"Coach" at Purdue Coach John Wooden Coach on the sidelines at UCLA game
Wooden Way Leadership

A Business Management Seminar Based on the Leadership Principles of the "Coach of the Century"


Seminar Description

Who Should Attend

A Sampler of Principles

The team with the best players almost always wins

With an underpinning based upon industriousness and team spirit, Coach will tell you that staffing - identifying and selecting talent - is he most fundamental and critical step one will take as a leader.   As he notes, "No one can win without talent; Not everyone can win with it."  

The Coach's approach to recruiting involved keeping a pulse on the "marketplace."  He used multiple sources such as interested alumni, former players, managers, players' parents, and friends to locate and screen potential recruits.  Once identified, he thoroughly investigated each prospect's background through scouting reports, checking with the player's high school coach, surveying coaches against whom the individual had played, and meeting the prospect's parents.  The goal of this inquiry was to not only validate a player's current and potential skill set, but to explore the player's personal character, temperament, motivation, as well as his ability to withstand pressure and adversity.  In addition, with his understanding of the importance of team roles and individual competencies, Coach insisted that prospects had two essential attributes, quickness and team orientation.  He wanted players who not only had talent, but who were "eager to lose oneself for the best of the group." 

During the recruiting process, honesty and candor were paramount as no promises were made to the prospects.  The Coach simply advised them that they would have the opportunity to gain a solid education and to play basketball - in that order.  It would be up to each individual to balance these priorities and to determine their own level of performance, participation and advancement.

When one considers the organizational implications of the Coach's rigor in recruiting, the message is clear: Talent - its identification, recruitment, and integration is critical for organizational success.  In this regard, organizations should be clear in their mission and values statements in order ensure individual "fit" and alignment. As a leader, one needs to likewise keep a pulse on the "marketplace" for talent, know and understand the talent needs of one's business plan, become proficient at assessing and selecting talent, and create a desirable and exciting esprit de corps to engage one's associates.