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Issue 388 - "The Right People" (Pete Newell Part Ten)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 9 Issue 388
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



John Wooden and Pete Newell had tremendous respect for each other. Coach Wooden once announced to a gathering at a John Wooden Award luncheon: "You know, if Pete Newell hadn't retired, this award might be is his name, not mine." Coach Newell and Coach Wooden had very different styles from a basketball perspective, but they also had much in common. They both were great teachers of fundamentals, masters of having extremely well-conditioned teams and absolutely knew who "The Right People" were for their teams.
In the book A Good Man the Pete Newell Story, by Bruce Jenkins, Coach Wooden talked about how great Pete Newell was picking and utilizing "The Right People" for his system:
"I would say that there has never been a coach more difficult to beat if you let him hand-pick his material. It might not be the material I'd pick, but it would be great for Pete. Darrall Imhoff (Cal's All-American center), for example, isn't a guy you'd figure to carry you, but he was great for Pete. I consider Pete to be one of the truly great coaches because his teams were so fundamentally sound. I think he taught things well. Very well!! You don't have to say anything else. And I think that playing against Pete made me a better coach."
Whether its basketball or business, successful leaders know exactly the type of people they want on their team. John Wooden wanted quickness with as much size as possible but only if he was confident the individual could be a team player. Bear Bryant wanted quickness but only if the individual was extremely tough mentally and physically. Bill Marriot wanted great customer service at his hotels, so he only hired "nice people". John Shields, the former CEO of Trader Joe's, grew annual sales from 132 million to more than 2 billion dollars in twelve years by staffing his stores with fun, enthusiastic people. Shields once commented that when he interviewed somebody for retail, he wouldn't hire them if they didn't smile within 30 seconds.
Coach Newell's teams were legendary for their toughness, team work and defense. In A Good Man the Pete Newell Story, Coach Newell described his recruiting approach to get "The Right People" for his teams:
"So often the star player I'd go to see, he'd have talent and all that, but he was a self-centered guy. Wouldn't play both ends of the court. Wouldn't play unless he had the ball in his hands. That really turned me off. I'm not going to get a guy like that and try to change him. I'm not that optimistic about changing some¬body who's been one way for 18 years. That's not my responsibility as a coach. I'm not a social worker or a psychiatrist, I was more interested in kids who wanted to go to Cal. And I guess I had enough confidence in my ability to teach."
Different leaders want different types of people for their teams. One great player can't make a team great but one bad player can ruin a team.
Do you have "The Right People" for your team?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise



Our Little Needs

A little more of loving, a little less of pain,
A little more of sunshine, a little less of rain;
A little more of friendship, a little less of strife—
These are what we 're wanting to make the perfect life.

A little more of laughter and fewer, fewer sighs,
A little more of twinkling, than sorrow in our eyes;
A little more forbearance, a little less of hate,
A little more of patience, less quarreling with Fate.

A little more of kindness, a little less severe,
A little more of sweetness, a little less austere,
A little more of honor and less of business greed,
See, brother, see how little it is we really need!

A little more of silence and less of hasty speech,
A little more of practice and less desire to preach;
A little more of smiling, with fewer drooping chins,
A little more of virtues, with fewer petty sins.

A little more of praising, a little less of blame,
More thought for all our loved ones and less for future fame;
A little more of doing than talking of the deed,
See, brother, see how little it is we really need.

Edgar Allen Guest (1881-1959)






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