Basketball Coach John Wooden was a role model on and off the court. His personal integrity, work ethic, standards of excellence and caring for his players are all examples that any organization, business or team should be committed to implementing.
In his book, “Wooden,” the coach shares his experiences and philosophy about life on and off the court — especially focusing on what makes a team successful. He also addresses why teams fail. He says, “No matter how great your product, if your sales department doesn’t produce, you won’t get the results you want. Different departments must all function well for the company to succeed. Different individuals must also function well for the departments to succeed. It takes all doing their best.
“I told players at UCLA that we, as a team, are like a powerful car. Maybe a Bill Walton or Kareem Abdul-Jabar or Michael Jordan is the big engine, but if one wheel is flat, we’re going no place. And if we have brand new tires but the lug nuts are missing, the wheels come off. What good is the powerful engine now? It’s no good at all.
“A lug nut may seem like a little thing, but it’s not. There’s a role that each and every one of us must play. We may aspire to what we consider to be a larger role, or a more important role, but we cannot achieve that until we show that we are able to fulfill the role we are assigned. It’s these little things that make the big things happen. The big engine is not going to work unless the little things are being done properly.”
Coach Wooden reminded his readers that Michael Jordan was with the Chicago Bulls for several years before ever playing in a championship game. He emphasized that everyone on the team had to do their own part well — before they could become a championship team — together.
Every team, whether in athletics or business, must have the right people in the right place on the team, in order to be successful. Healthy teams make sure they acknowledge all their team members, not just the ones who appear to be the super stars, or as Coach Wooden, put it, the big engine. Remember just how important everyone is — lil’ lug nuts n’ all!