The Wooden's Wisdom Logo

Motivate Your Team! Cheer Up A Friend! Inspire Yourself!

Issue 238 - Pursuing Perfection

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 5 Issue 238
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



In his book Wooden, with Steve Jamison, Coach Wooden described his approach to the pursuit of perfection with his players:
Perfection is what you are striving for, but perfection is an impossibility. However, striving for perfection is not an impossibility. That was my challenge to them: how close can we get to perfect? When individuals are sincerely motivated to take up that challenge, the results are astonishing.
The players were charged with trying to improve a little each day, trying to get closer to becoming their best.
For Coach Wooden, the pursuit of perfection: began with attention to, and perfection of, details. Details. Details. Develop a love for details. They usually accompany success.
The first step to pursue perfection is to identify all controllable static details and perfect them. Coach perfected the detailed process of putting on your shoes and socks to prevent getting blisters. He could not control whether or not a player would sprain an ankle but he could control whether or not he got a blister.
In business, there are events that are unanticipated and beyond our control. There are also minor details which we can perfect and control. When we perfect the controllable minor details we are in a much better position to handle the unanticipated events when they occur.
A customer service agent can do a much better job of working with an irate customer if business records are properly filed, easily accessible and the details of previous transactions are complete and easy to understand.
Pursuing the perfection of a complex process is best accomplished by applying the whole, part, whole method. Step one is to take the big process and break down all the individual processes that are involved. In step two, we perfect each of the individual processes by attention to detail and repetition. The final step is to bring the individual processes together and properly execute them.
Coach Wooden would show the team a new play in its entirety. The coaching staff would then work individually with the guards, forwards and centers to perfect their individual roles. Once that was accomplished the team would be brought back together to properly execute the play.
Pursuing perfection in customer service requires that we breakdown the individual scenarios that most often occur and provide the staff with specific individual instructions on the best way to work with the customer in each of them.
Simply giving an instruction to: treat our customers the way we would like to be treated ourselves is not pursuing perfection.
In any endeavor, the pursuit of perfection requires attention to detail. Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon put it this way: You have to be patient, you have to work at it and you have to obsess over the smallest of details. Bill Gates and John Wooden would provide us with exactly the same advice.
What are the details you need to conquer in your pursuit of perfection?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




Watch Video

Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry


Some Favorite Thoughts from Coach Wooden’s Library


  If you can hold up your head and admit that you were in the wrong, then a wrong deed can benefit you. For to admit a wrong will not only increase the respect of those around you, it will increase your own self-respect.

Dale Carnegie

When conscience discovers nothing wrong, what is there to be uneasy about, what is there to fear?


I believe that I shall never be old enough to speak without embarrassment when I have nothing to say.

Abraham Lincoln

To look fearlessly upon life; to accept the laws of nature, not with meek resignation, but as her sons, who dare to search and question; to have peace and confidence within our souls–these are the beliefs that make for happiness.








For more information visit




Enter a list of email addresses, separated by spaces, to send this issue to.

Email a Friend

Return to Issue List

Our Services
Why Wooden's Wisdom
Presentation Team
Wooden's Wisdom Leaders
Leadership Resource Center
Member Login

© Copyright 2024 | # of Times Wooden's Wisdom Issues Opened: 6,882,972

Hosting & Design