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Issue 457 - "We Ego or Me Ego" (Bill Russell Part 2)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 10 Issue 457
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



In Bill Russell's 13 years in the NBA (1956-69) his Boston Celtics won 11 championships. For the last two championships (1968 and 1969) he was the player-coach. Sports Illustrated named him "the greatest team player in history."
In 2001 Russell with David Falkner, published a fantastic book on leadership, Russell Rules. In his book Coach, Russell defines the difference between a "We Ego" and a "Me Ego":
"In 1999, I was asked to speak to the Celtics team, which, at that point, was on a nine-game losing streak and were not playing well as a unit. I began by telling them that despite that so much had been written about me being the most unselfish player, I was the most egotistical player they would ever meet.
All kinds of nervous smiles were coming back at me from people who were not sure what was coming next. These smiles disappeared when I said, "Do you know the difference between your ego and mine? My ego is not a personal ego, it's a team ego. My ego demands—for myself—the success of my team. My personal achievement became my team achievement.
These talented young players all looked at me with strange expressions on their faces. I could almost read their minds. Here was Bill Russell, the guy with eleven championship rings on his ten fingers, telling them that the only thing that mattered to him was how his team did. But that's exactly what I was saying."
 Coach Wooden only recruited people he felt could ultimately become team (We Ego) players.He said: "Working with others makes us much more than we could ever become alone."
Individuals can only reach their full potential if the group does well. Being a great salesperson is meaningless if the company goes out of business. Building a "We Ego" team requires humble, transparent leadership and an environment that is collaborative.
As Coach Wooden liked to say: "It's amazing how much can be accomplished if no one is concerned with who gets the credit."
Including yourself, who on your team has a "Me Ego"? Who has a "We Ego"?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise



Old Mister Laughter

Old Mister Laughter
Comes a-grinnin' down the way,
Singin': 'Never mind your troubles,
For they'll surely pass away.'
Singin': 'Now the sun is shinin'
An' there's roses everywhere;
To-morrow will be soon enough
To fret about your care.'

Old Mister Laughter
Comes a-grinnin' at my door,
Singin': 'Don't go after money
When you've got enough and more.'
Singin': 'Laugh with me this mornin'
An' be happy while you may.
What's the use of riches
If they never let you play?'

Old Mister Laughter
Comes a-grinnin' all the time,
Singin' happy songs o' gladness
In a good old-fashioned rhyme.
Singin': 'Keep the smiles a-goin',
Till they write your epitaph,
And don't let fame or fortune
Ever steal away your laugh.'

Edgar Allen Guest (1881-1959)






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