Coach K's Leadership Advice

By: Dena DiVincenzo

Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski talked with our company today…sort of.  Several members of the Waupaca Sand & Solutions team was fortunate to attend a leadership conference that Krzyzewski spoke at.

What did the four-time NCAA champion and two-time Olympic champion teach us?

Coach K shared his experience with coaching 2012 US Olympic men’s basketball team.  He was tasked with molding a group of individual NBA superstars including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Carmello Anthony, into a super team. 

As the leader of that squad, Coach K decided that the US Olympic team should not have any rules.  He believes that rules are externally applied…but standards are internally owned.  In lieu of rules, Coach K allowed the team to create the team's standards.  The team owned their agreed-upon standards and followed them out of respect for each other.

One example of the standards they set, was a commitment to play defense.  In the team’s first practice, Kobe Bryant, uncharacteristically, never took a shot.  Instead, he focused his practice time on the defensive end of the floor.  What an outstanding example set by the team’s on-court leader.  The US Olympic team’s commitment to their standards enabled them to meet goal of winning a gold medal in London 2012.

We were privileged to hear Coach Krzyzewski speak.  It was a great reminder to work hard to uphold the standards we set for ourselves and our company.

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