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

Issue 316 - Clear Thinking (Phil Jackson)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 6 Issue 316
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Phil Jackson’s teams won 11 NBA titles, surpassing the previous record of nine set by Red Auerbach. He also won two championships as a player with the New York Knicks and holds the NBA record for the most combined championships (13).
Jackson defined the competence of a team by using what he learned from the book Tribal Leadership, by management consultants Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright, in which they defined the five stages of tribal development which they formulated after conducting extensive research on small to midsize organizations.
STAGE 1—Teammates try to undermine each other, feel alienated and have a general attitude that "life stinks".
STAGE 2—Teammates see themselves as apathetic victims and feel separate from each other. General attitude is that "my life stinks".
STAGE 3—Teammates are focused primarily on individual achievement. General attitude is that "I’m great".
STAGE 4—Teammates have a behavior of tribal pride and stable partnerships. General attitude is that "We’re great".
STAGE 5—This stage is pure leadership, vision and inspiration. Total focus is on the team getting the best results and competing with a sense of joy. General attitude is that "Life is great".
Jackson felt he needed to get a team to Stage 4 for a championship and that his 1995-98 Chicago Bulls reached stage 5.
In Eleven Rings he described his Stage 5 Bulls this way:
"It wasn’t competition per se that was driving the team; it was simply the joy of the game itself. This dance was ours, and the only team that could compete against us was ourselves."
In Eleven Rings, Coach Jackson described what he learned from the Buddha, which is called the Noble Eightfold Path to clearly define the desired behaviors of his team members:
1. RIGHT VIEW - looking at the game as a whole and working together as a team.
2. RIGHT THINKING - means seeing yourself as part of a system rather than as your own one-man band.
3. RIGHT SPEECH - has two components. One is about talking positively to yourself throughout the game and not getting lost in aimless back talk ("I hate that ref," "I’m going to get back at that guy"). The second is about controlling what you say when you’re talking with others, especially your teammates, and focusing on giving them positive feedback.
4. RIGHT ACTION - suggests making moves that are appropriate to what’s happening on the floor instead of repeatedly showboating or acting in ways that disrupt team harmony.
5. RIGHT LIVELIHOOD - is about having respect for the work you do. Be humble.
6. RIGHT EFFORT - means being unselfish and exerting the right amount of energy to get the job done. If you don’t hustle, you’ll get benched.
7. RIGHT MINDFULNESS - involves coming to every game with a clear understanding of our plan of attack and maintaining constant awareness throughout the game, whether you’re on the floor or on the bench.
8. RIGHT CONCENTRATION - is about staying focused on what you’re doing at any given moment and not obsessing about mistakes you’ve made in the past or bad things that might happen in the future.
Phil Jackson was clear in his philosophy. What’s yours?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise




He drew a circle that shut me out--
Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!


Fight ever on: this earthly stuff
If used God’s way will be enough.
Face to the firing line o friend
Fight out life’s battle to the end.

One soldier, when the fight was red,
Threw down his broken sword and fled.
Another snatched it, won the day,
With what his comrade flung away.


At the heart of the cyclone
tearing the sky
And flinging the clouds
and the towers by
Is a place of central calm;
So here in the roar of mortal things,
I have a place where my spirit sings,
In the hollow of God’s palm.
Edwin Markham (1852 – 1940)






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