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It's Madness!

As March Madness is upon us one of our unlikely but highly beloved local universities has been invited to ‘The Dance’! Duquesne University, beloved because my wife and daughter are both graduates of their renowned School of Pharmacy. So, although the RPh designation is revered in our family, and these are two of the most intelligent and accomplished women you will ever meet, their strong connections to their alma mater is palpable, including connections to the now retired Dean Dr. Doug Bricker, such a great mentor and friend.

After a 47 year absence, Duquesne is going into March Madness as an #11 seed playing Brigham Young. My wife was a Duquesne Cheerleader back in those days, although for some curious reason there aren’t many photos to prove it (hmm???). Both this current team of athletes and the dedication and commitment of my wife and daughter to medicine remind me of a set of values penned and led by the legendary coach John Wooden, UCLA’s basketball coach representing ten (10) National Championships.

Wooden's Pyramid of Success is a blueprint for achieving not only team success but transfers to one’s personal achievement. At its core are a set of values and principles he believed were essential for reaching one's full potential. Those core values are:

  1. Industriousness: Emphasizes the importance of hard work, dedication, and diligence in all endeavors.

  2. Enthusiasm: Encourages maintaining a positive attitude and passion for what you do.

  3. Friendship: Stresses the value of building strong relationships based on mutual respect, trust, and camaraderie.

  4. Loyalty: Promotes unwavering commitment and allegiance to teammates, colleagues, and principles.

  5. Cooperation: Highlights the significance of teamwork, collaboration, and unity in achieving common goals.

  6. Self-control: Advocates for discipline, restraint, and the ability to manage emotions and impulses effectively.

  7. Alertness: Encourages awareness, attentiveness, and readiness to seize opportunities and address challenges.

  8. Initiative: Emphasizes the importance of taking proactive steps, being resourceful, and showing leadership.

  9. Intentness: Focuses on maintaining unwavering determination, persistence, and resilience in the pursuit of goals.

  10. Condition: Stresses the necessity of physical fitness, mental preparedness, and overall well-being.

  11. Skill: Highlights the importance of continuous learning, improvement, and mastery of one's craft.

  12. Team Spirit: Encourages a selfless attitude, putting the team's success above individual recognition.

  13. Poise: Advocates for maintaining composure, confidence, and grace under pressure.

  14. Confidence: Stresses belief in oneself, one's abilities, and the team's capabilities.

  15. Competitive Greatness: Reflects the ultimate goal of striving for excellence, pushing oneself to be the best, and embracing challenges as opportunities for growth.

These values form the foundation of Wooden's coaching philosophy and have been widely adopted in various fields beyond sports as principles for personal and professional success. Often cited as a framework for achieving individual and corporate success here's why they are considered effective:

  1. Timeless Wisdom: They are grounded in timeless wisdom and fundamental values that are universally applicable. They emphasize virtues such as hard work, integrity, and teamwork, which are essential for success including corporate settings.

  2. Focus on Character Development: The Pyramid of Success prioritizes the development of character traits such as industriousness, enthusiasm, friendship, loyalty, and cooperation. These qualities are not only valuable for personal growth but also contribute to creating a positive organizational culture.

  3. Emphasis on Preparation and Process: They emphasize the importance of preparation and focusing on the process rather than solely on outcomes. This mindset encourages individuals and organizations to set meaningful goals, work diligently toward them, and continuously improve along the way.

  4. Building Strong Teams: They highlight the significance of teamwork and recognizing that individual success is often intertwined with collective achievement. In corporate settings, fostering a culture of collaboration and mutual support can lead to increased productivity, innovation, and overall success.

  5. Adaptability and Resilience: They encourage adaptability and resilience in the face of challenges and setbacks. This mindset is crucial in corporate environments where change is constant, and the ability to navigate adversity with grace and determination is essential for long-term success.

  6. Focus on Continuous Improvement: This emphasizes the importance of continuous learning and improvement. In corporate settings, individuals and organizations that prioritize ongoing growth and development are better positioned to adapt to changing market conditions, innovate, and maintain a competitive edge.

  7. Clear Communication: Effective communication fosters trust, alignment, and mutual understanding within teams and organizations, which are vital for achieving common goals and driving success.

By embodying these principles, individuals and organizations can cultivate the mindset and behaviors necessary to thrive in today's dynamic and competitive world. Perhaps it would be worth dusting off these tried-and-true principles as part of your leadership development series or an upcoming executive retreat. Corporations don’t run themselves, the people within them do. It’s why at this time in this world -- People Matter Most!

Let the dance begin . . .

Dave Baker

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