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Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization Hardcover – April 26, 2005
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From the Back Cover
A compelling look inside the mind and powerful leadership methods of America’s coaching legend, John Wooden
Praise for Wooden on Leadership:
“What an all-encompassing Pyramid of Success for leadership! Coach Wooden’s moral authority and brilliant definition of success encompass all of life. How I admire his life’s work and concept of what it really means to win!”
--Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People and The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness
“Wooden On Leadership offers valuable lessons no matter what your endeavor. 'Competitive Greatness' is our goal and that of any successful organization. Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is where it all starts.”
--Jim Sinegal, president & CEO, Costco
John Wooden’s goal in 41 years of coaching never changed; namely, to get maximum effort and peak performance from each of his players in the manner that best served the team. Wooden on Leadership explains step-by-step how he pursued and accomplished this goal. Focusing on Wooden’s 12 Lessons in Leadership and his acclaimed Pyramid of Success, it outlines the mental, emotional, and physical qualities essential to building a winning organization, and shows you how to develop the skill, confidence, and competitive fire to “be at your best when your best is needed”--and teach your organization to do the same.
Though he was better at it than almost anyone in American history, building a sports dynasty was never a goal for UCLA head coach John Wooden. Rather, it was Wooden’s passionate desire to teach his players how to become the best team they could be. To Wooden, “Competitive Greatness” was a tangible and teachable force.
One of the lesser-known aspects of Wooden’s career is the private notebooks in which he regularly recorded his observations, goals, and leadership concepts as they applied to basketball, success, and life. Wooden on Leadership draws from those personal notes to share practical and powerful leadership skills that anyone can use to improve performance and overcome self-imposed limitations.
Wooden on Leadership contains the best of Wooden’s observations, covering everything from teamwork (“It takes 10 hands to score a basket”) and self-control (“Emotion is the enemy”) to concentration (“Don’t look at the scoreboard”) and dealing with defeat (“Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out”). Featuring pivotal moments in Wooden’s own leadership journey, it explores the 15 fundamental leadership qualities--building blocks--of his famous Pyramid of Success, illustrating their relevance in building a winning organization. Each chapter concludes with Wooden’s “Rules to Lead By,” point-by-point action steps covering the chapter’s key concepts. along with pivotal moments in his own leadership journey.
“On Wooden” summary sections throughout the book feature penetrating insights on Coach Wooden’s leadership methods from players and coaches who worked with him during his career, including All-Americans Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Gail Goodrich, and David Meyers and assistant coaches Denny Crum, Gary Cunningham, and Eddie Powell. As participants and contributors to Wooden’s legacy, their words provide a revealing and personal perspective.
Wooden on Leadership reveals the leadership wisdom of John Wooden. It presents the core concepts, methods, and beliefs that Wooden used to teach his teams how to attain Competitive Greatness, and true personal success.
About the Author
John Wooden (1910-2010), guided the UCLA Bruins to ten NCAA basketball championships over a 12-year period, including four perfect seasons and an 88-game winning streak. He was named ESPN’s “Greatest Coach of the 20th Century” and voted “#1 Coach of All Time” by The Sporting News. Sports Illustrated said it best when they said: “There’s never been a finer man in American sports than John Wooden, or a finer coach.” In 2003 John Wooden was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Steve Jamison is America's foremost author and authority on the life and philosophy of John Wooden. Mr. Jamison is a consultant to the UCLA Anderson Scool of Business’ John Wooden Global Leadership Program. He has collaborated with Coach Wooden on an award-winning PBS presentation as well as several books, including the classic book on teaching and mentoring, Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Theme 1 - One of the primary things I like about Wooden’s leadership style is that he believes in maintaining emotional control at all times. He wants intensity not emotionalism and there is a difference.
Comments - Too many times I encounter leaders that actually prohibit effectiveness because they have not managed to control their emotions. Unfortunately the media, especially the sports media mistakenly regularly convey that emotional displays or outbursts are leadership in action.
Theme 2 - Wooden believes the best leaders are lifelong learners.
Comments - This is absolutely true, but the challenge we have is making time for the learning. Leadership training and reading books on leadership is not primarily about getting new techniques. If you are experienced often you know the majority of what’s out there. Leadership training and reading books on leadership is about regulating behavior. We read the leadership books and take the training to assure we are performing according to what we know. I cannot even tell you how many times someone has come up to me after a leadership class and said some form of “you reminded me of many things I know and used to do but I had gotten away from them.” Leadership is a skill that involves fundamentals and subtleties and without continual review performance suffers. Professional sports teams don’t just practice the skills and plays they already know to occupy time, if they don’t practice what they already know performance suffers. They have to make time for practice. Learning is not just the acquisition of new knowledge it is also the reinforcement of what we already know. We have to make time for it. What was the last leadership book your boss read? What was the last leadership book you read?
My top 20 highlights from Wooden on Leadership
1. Mutual respect and camaraderie strengthen your team. Affection, in fact, may weaken it by causing you to play favorites.
2. First and foremost, you are their leader, not their buddy.
3. As a leader you must be sincerely committed to what’s right rather than who’s right.
4. For many years I’ve described one of the differences between a good leader and a prison guard is cooperation. When you carry a rifle it is unnecessary to listen...
5. Self-Control in little things leads to control of bigger things. For example, the reason I prohibited profanity – a small issue – during practices was because it was usually caused by frustration or anger. I felt that a player who couldn’t control his language when he got upset during a scrimmage would be more likely to lose control in more damaging ways during the heat of competition – fouling, fighting, or making other poor decisions that would almost always hurt the team.
6. Hesitancy, indecisiveness, vacillation, and fear of failure are not characteristics I associate with good leadership. I told our team many times: “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” By that I meant to make a decision, take action, decide what you’re going to do and do it. Keep this word of caution in mind: “Failure to act is often the biggest failure of all.”
7. Mistakes, even failure, can be permissible so long as they do not result from carelessness or poor preparation
8. “The one who once most wisely said, ‘Be sure you’re right, then go ahead.’ Might have added this to it, ‘Be sure you are wrong before you quit.’”
9. The best leaders are lifelong learners, they take measures to create organizations that foster and inspire learning throughout. The most effective leaders are those who realize it’s what you know after you know it all that counts most.
10. Benjamin Franklin understood its value quite well: “Genius is nothing but a greater aptitude for patience.”
11. “I will not like you all the same, but I will love you all the same. And whether I like you are not, my feelings will not interfere with my judgment of your effort and performance. You will be treated fairly. That’s a promise.”
12. Nobody cares how much you know (until they know how much you care).
13. That’s when I began announcing that the team members wouldn’t be treated the same or alike; rather, each one would receive the treatment they earned and deserved.
14. Do not equate professional expertise with your ability to teach it.
15. I prize intensity and fear emotionalism. Consistency in high performance and production is a trademark of effective and successful organizations and those who lead them. Emotionalism destroys consistency. A leader who is ruled by emotions, whose temperament is mercurial, produce a team whose trademark is roller coaster-ups and downs in performance; unpredictability and un-dependability in effort and concentration; one day good, the next day bad.
16. …emotional control is a primary component of consistency, which is in turn a component of success.
17. A volatile leader is like a bottle of nitroglycerine. The slightest knock and it blows up. Those around nitroglycerine or a temperamental boss spend all their time carefully tiptoeing back and forth rather than doing their jobs. It is not an environment, in my opinion conducive to winning organizations.
18. Managing egos-the over- and underinflated, the forceful and the fragile- is one of the greatest challenges facing any leader.
19. Explain to each team member precisely how his or her contributions connect to the welfare and success of the entire organization.
20. PRIVATE AND PUBLIC PRAISE – Acknowledging top producers does not always have to be done publicly It is often effective for a leader to praise their outstanding performance when others are not around. It gives the “superstar” deserved recognition without creating resentment. Conversely, praise for those in lesser roles is often maximized by doing it in a more public manner.
Dr. James T. Brown, Author,
The Handbook of Program Management
99% of people will say, "THE DEVIL is in the details". John Wooden says, "SUCCESS is in the details." In his basket ball practices, John Wooden takes care of every detail down to wearing your socks properly, or drinking room temperature water so that you do get cramps.
The TEAM wins the game. Not the player. As John summarizes "It takes 10 hands to make a basket." So many basket ball insights can be simply applied over to business and investing. A wonderful and refreshing read.
Investor | Author | Entrepreneur
In the second section, John shares a number of personal lessons in leadership, that tie into the framework and help bring it to life. These include: Good values attract food people, call yourself a teacher, and seek significant change, to name a few. The last section is composed of extracts from John's personal notebook and ensuing lessons.
What sets Coach Wooden's philosophy and books apart is best highlighted in the book's preface: "Dr. Albert Einstein and Coach Wooden share a similar brilliance; specifically, both mastered the complicated art of keeping it simple. " In addition, the numerous stories shared, help the reader understand how to apply the framework and the impact it can have.
I highly recommend John's books to anyone looking at developing their personal leadership skills, at all levels.
Below are excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:
1- "The joy and great satisfaction I derived from leadership - working with and teaching others, helping them reach their full potential in contributing to the team's common goals - ultimately surpassed outscoring an opponent, the standings, even championships."
2- "I believe leadership itself is largely learned...Whatever coaching and leadership skills I possess were learned through listening, observation, study, then trial and error along the way."
3- "It's like character and reputation. Reputation is what others perceive you as being, and their opinion may be right or wrong. Character, however, is what you really are, and nobody truly knows that but you. But you are what matters most."
4- "Rules to lead by...Before you can lead others, you must be able to lead yourself...Don't hastily replace the old fashioned with the new fangled...Learn to master the four P's (planning, preparation, practice, and performance...Write down the tasks, initiatives, and actions that each member of your team needs to do to perform at his or her peak level."
5- "...Poise can be a most elusive quality in challenging times...Poise means holding fast to your beliefs and acting in accordance with them, regardless of how bad or good the situation may be. Poise means avoiding pose or pretense, comparing yourself to others, and acting like someone you're not. Poise means having a brave heart in all circumstances."
6- "Good values are like a magnet - they attract good people."
7- "A good leader creates belief - in the leader's philosophy, in the organization in the mission. Creating belief is difficult to do where a vacuum of values exists, where the only thing that matters is the end result, whether it's beating the competition on the court or increasing the profit margins in the books."
8- "...and while all these will make you a good leader, they will not make you a great leader. For that, one additional quality - perhaps the most important of all - is necessary. Although it may sound out of place in the rough-and-tumble context of sports or corporate competition, I believe you must have love in your heart for the people under your leadership...love is so important because it moves you to do the right things in all areas of life, including leadership."
9- "The coach must never forget that he is, first of all, a teacher. He must come (be present), see (diagnose), and conquer (correct). He must continuously be exploring for ways to improve himself in order that he may improve others and welcome every person and everything that maybe helpful to him. As has been said, he must remember, "Others, too, have brains."
10- "In business and other organizations, the "ball" that must be shared is knowledge, experience, information, contacts, new ideas, and much more. All these things must be freely exchanged with others throughout the organization if it is going to succeed - prevail - in these extremely competitive times."
11- "While the specifics may be small, it is no small task. Success, not the devil, is in the details."
12- "I came to the conclusion that when choosing between the carrot and the stick as a motivational tool, the well chosen carrot was almost always more powerful and longer lasting than the stick. In fact, simply withholding a properly selected carrot can become a most forceful punishment and powerful motivator. Its denial creates desire; the carrot becomes a stick."
13- "Make it clear to all that "promotions" depend on mastery of current roles and assignments. Never discourage ambition, but do let people know that they need to keep their eye on the ball in their current jobs. Their time may come, but only if they exercise patience and demonstrate continuous improvement."
14- "Getting off to a good start is important. It sets the tone for your team in many ways - expectations, values, attitude, behavior, rules, and much more. This is especially true with individuals who are new to your organization, but it also applies to the others under your leadership who may need a reminder from time to time of how you epect things to be done."