A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.
Design a routine that enshrines what is essential, making execution almost effortless.
Onitsuka asked what we thought [new shoe] should be called. Bowerman liked “Aztec,” in homage to the 1968 Olympics, which were being held in Mexico City. I liked that, too. Fine, Onitsuka said.
The Aztec was born. And then Adidas threatened to sue. Adidas already had a new shoe named the “Azteca Gold,” a track spike they were planning to introduce at the same Olympics. No one had ever heard of it, but that didn’t stop Adidas from kicking up a fuss.
Aggravated, I drove up the mountain to Bowerman’s house to talk it all over. We sat on the wide porch, looking down at the river. It sparkled that day like a silver shoelace. He took off his ball cap, put it on again, rubbed his face. “Who was that guy who kicked the shit out of the Aztecs?” he asked. “Cortez,” I said. He grunted. “Okay. Let’s call it the Cortez.”
“And, to be honest, I don’t have a specific agenda for what I want to do all that differently, apart from what I’m already trying to do every day: Identify and destroy small-return bullshit; shut off anything that’s noisier than it is useful; make brutally fast decisions about what I don’t need to be doing; avoid anything that feels like fake sincerity (especially where it may touch money); demand personal focus on making good things; put a handful of real people near the center of everything. All I know right now is that I want to do all of it better. Everything better.”