Last year I wrote a Blog called How Great Companies Deal with Economic Asteroids and included important concepts from Great by Choice by Jim Collins and Morten Hansen. The one question I had after reading the book was, “do we know what our success formula is?” And, recently, another colleague raised the same question after finishing the book.
In the book Collins and Hansen found that all great companies that thrived during chaos had their own success formulas. The authors suggested we refer to our success formula as the acronym SMaC. SMaC stands for “Specific, Methodical and Consistent.” They encourage us to add SMaC to our regular business vocabulary because we can use it as just a noun or as an adjective (a SMaC system) or as a verb (“Let’s SMaC this project”). In Part 2 of this Blog post, I’ll write about the steps they recommend a company follow to develop a SMaC.
But first, since it soon will be time for the NCAA Basketball Tournament, let’s look at one of the greatest success formulas of all time.
John Wooden was the head coach of the UCLA men’s basketball team from 1948 to 1975 and he holds the record for winning the most national championships with 10. Most notably, he won them all in a span of 11 years from 1964 to 1975. To do that he had to have a success formula and he called it the “Pyramid of Success.”
The Pyramid of Success
Wooden worked with his players from their very first day and used 15 building blocks to help his players achieve greatness. He taught each player what behavior they needed to exhibit in each block in order to move up the Pyramid. Here are the 15 building blocks from base level 1 up to greatness and how Coach Wooden suggests organizational leaders apply his Pyramid concepts.
1. Industriousness – There is no substitute for work. Worthwhile things come from real work.
2. Friendship – Strive to build a team filled with camaraderie and respect: comrades-in-arms.
3. Loyalty – Be true to yourself. Be true to those you lead.
4. Cooperation – Have utmost concern for what’s right rather than who’s right.
5. Enthusiasm – Your energy, enjoyment, drive and dedication will stimulate and greatly inspire others.
6. Self-Control – Control of your organization begins with control of yourself. Be disciplined.
7. Alertness – Constantly be aware and observing. Always seek to improve yourself and the team.
8. Initiative – Make a decision! Failure to act is often the biggest failure of all.
9. Intentness – Stay the course. When thwarted try again; harder; smarter. Persevere relentlessly.
10. Condition – Ability may get you to the top, but character keeps you there – mental, moral, and physical.
11. Skill – What a leader learns after you’ve learned it all counts most of all.
12. Team Spirit – The star of the team is the team. “We” supersedes “me.”
13. Poise – Be yourself. Don’t be thrown off by events whether good or bad.
14. Confidence – The strongest steel is well-founded self-belief. It is earned, not given.
15. Competitive Greatness – Perform at your best when your best is required. Your best is required each day.
Certainly Wooden applied this success formula very effectively and used it to develop each player. Even today his greatest players – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton – refer back to and regularly use the lessons Wooden taught them.
As you watch the NCAA Tournament this year, I hope you will reflect back on these lessons from Coach Wooden. In Part 2, I’ll write about how organizations can develop their own SMaC success formulas.