Super Cities №158 — John Wooden’s Twelve Lessons in Leadership

Brendan Hart

One Big Thing

John Wooden is the most successful coach in college basketball history


The Wizard of Westwood coached UCLA men’s basketball for nearly thirty years.

Between 1964–1975, Wooden’s team won ten national championships, including seven in a row. For context, no other team in college basketball history has won more than four titles in a row.

Wooden had twelve lessons in leadership:

  • Good values attract good people
  • Love is the most powerful four letter word
  • Call yourself a teacher
  • Emotion is the enemy
  • It takes 10 hands to make a basket
  • Little things make big things happen
  • Make each day your masterpiece
  • The carrot is mightier than a stick
  • Make greatness attainable by all
  • Seek significant change
  • Don’t look at the scoreboard
  • Adversity is your asset

My favorite lesson is “call yourself a teacher.”

Teaching is a most powerful professional function.

A good teacher can make average people great. A bad teacher can make great people average.

The best organizations in the world are those that, far from waiting for top-down direction, reward teaching in every role, in every department, and through every attitude and action.

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