Episode #6: Wooden on Leadership by John Wooden

Podcast notes:

  • Hey there, this is Matt Clark and welcome to the “100 Books a Year” podcast.
  • In this episode we’re going to cover the book called “Wooden on Leadership” by the late John Wooden.
  • John Wooden was a famous college basketball coach that coached the UCLA basketball team to 10 championships in a 12-year period, including 7 in a row.
  • No team has ever won more than 2 in a row.
  • Even though John Wooden stopped coaching over 40 years ago, tons of current professional sports coaches and top CEO’s and managers read his books to learn how we was so successful at winning.
  • Very unique style of leadership:
      • Principles first
      • Didn’t come to him overnight (coached UCLA for over 16 years before their first championship)
      • His success, I believe, was part persistence, part developing a system, and great principles
      • For example, he started each season teaching his players (now 18-21 year old adults) how to put on their socks
      • Stressed punctuality
      • Stressed treating people well (picking up locker room, not cursing, etc.)
      • Stressed putting team before individual (Kareem Abdul Jabar could have been top college scorer)
      • One of the most powerful concepts that he lived and lead his teams by is to put all your focus on the PROCESS, not on the RESULTS:
          • He never talked about winning or the competition
          • He wanted his players to put all their focus into being the best THEY could be, not worrying about other people
          • He broke his team’s practice sessions down into minute-by-minute schedules and carried them around on 3×5 index cards during practice
          • You can see 1-5 minute chunks on the schedule
          • Constant movement and constant focus on getting better
      • Defined success as doing the best an an individual could do – giving it all you have – if you can honestly say that, then you’re successful, regardless of what the record shows
      • Said, “The best way to achieve your goals is to forget about them.”
      • Too often think about distant goals and don’t pay attention to what needs to be done right now to get there – the tons of small details that add up to big outcomes
      • Closing:
        • If you’re a leader in any kind of organization – or want to be – I highly recommend you check out John Wooden’s books
        • This has been another episode of “100 Books a Year” – thanks for listening!
        • Will leave you with a quote from this book, “Make today your masterpiece.”
        • See you next time!

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