Friday, June 30, 2017

Lessons in Leadership - Part 3

Lesson 7: Make Each Day Your Masterpiece

The South Bend Central team bus was scheduled to leave for our game against Mishawaka High School at exactly 6 p.m. All of us players were in our seats and ready to go except for two guys. They happened to be the co-captains of our team, the South Bend Central Bears. Probably our best players.

“Driver, what time do you have,” Coach Wooden asked when he stepped on board the bus. The driver looked at his watch and said, “It’s exactly 6 p.m., Coach.” Coach Wooden replied, “Well, that’s what time my watch says, too. I guess it must be 6 p.m.” He looked hard at those two empty seats and said to the driver, “Let’s go.” Coach left our two most valuable players behind. Nobody was late after that. The lesson was passed on from team to team each year. Time meant a lot to Coach Wooden.

Activity to produce real results must be organized and executed meticulously. Otherwise, it’s no different from children running around the playground at recess.

There is not enough time. A leader must be very astute in using time productively and teaching those in the organization to do the same. John Wooden understood he had exactly 210 hours of practice time to accomplish his teaching goals (105 practices, each two hours in length).

If you do not have the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?

One of the very few rules I enforced from my first day of coaching until my last was as follows: “Be on time.” Players—even assistant coaches—who broke this rule faced serious consequences.

I believe effective organization of time—budgeting and managing time—was one of my assets as a coach. I understood how to use time to its most productive ends. Gradually, I had learned how to get the most out of a minute. In return, each minute gave back the most to our team.

It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.

Lesson 8: The Carrot Is Mightier Than A Stick

Coach Wooden expected you to be really good. Being really good was normal. He didn’t think we needed to be complimented for doing what was normal.

Punishment invokes fear. I wanted a team whose members were filled with pride, not fear.

Give me 100 percent. You can’t make up for a poor effort today by giving 110 percent tomorrow. You don’t have 110 percent. You only have 100 percent, and that’s what I want from you right now.

Lesson 9: Make Greatness Available to Everyone

“You can always do more than you think you can.” There’s always more inside if you’re willing to work hard enough to bring it out.

“Be ready and your chance may come. If you are not ready, it may not come again.”

It was attainable by doing their job, fulfilling their role, at the highest level of their effort and ability.

When leaders instill the belief that the opportunity for personal greatness exists within every job, every role, and each person on the team, they will find themselves in charge of extraordinary achievers and motivated and most productive organizations.

"In whatever role I assign you, execute your responsibilities to the very best of your ability.”

Let the ambitious individual know that before advancing, they first must do their assigned role to the best of their ability. Let the overlooked individual better understand how their job benefits the team.

Lesson 10: Seek Significant Change

Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them, and your foes won’t believe them.

This was a revelation. John Wooden recognized that it was time to seek significant change, to stop limiting his view of what the team might accomplish.

Make each day your masterpiece.

Lesson 11: Don't Look At The Scoreboard

Winning was not mentioned—never—only the effort, the preparation, doing what it takes to bring out your best in practice and games. Let winning take care of itself. And it did.

You can’t do anything about yesterday, and the only way to improve tomorrow is by what you do right now.

Thus, he never scouted other teams because he believed the Bruins were better off letting the opponent do the scouting and constant changing. He felt the players under his supervision would be stronger doing the same thing over and over—his system executed at the highest possible standard— than trying to change each week depending on who the opponent might be. There were exceptions to this, of course, but very few.

Focus on running the race rather than winning it.

Lesson 12: Adversity is your Asset

The great lesson I take from Coach Wooden is this: the best thing you can do in life is your best. You’re a winner when you do that even if you’re on the short end of the score.

Welcome adversity. It can make you stronger, better, tougher. Your competition will be tested too. The prize goes to the competitor who best deals with adversity. This starts by not blaming your troubles on bad luck. Blaming fate—bad luck—makes you weaker. Good things come only through adversity. Good leaders understand this.

“Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.”

Adversity makes us stronger, but only if we resist the temptation to blame fate for our troubles.

Goals achieved with little effort are seldom worthwhile or long-lasting.

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