Obviously John Wooden is not on my advisory board, but he is in my Pantheon-of-Wonderful-People.
Quote to consider
No written word, no spoken plea Can teach our youth what they should be; Nor all the books on all the shelves It’s what the teachers are themselves. Given to John Wooden by his Father upon Graduation And now to You
He is, quite simply, the greatest basketball coach ever. The numbers speak for themselves: 10 NCAA championships in 12 years, including seven straight national championships, 38 straight tournament wins and 88 straight wins overall. You don’t build a record like that without being a great leader and without being able to mold and shape raw talent into cohesive teams that make winning a part of their very existence. A day after his 95th birthday, UCLA’s head basketball coach emeritus brought his leadership lessons to UCLA’s Alumni Weekend Conference, where he shared his thoughts on team spirit, teaching and — most important to him — poetry, during a conversation with author Steve Jamison and a group of business school graduates.
I don’t like to give advice. I’ll give opinions.
You’ve got to get across to each individual that what we are interested in is what is going to work for all. You have to think for the group and not just of yourself.
I once heard team spirit defined as a willingness to lose oneself in the group for the good of the group. I used that for a spell, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted somehow. Eventually, I decided that I would eliminate the word “willingness” and institute “eagerness” — an eagerness to lose one’s self in the group for the good of the group.
[A leader] is just part of the group. You have to be firm but not stubborn. Stubbornness we deprecate, firmness we condone. The former is my neighbor’s trait; the latter is my own.
We’re all different. The good Lord in his wisdom didn’t create us the same. Some players, for example, I had to pat on the back constantly, and there are others I had to pat a little lower and a little harder. You can’t treat everybody alike. You have to try to give everyone the treatment they earn and deserve under your supervision.
When you have to discipline, do it privately and not before others. Don’t embarrass them before their peers.
- John Wooden