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.