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Issue 272 - Be Clever Not Fancy

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 6 Issue 272
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Be clever, not fancy was an instruction Coach Wooden gave to his players. When a player engages in showmanship he is being fancy. Coach was quite direct regarding his feelings on showmanship:
I detest showmanship. I didn't permit showmanship and I don't like it at all.
In his book Wooden on Leadership, with Steve Jamison, Coach expounded on this topic:
No one player should take credit for the effort of all the others. That is the primary reason I strongly discouraged individuality—showboating or flamboyance—in the context of team play.
Showing off or doing something contrived to gain attention for oneself not only demeans that individual, it is dismissive of the effort made by all of the other team members.
A player who is thumping his chest after he makes a basket is acknowledging the wrong person.
In one of Coach’s favorite poems, IF, by Rudyard Kipling, a father gives this advice to his son:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
This advice was applying Coach’s idea of be clever, not fancy to everyday life.
Another great application of the idea be clever not fancy is with regard to how we communicate. When we talk to others in a way that is trying to demonstrate how much we know, as opposed to sharing information, it is verbal showboating and not effective.
The sales manager who tells the story about one of his great sales accomplishments to communicate an effective sales technique is showboating, and the information will not be well received.
I never heard, nor do I think you could find anybody who ever heard John Wooden tell a story about one of his accomplishments. If you asked him a question, he simply gave you an answer without talking about himself. He was always clever, but never fancy.
The next time you make a presentation or share information ask yourself: am I trying to show how much I know or just trying to be effective in getting my point across? Be interested; don't try to be interesting.
As Jim Rohn said: The more you know the less you need to say.

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




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Application Exercise



Doors of Daring

The mountains that enfold the vale
With walls of granite, steep and high,
Invite the fearless foot to scale
Their stairway toward the sky.

The restless, deep, dividing sea
That flows and foams from shore to shore,
Calls to its sunburned chivalry,
"Push out, set sail, explore!"

And all the bars at which we fret,
That seem to prison and control,
Are but the doors of daring, set
Ajar before the soul.

Say not, "Too poor," but freely give;
Sigh not, "Too weak," but boldly try,
You never can begin to live
Until you dare to die.

Henry Van Dyke






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