I picked a book out of my library today, written by a successful executive and former basketball player under John Wooden, the GOAT of college basketball coaches. He quoted some of Wooden’s favorite trade secret phrases – he apparently had dozens of them. I think some of them apply very nicely to management today, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19. Here are six of my favorites:
1. The team with the best players almost always wins. If this wasn’t a strong message about team building, I don’t know what is.
2. Be quick, but don’t hurry. A bit challenging to put into practice, but speed without undue haste is pretty easy to understand in terms of any strategy or time-sensitive project.
3. Make your “yes” mean “yes.” To me this means clarity and integrity. Be clear about your position or intent, and then do what you say you will do, without fail. Clear enough?
4. A good leader is first and foremost a teacher. You got there by being good. You built a team of people who are also good, but they don’t know what you know. Fix that wherever you can.
5. The team that makes the most mistakes WINS. This isn’t about screwing up a lot and stumbling across the finish line; it’s about making the mistakes, learning from them, implementing the learning, and getting back in the ring. Entrepreneurs have heard this a hundred times. If you’re going to fail, fail fast, get up and start again with the benefit of the lesson.
6. Surround yourself with strong, opinionated people. If you want your people to agree with you, you’re in the wrong business – any business. Unless you know everything, listen to your team. Said differently, listen to your team.
If you think this post wasn’t really about Finance, I respectfully disagree. It’s very much about Finance. And Administration. And Sales, Marketing, Operations, and R&D. It’s about building and guiding the best team you can find to do the best job they can do – for you and for your company. We are Your CFO for Rent.