Phil Knight's Nike Manifesto: 10 Leadership Lessons for Success

Uncover Phil Knight's transformative business principles and learn how they continue to inspire leaders worldwide

Phil Knight's Nike Manifesto: 10 Leadership Lessons for Success

Tuesday May 16, 2023,

2 min Read

Phil Knight, co-founder of the global sports brand Nike, penned a compelling 1980 manifesto that offers timeless insights into his leadership philosophy. Knight's ten core principles encapsulate a vision applicable to any business venture, emphasising adaptability, resilience, and relentless pursuit of excellence.

Our business is change.

Knight suggests that businesses should be adaptable, embracing change as a catalyst for growth. It's about constantly seeking new opportunities and innovating.

We're on offence. All the time.

Being on offence means taking proactive action and pursuing goals relentlessly. It's about being a trendsetter and driving the pace.

Perfect results count -- not a perfect process. Break the rules: fight the law.

Knight prioritises results over perfect processes. This principle encourages creative problem-solving and challenging established norms to achieve desired outcomes.

This is as much about battle as about business.

Knight views business as a battlefield, an arena of competition where resilience and a fighting spirit are key to survival and success.

Assume nothing. Make sure people keep their promises. Push yourselves, push others. 'Stretch the possible'.

This principle promotes skepticism, accountability, and continuous self-improvement. It emphasises the importance of verifying facts, holding each other accountable, and pushing boundaries.

Live off the land.

Knight champions resourcefulness and resilience. It's about making the most of available resources and thriving in the face of challenges.

Your job isn’t done until the job is done.

Knight emphasises the importance of commitment and accountability, insisting on seeing tasks through to their completion.

Dangers: Bureaucracy, Personal ambition, Energy takers vs. energy givers, Knowing our weaknesses, Don't get too many things on the platter.

Knight identifies potential pitfalls, warning against bureaucracy, unchecked personal ambition, energy drain, unrecognised weaknesses, and overextension.

It won't be pretty.

Knight acknowledges that the path to success will be fraught with challenges and setbacks, emphasising resilience and learning from failures.

If we do the right things we'll make money damn near automatic.

Knight underscores that success comes from doing the right things consistently. He values integrity, hard work, and customer focus as keys to financial success.

Knight's manifesto provides a blueprint for success that transcends industries and eras, encapsulating the power of vision, courage, and the relentless pursuit of excellence.

image credit:the sydney morning herald