[email protected] 4 : The Wizard of Westwood : John Wooden

When I first set out to be an entrepreneur I avoided most business books and gurus choosing instead to study the best coaches in professional and collegiate sports.    I have always been fascinated by the idea that business is a team sport and is really a series of small games anyway. As I begin to study these coaches it didn’t take long to learn about a gentleman considered by many to be the greatest NCAA basketball head coach of all time  . . .

This week's Honorary Groove Enhancer is the legendary :   

UCLA Basketball coach John Wooden.  

He led the Bruins basketball program to a phenomenal record 664-162 record, and was named NCAA College Basketball Coach of the Year six times. 

Nicknamed the "Wizard of Westwood," (a name apparently he was not a fan of) he won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period as head coach at UCLA, including a record seven in a row. 

The ability to coach world class athletes is as much of an art as it is a science. Coach Woodens’ physical game on the court was impressive, but I think it was his mental and spiritual leadership that were the keys to his success and that of his players. 

“If there’s anything you could point out where I was a little different, it was the fact that I never mentioned winning.” 

Even harder to imagine that Wooden signed a three-year contract for $6,000 a year in 1948. He never made more than $35,000 a year salary including 1975, the year he won his 10th national championship, and never asked for a raise.

He had such great compassion for his team and was deeply committed to their growth as men and the leadership roles they were preparing for in the future.  

“What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player. . . 

“Promise yourself you will talk health, happiness, and prosperity as often as possible. Promise to think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best in yourself and others. Promise to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements in the future.”

Wooden boiled down his success philosophy to a simple list of eight rules that he called “Eight Suggestions for Succeeding.”

1-  Fear no opponent. RESPECT every opponent.

2-  Remember, it’s the perfections of the smallest details that make big things happen.

3-  Keep in mind that hustle makes up for many a mistake.

4-  Be more interested in character than reputation.

5-  Be quick, but don’t hurry.

6-  Understand that the harder you work, the more luck you will have.

7-  Know that valid self-analysis is crucial for improvement.

8-  Remember that there is no substitute for hard work and careful planning. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

I believe that is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to continually invest in your teams best interest and future.  Coach Wooden was not focused on building championship teams, he was focused on building championship lives.  

The Groove Enhancers Leadership Academy was created to train future leaders in the foundations, responsibilities and values of a healthy business.  John Wooden was the epitome of the type leadership we want to see encouraged around the world regardless of age, gender, title, rank we are all capable of leading wherever we are right now. 

John Wooden passed away a few short months away from his 100th birthday the impact and the legacy he left behind will last for hundreds more.

To get a more complete look at the heart of this great man check out this short video of  Love Letters from Coach Wooden here  > > > YouTube video.

In one of his most famous quotes he believed that “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

May you be wildly successful in all of your future adventures!


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