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Issue 558 - My Favorite Dynamic Duo: Booker T. Washington and John Wooden: "A Culture of Truth" (Booker T. Washington Part Thirty-Eight)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 11 Issue 558
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



In his 1902 book, Character Building, Booker T. Washington made the importance of telling the truth clear to his students:
"You want to have that kind of courage that is going to make you able to speak the truth at all times, no matter what it may seem to cost you. This may, for the time being, seem to make you unpopular. The individual who, at the cost of everything always speaks the truth, is the individual who in the end will be successful.
One of the most beautiful things that I have seen printed about President Theodore Roosevelt was where someone wrote of him that one of the President’s greatest faults was that he did not know when to lie and when to deceive people—but that he always spoke the absolute, frank truth."
Only Presidents Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt are ranked historically ahead of the "Truth Teller" Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt championed his "Square Deal" domestic policies, promising the average citizen fairness, breaking of trusts, regulation of railroads, and pure food and drugs. He prioritized conservation by establishing national parks and forests. In 1906 he won the Nobel Peace Prize. He was one our greatest Presidents in public persuasion because he created "A Culture of Truth."
A "Culture of Truth" is created when everybody on a team, irrespective of their rank, feels they can always be honest about what they are thinking without being fearful of reprimand. The person in charge may disagree with the opinions of others but has the ability, as Coach Wooden liked to say, "Disagree agreeably."
Being punitive or judgmental after the fact with a person who is being honest is not effective. It is not effective to tell people they can’t tell you what’s not working unless they have a way to fix it. Delayed subtle corporate reprimands against people who speak up is a sure way to create a "Culture of Fear," not "A Culture of Truth." Debate should be demanded, not punished.
Coach Wooden was a "Debate Maker." His assistant coaches said: "He was always looking for help, comments and any kind of disagreement." "I was very free to disagree. He encouraged it." "He wanted people who would express their ideas."
John Wooden created a "Culture of Truth, not Fear."
What type of "Culture" do you create?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise



Hard Knocks

I'm not the man to say that failure's sweet,
Nor tell a chap to laugh when things go wrong;
I know it hurts to have to take defeat
An' no one likes to lose before a throng;
It isn't very pleasant not to win
When you have done the very best you could;
But if you're down, get up an' buckle in —
A lickin' often does a fellow good.

I've seen some chaps who never knew their power
Until somebody knocked 'em to the floor;
I've known men who discovered in an hour
A courage they had never shown before.
I've seen 'em rise from failure to the top
By doin' things they hadn't understood
Before the day disaster made 'em drop —
A lickin' often does a fellow good.

Success is not the teacher, wise an' true,
That gruff old failure is, remember that;
She's much too apt to make a fool of you,
Which isn't true of blows that knock you flat.
Hard knocks are painful things an' hard to bear,
An' most of us would dodge 'em if we could;
There's something mighty broadening in care —
A lickin' often does a fellow good.

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)






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