can long continue unless he wins battles. The battle decides all."
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