Eight is enough if you play as one! What’s the story behind this message?
Last week, I attended the Envestnet conference in Chicago. On Friday, the keynote speaker was Mike Krzyzewski, head basketball coach of the 2015 National Champion Duke Blue Devils and Team USA. To say I had high expectations for his speech is an understatement. He exceeded my expectations by delivering an energized, story filled presentation.
Today, I would like to share some of the main takeaways from his talk that I know will prove useful to you as you pursue your goals for your business, team, and family.
Coach K, as he is known by everyone, has coached at Duke since 1980. He has led them to an amazing 5 National Championships and 12 Final Fours. Averaging over 25 wins a year, he has led his teams to over 1,000 wins. In addition, as head coach, he lead Team USA to 2 gold medals and was an assistant on 2 other gold medal winning teams.
Every year, many teams dream of winning the championship. So, why are Coach K’s teams so successful? Using 5 fingers, he described what the 5 secrets to playing as one are.
You must learn to talk and listen to one another.
This is the cornerstone of every successful team.
3) Collective Responsibility
Each player must be accountable.
Treat people with respect. All his player’s address people by their name and regularly say please and thank you.
The pride of being part of something bigger than you.
No other season illustrated these points better than this year. Four of his eight core players were 18-year-old freshmen. He explained that even though they began the season with ten scholarship players, one transferred and another was dismissed from the team.
As the story goes, one day he walked into the locker room and drew a big 8 on the board. His message was,” 8 is enough”. He then drew an 8 on its side, the infinity symbol, to signify that there were no weak points on the team. He told each team member that everyone is important and you all have a chance to help us win if we play as one. By this point of the season, since they were down to only eight players, they never practiced more than one hour and they had no contact.
Fast forward to the second half of the Championship game vs Wisconsin. It was in this game that he said he experienced the greatest thing that ever happened to him as a coach. With all the success he has enjoyed, that in itself is a strong statement. What was that experience? He shared a highlight reel with us that showed Grayson Allen diving for a loose ball at a critical point in the game when Duke was trailing. What effort! As he got up, Allen turned to the Duke bench, raised his arms and yelled, “Let’s go”. Coach K believes that since each member of the team had earned each others respect, they won because Allen, the 8th man on the team who had averaged only about 8 minutes playing time per game, had the courage to say, “Let’s go” and fire his team up at a critical point in the game.
That’s how close this team had become. They were brothers. They were all together. Eight was enough because they played as one. This moment was a terrific example of one of Coach K’s sayings, ” You can see and you can listen, but you have to have moments in which you feel”. This was one of those memorable moments.
Our second story involves Team USA. As they were preparing for the Olympic Games in Beijing, he called an afternoon meeting for 4 of his key players, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Carmello Anthony and Jason Kidd. He had called them together prior to that evening’s team meeting to talk about the relationship of the team. He wanted them to create their own ownership and feeling for the team. He wanted to get their input on the standards by which the team would conduct themselves all the time. He began by offering the first two.
1) Look each other in the eye when you speak
2) Never lie
His request was for each of them to add one standard. Here is what resulted.
3) Never be late
4) Never have a bad practice
5) If we play defense and rebound, we will beat everyone
6) No excuse, none
These were the standards that this team lived up to. They played as one and of course they won beating Spain for the gold.
As I sat through Coach K’s presentation, I reflected on the immense impact he has had on so many lives. As with all talks like this, how can you apply these lessons and standards he shared to improve your life and the lives of others? This ability to adapt is everything!
Mike Sciortino has more than 30 years of experience in the investment management business. Mike speaks at Conferences and writes often about how advisors can differentiate themselves, grow their practice, and improve their lives through time-tested processes. See all of Mike’s stories for CMG Advisor Central. Connect with Mike on LinkedIn.