This newsletter was originally sent to you in 2009. This reissue is a tribute to John Wooden, the best teacher of personal and team leadership in sports, business and life. He passed away last weekend.

Leveraging Team Assets Effectively, Thanks to Coach Wooden

“Success is the peace of mind which is the direct result of self satisfaction in knowing that you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable,” John Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood.

As we all leverage our team assets during this recession, and as the Wizard has left us with such an amazing legacy, I knew it would be valuable to share his exceptional tips about fully developing a team.

As you know, Wooden won 10 NCAA championships in 12 years at UCLA, including 88 straight college games. He was renowned for his leadership and his skills as a “teacher” coach long before Lakers Coach, Phil Jackson.

These tips about team development are from The Essential Wooden, A Lifetime of Lessons on Leaders and Leadership, a book Wooden co-authored with his protégé, Steve Jamison. Jamison is a preeminent authority on Coach Wooden’s leadership, philosophy and methodology.

  1. Be thinking at all times.
  2. If you do your best, never lose your temper, and never be out-thought or out-hustled, you will have nothing to worry about.
  3. Without faith and courage, you are lost.
  4. Have respect for, without fear of, every opponent and confidence, without cockiness, in regard to yourself.
  5. Never be a spectator, be in the fight at all times.
  6. Unselfish team play and team spirit are two of the foremost essentials for our success.
  7. We have tough battles ahead. Enjoy the thrill of being in a hard fight.
  8. Never stoop to playing dirty — play hard and don’t complain.
  9. Be sure you acknowledge and give credit to a teammate who hits you with a scoring pass or for any fine play he may make.
  10. Be a competitor. When the going gets tough, really get going.

No wonder he was so successful AND respected AND loved. His advice was always concise, compelling, coherent and clear, and definitely motivational and will stand the test of time. Learn more at