The Final Four

As the last remnants of winter fight to hold on, it is inevitable that the hope of spring will soon prevail. It's in March that flowers begin to reappear, major league baseball players head to Florida and Arizona to prepare, and in the middle of all that is March Madness.

The NCAA basketball playoffs will captivate our attention with stories of inspiration, upset, heartache and triumph. Out of 337 NCAA division one teams, 68 teams will be chosen to participate in this annual event. At Integrus, our filter is always to draw out leadership lessons that can help you grow your organization.

What is it that keeps teams like Duke, Kentucky, or North Carolina returning to this tournament year after year? A better question is what allows them to play deep into the tournament year after year, many times competing and winning the national championship?

It's one thing to build a team or organization that can win, but what does it take to build one that can win it all? Before Duke or any of the current national powerhouses, came the legendary coach John Wooden and his UCLA Bruins along with their 11 national titles.

There are 3 things we can learn from his playbook on leadership:


Coach Wooden's teams were well coached in practice. There was no situation they would face in a game that they had not seen many times in practice. His attention to detail was well documented. He taught the game. His thorough preparation created clarity for his players. That clarity created confidence. That confidence allowed them to risk and initiate, to play unhindered.

"When opportunity comes, it's too late to prepare."

"A leader must have initiative, the courage to make decisions, and the willingness to risk failure."

"You must earn the right to be confident, the kind of confidence that comes from proper preparation."


Coach Wooden was detail oriented and took full responsibility for the outcome of a season. He made it clear that no matter what skill level his team had, it was his job to maximize that talent.

"Whether your team has talent to spare or is spare on talent, a leader’s goal remains the same; namely, you must bring forth the best from those with whom you work."

"Don't let what you can't do keep you from doing what you can do."

"Minor details, like pennies, add up. A good banker isn’t careless with pennies; a good leader isn’t careless with details."


Coach Wooden knew how to build the right relationships and he taught his team how to build those relationships as well. He also made sure his players knew talent was never enough. He knew all the planning and preparation needed a solid foundation of care and commitment to sustain the ups and downs of a long season.

"A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player."

"A strong team of field horses pulling in different directions will go nowhere."

"For maximum team accomplishment, each individual must prepare himself to the best of his ability and then put his talent to work for the team. This must be done unselfishly, without thought of personal glory. When no one worries about who will receive the credit, far more can be accomplished in any group activity."

In the next few weeks, our coach and leader, Lyle Wells will be sharing with you a free e-book, THE 3 REASONS ORGANIZATIONS FAIL. Lyle will share what happens when you fail to take responsibility for your behaviors, don't take appropriate risks and fail to build right relationships, along with clear direction on how to avoid these pitfalls.

We encourage you to download this free gift as well as share it with others as you continue to grow and be effective in leadership and impact.

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