Coach Wooden’s Leadership Game Plan for Success: 12 Lessons for Extraordinary Performance and Personal Excellence

Coach Wooden’s Leadership Game Plan for Success: 12 Lessons for Extraordinary Performance and Personal Excellence by John Wooden and Steve Jamison, offers a hands-on approach to accomplishing and sustaining success. The book presents an interactive opportunity revealing the character-based and value-oriented leadership of John Wooden as the greatest coach who lead the twentieth-century teams in legendary victory. The book incorporates his philosophy of getting the best in every team as enshrined in his trademark lessons as a basketball coach. Coach Wooden believed that though most leaders would define winning as the accomplishment of supremacy over competitors, he emphasizes that the highest level of success remains the by-product of appropriate leadership.

Coach Wooden’s Leadership Game Plan for Success offers a practical guide on how he brought forth his own potential and that of his teams by striving to accomplish the uppermost competency levels. The text illuminates the silvery stride in Wooden’s accomplishment in the competitive arena as a steady goal of getting the utmost return from the human potential. It emphasizes that although the composition of the talent in the team would vary from one season to another, the human nature never changes. The book captures the personal philosophy that constitutes the basis of John Wooden life both on and off his professional basketball edge. The initial section of the book illustrates the essential attachment to his family, personal ethics and values he found essential to the philosophy. Here, the text describes the background that yielded the foundation of values incorporated in latter sections of the book. He reveals that exercising a value-based approach has not only contributed to his basketball accomplishment, but also the success he celebrates as a happily married man.

The setting of the Wooden assumes a diverse environ from John’s birthplace at Hall to Martinsville regions of Indiana, where the latter helped him learn most of the twelve lessons. The setting incorporates the Men’s Gymnasium Building and Pauley Pavilion as the venues where the basketball team practiced. Additionally, John schooled at Purdue University and UCLA, where he spent the coaching career and accumulated ten championship titles. He reveals the University of Minnesota, where he declined a coaching offer as well as Carnival where he would meet Nellie, his wife.

The book reveals an appealing platform to the reader both in substance and style. Initially, the story is predominantly written in the first person. The book is rich in events by capturing moments where John remembered things in the past tense, and occasions when he talks about the contemporary aspects of life in the present tense. Equally, the future tense is utilized in revealing John’s thought about events that will come to pass. It offers a real interaction with the reader, especially when John boldly names and writes about both coaches and players on the extreme sides of behavior. This actualizes his compass of core values, namely ethics and attitude engrained in a positive character rather than the reputation that often reflect what other individuals define one’s personality.

The next section of the book emphasizes John wooden’s approach to sustaining success despite facing fierce competition. The plot reveals the necessity of embracing appropriate preparation and how one can succeed by giving all that one owns as an input to the goals one sets. For instance, Wooden prioritized a principled life guided by the values and virtues captured in the book and relays how they made him better every day. Additionally, he interprets his understanding of achievements and disappointments. Here, he responds to the conclusion that losing matches never translates to failures provided one made the optimal use of available information in reaching the final decisions. Emphasizing that a detailed-approach matter in seeking success, it depicts this book as a responding to the great interest and acceptance of his earlier publication, Wooden on Leadership. In this light, the section extends his common-sense approach in leadership to the larger corporate audience beyond the sport’s platform.

The subsequent section reflects Wooden’s belief in the role modeling through a detailed discussion of his coaching and teaching period. It sets the clear role of parenting, by acknowledging Wooden’s parents influence in giving up playing for New York Celtics and embracing a low-paying teaching placement. This exhibits his value for mentoring and identifying with positive role modeling to the immediate colleagues. In particular, he prefers motivating to punishment to create self-consciousness in attaining the set goals. Similar to Wooden take on his father’s words and deeds shared by his mentors through creative applications, it mandates every reader to replicate this teaching body. For example, Wooden appreciates the endless contribution of his father and Shidler his former teacher in his pyramid of success.

The final section of the book describes wooden pyramid of success, primarily how he spent his fourteen years developing. He acknowledges that many individuals such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar found the pyramid corny, though later found the truth as it influenced their everyday lives. At this point, Wooden gives emphasis to the unique levels in the pyramid and how each is formed in faith and patience later turning out the mortar holding the entire pyramid together. Wooden’s offers a convincing tool applicable in the office place by disbelieving that material possessions measure one’s success, but rather acknowledge them as potential indicators. This transpires in his interpretation that acknowledges success in failure provided one remains at peace trying harder to the best of their abilities. The book whose excerpts offers real evaluation and introspection at an individual level, increasingly revers an application outside the sports’ environ. For this reason, the character-based theme captured in the book leaves a masterpiece not limited to age, but written to target a diverse audience for all time.

The substance of the text derives a compass of ethical principles and attitude as the core of nurturing strong character-based leadership. Essentially, it navigates Wooden’s father golden rule that everything one does presents a choice one has to make, thus mandates the make that defines one at the end. This instruction sets the frame of reference that John would embrace throughout his life. Furthermore, the two sets of three requiring one to avoid complain, making excuses, and whining offers a straightforward advice and simple to abide. The caution against external comparisons nurtures John control over external rating by freeing himself from competitive scorecards and becoming the only judge of his success through self-satisfaction. The text captures an interwoven system of nurturing both value-based and character-oriented leadership by illuminating Wooden’s father seven-point creed and set of threes navigation. The positivism revealed in his leadership philosophy reflects the productive principles of the compass shared by his father as the navigation tool he utilized throughout his life.

As I yearn to accomplish the wholesome development and illuminate such beyond this learning institution, the book sets me along the evolution of leadership of an author living the details he taught. It confirms that though ability could get me to the top, I require character to retain the pole position. However, it demands becoming a good follower prior to becoming a good leader as it shares the foundation of wooden success as the mentoring sessions. The book assumes a typical platform in demonstrating that there exist no big things as only accumulating little things translates to accomplishing unmatched success. This allows the reader scale the fifteen-quality pyramid of success in a soft, but constructive self-evaluation channel that gradually conveys the wooden philosophy in the mind at ease.

While the book is written along the leadership values and personal behavior during his professional career, the consistent four-decade success offers a tribute to for those seeking to navigate the contemporary hyper-competitive environment. Reading the building blocks of Coach Wooden success takes one through a learning platform that reveals that one and no one else controls the course to accomplish success. It leaves a motivate urge in the reader that you possess it within your grasp and own power, but mandates one to derive the total effort. Finally, the compass checks enable the reader realize that though others will judge ones accomplished through their self-created comparison metric, the bottom line lies upon resisting them impose their ideas to one’s philosophy.

Unethical Dismissal

Assuming part-time assignments to capture raw data existing in questionnaires can be overwhelming to data entry clerk at the amateur level. The undertaking often mandating employees to work harder in the piece-rate compensation scheme, turned us into workaholic young men following upon completing our high school grades. It turned out the more we would spend our leisure time in the office, the higher the income. Unfortunately, this led the amateurs to carry some work to their home.

On this occasion, Jack my neighborhood friend found it prudent to commit his evenings in doing this task from his room. On the fateful day, he picked more leaflets that he vowed to complete by morning. Unknowingly, the heavy downpour caused the electric poles to collapse thus creating a power blackout in the entire environment. This implied that he could not in any way deliver in the morning as he had said to the director as he left the office that evening.

In a Tuesday morning as we approached the office, we could only estimate the damage caused in the entire region owing to the power loss. Since the staff from the power and lighting company was yet to restore the poles, we had to use the stand-by generator for the better part of the day. At the time that the director arrived, slightly after midday, he demanded all to forward their completed tasks by 1300hrs. There is no way that Jack could beat this deadline that initiated a confrontation with the director who cited the former’s laxity. He would not listen to the cause of the delay as he kicked Jack out of the office. Despite most of us intervening to explain that Jack did not have access to a secondary source of power, it barely saved his part-time job. Later in the day, I learn of Jack’s dismissal alongside my colleagues who defended their delay citing the power interruption. Besides, they were denied their full compensation as their earnings were slashed as penalties for the loss they had caused in the uncompleted work.

As such dismissal became a norm in the office place, it revealed the difficulty that the director had in listening to employee’s claims. He often lacked knowledge of issues demanding human nature in their evaluation, thus illustrating his unethical dismissal and cuts on earnings.


  • Wooden, J., & Jamison, S. (2009). Coach Wooden’s Leadership Game Plan for Success: 12 Lessons for Extraordinary Performance and Personal Excellence . New York: McGraw Hill .
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