Monday, June 7, 2010

John Wooden and success

John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach at UCLA who set the bar for success in any sport, recently passed away.  The pundits and historians will give him his rightful requiem, that's not my place, but his career is a lesson in leadership at all levels. 

Experience - John Wooden was a highly successful coach throughout his career; however, the legendary and unparalleled run of championships came at the end of his career (10 NCAA titles between 1964 and 1975, 4 unbeaten seasons during that string, and a run of 7 titles in a row).  Experience does count.

Execution - John Wooden's teams were about execution, teamwork, and simpatico.  The fundamentals and ruthless preparation were keys to his teams' success.  Wooden's teams concentrated on flawless execution by honing basic skills to near perfection.

Simplicity - There was nothing complex about Wooden's tactics and strategies; they were simple and elegant.  Great execution of a simple plan.

Flexibility -  John Wooden had a famous quote - "Flexibility is the key to stability."  Granted, John Wooden's teams had some amazing talent; however, John Wooden was able to win championships whether he had the star players or not.  He crafted simple game plans around the talent that he currently possessed and adjusted quickly to the evolution of game conditions.