In the NCAA Tournament, every player must lay his heart on the court for his team to have a shot at making it to the championship. Each team trains relentlessly to acquire the athleticism, endurance, communication and teamwork skills required to take home the trophy, but no team can achieve this without the strong leadership of its coaches.
The head coaches leading the teams in the upcoming Final Four games — Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils, Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans, John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats and Bo Ryan of the Wisconsin Badgers — each know what it takes to lead a team through high-stress, highly competitive circumstances. Their strategies for selecting, developing, challenging and motivating players through high-stakes games resonate with those of healthcare leaders guiding their systems through a period of complex change.
The following quotes on leadership and teamwork come from the Final Four coaches.
Duke Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski. Mr. Krzyzewski, or Coach K, serves as the U.S. men's national basketball team's head coach in addition to his duties at Duke. This year marks his 29th season leading the Blue Devils. During his tenure, Coach K has been named National Coach of the Year 12 times. In 2001, he was named America's Best Coach by Time magazine and CNN, and that same year he was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
"Communication does not always occur naturally, even among a tight-knit group of individuals. Communication must be taught and practiced in order to bring everyone together as one." — Mr. Krzyzewski
"When you are passionate, you always have your destination in sight and you are not distracted by obstacles. Because you love what you are pursuing, things like rejection and setbacks will not hinder you in your pursuit. You believe that nothing can stop you!" — Mr. Krzyzewski
"During critical periods, a leader is not allowed to feel sorry for himself, to be down, to be angry, or to be weak. Leaders must beat back these emotions." — Mr. Krzyzewski
"Every leader needs to remember that a healthy respect for authority takes time to develop. It's like building trust. You don’t instantly have trust, it has to be earned." — Mr. Krzyzewski