John Wooden's Pyramid of Success greg bustin executive leadership blog

John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success

March 31st, 2015  | 

Published in Leadership

The Final Four is approaching and even though UCLA was defeated in the Sweet 16 round, it’s appropriate to recall former UCLA coach John Wooden’s thoughts on leadership. The school’s iconic basketball coach helped UCLA win 10 NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including an unprecedented seven championships in a row.

Wooden believed his primary job with his student-athletes was as a teacher.

His views on life, sportsmanship and success were shaped by his father who said, “Don’t worry about being better than somebody else, but never cease trying to be the best you can be.”

As a young coach, Wooden began writing down his views about success and, more importantly, how to achieve it. Over the next 15 years, Wooden shaped his ideas into his famous “Pyramid of Success.”

Here are seven of my favorite John Wooden gems on leadership, self-improvement and success:

➢ “The best way to improve the team is to improve yourself.”

➢ “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

➢ “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

➢ “Goals achieved with little effort are seldom worthwhile or lasting.”

➢ “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

➢ “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

➢ “Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”

If you’re a leader in your organization, it means you’re also a coach. How’s your team doing under your leadership?

About the Author: Greg Bustin advises leaders of some of the world’s most admired companies, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He’s facilitated more than 200 strategic planning sessions, and he’s delivered more than 500 keynotes and workshops on five continents. His fifth leadership book—How Leaders Decide: A Timeless Guide to Making Tough Choices—examines 52 of history’s greatest triumphs and tragedies and debuted in April as the #1 new historical reference book on Amazon.

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