Episode #165: The Secret Ingredient Behind the World’s Best Teams with Sam Walker

Sam Walker is The Wall Street Journal’s deputy editor for enterprise, the unit that oversees the paper’s in-depth page-one features and investigative reporting projects. A former reporter, columnist, and sports editor, Walker founded the Journal’s prizewinning daily sports coverage in 2009.

He is the author of Fantasyland, a bestselling account of his attempt to win America’s top fantasy baseball expert competition (of which he is a two-time champion). Walker attended the University of Michigan. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

Sam just released The Captain Class - The Hidden Force That Creates the World's Greatest Teams, in which he profiles the greatest teams in history and identifies the counterintuitive leadership qualities of the unconventional men and women who drove them to succeed.

In it, he let’s us on in on a little secret..The secret to winning is not what you think it is.

It’s not the coach. It’s not the star.

It’s not money. It’s not a strategy.

It’s something else entirely.

Find out what it is and more in this episode of Future Squared with Sam Walker.

Topics Discussed:

  • The one thing the 16 most successful sports teams in history all had in common
  • The 7 core qualities behind an effective leader
  • Whether sports teams make for a good reference point for startups and corporate teams
  • Sam’s book and the methodology behind whittling down over 1,000 teams to 16
  • Why leaders break the rules
  • The value of dissent and conflict
  • Dissent at Pixar
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Netflix’s culture deck on being a sports team, not a family
  • The Russian hockey team of 1980
  • The 1996 Cuban women’s volleyball team
  • The 2009 French handball team
  • Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs

Show Notes:

  1. Twitter: @samwalkers
  2. WSJ - The Seven Leadership Secrets of Great Teams: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-seven-leadership-secrets-of-great-team-captains-1494595600  
  3. Web: BySamWalker.com

Sam’s books on Amazon:


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