• Duke’s Krzyzewski Shows Leaders How to Lead

    Posted: October 31st, 2013

    The major public threads of Mike Krzyzewski’s life – basketball, leadership, service to country – intersected briefly near the midpoint of Practice Number 20 for the 2013-14 Duke Blue Devils.

    Krzyzewski strode the Cameron Indoor Stadium court the other day in a Duke blue shirt and black pants while players swirled through drills defined on a handwritten practice plan by purpose and time span. Assistant coaches Jeff Capel and Steve Wojciechowski pointed and barked; near the end of practice they would direct units wearing blue jersey tops (reserves) and white (starters) in a 12-minute scrimmage.

    About the time this year’s ACC favorites engaged in a “5-on-0” drill, as described on the practice schedule, a contingent of approximately 50 outsiders slipped through portals covered by tarps declaring “Practice Closed” and filed into a specified section of the otherwise-empty arena.

    The visitors were present by invitation, about half from Duke and half associated with the 2013 Leadership Summit at the Coach K Leadership & Ethics Center at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

    The summit group was made up of chief executives from a variety of entities. “Invitees represent those at the top of their industries who also care deeply about societal impact and leveraging their power and influence for the greater good,” according to promotional material about the summit. “Rethinking the Paradigm of Control” was the theme for this year’s annual event.

    “Krzyzewski is so brilliant at leadership,” Sanyin Siang, executive director of the Coach K Leadership and Ethics Center, had said in a telephone interview. In keeping with the educational opportunity, some CEOs watched practice intently. Others chattered incessantly with a neighbor. As most everywhere in American society, a few attendees took the opportunity to give their cell phones a digital workout.

    A smattering of young military men sat behind the civilians in the upper deck above the scorer’s table and team benches. From that vantage point the array of banners hanging from the rafters across the way – permanently celebrating retired jerseys and championships won – strongly resembled a collection of stationary, rectangular clouds.

    The seating apparently was restricted to one area by design. Much as Dean Smith did at Tar Heel practices during his 36-year tenure as head coach at Chapel Hill, Krzyzewski kept his back to the outsiders as he addressed his team.

    Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/10/31/3330089/jacobs-krzyzewski-shows-leaders.html#storylink=cpy


Belief can mean the difference between a fear of failure and the courage to try. On a team or in a family, belief makes each individual stronger and also fortifies the group as a whole. The basis of belief is in individual relationships.

- Coach K

Adversity can teach you more about yourself than any success, and overcoming an obstacle can sometimes feel even better than achieving an easy victory. Through adversity, you can discover things about your endurance, your ability to turn a negative into a positive, and your personal strength of heart.

- Coach K

When you care about someone or something, you show genuine concern for that person or thing, in good times or bad. When you care about one another and about your purpose, you are compelled to put your feelings into action. Care creates an atmosphere that breeds success and gives you the confidence to try again.

- Coach K

When you are winning, your commitment is never challenged. But loyalty and dedication during difficult times can be tough. When commitment doesn’t waver, that’s when you have the greatest chance of winning. You can never give up.

- Coach K

Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication. Communication does not always occur naturally, and must be taught and practiced in order to bring everyone together as one. The most crucial element of communicating is telling the truth.

- Coach K

No matter how successful you believe yourself to be, you can never feel as if you’ve reached the absolute pinnacle. There are always new and wonderful challenges out there, and part of maintaining success is knowing when you need to accept them.

- Coach K

You have to adapt what you do based on who you are. In teaching, you must remember that no group or individual is the same as who you taught the day before, the year before, or the decade before. Your plan has to suit who you and your team are right now.

- Coach K
Collective Responsibility

We win and we lose together. Handling the responsibility for wins and losses together removes the burden from one individual’s shoulders and distributes it among each member of the team. That atmosphere is conducive to high-level performance and places you and your team in the position to be bold and unafraid, and if you should lose, you are not alone.

- Coach K

You can possess countless good qualities as an individual, but if you don”t have the courage to proceed, you may never see those qualities come into fruition. It takes courage to put what you believe to be best of you on the line, to test it, and to see how far it takes you. Courage means daring to do what you imagine.

- Coach K

Take care not to allow one aspect of your life to so consume you that you neglect the others. Balance can put things in perspective, can bring you joy even when you are down, and can allow you to be at your best in all aspects of your life.

- Coach K
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