“A Passion To Lead” by Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun is a book that I picked up this past year during the season with the thought that I’d read it over a couple of weeks while we were playing and traveling but I started reading it on a bus trip and stayed up through the night because I couldn’t put it down. Here are some of Coach Calhoun’s thoughts on various subjects:
Concentrate on the Basics
To BE PRODUCTIVE in life, to make progress toward a goal, you have to perceive every hour of every day as important.
How to do that? In a word, structure.
President Abraham Lincoln, who said before his election: “I will get ready, and then perhaps my chance will come.”
Everything is precisely scripted t boost our productivity. It’s all about being efficient and accomplishing as much as we can in a short period of time. There is no wasted time, no standing around. It’s nothing more than an athletic “to do” list.
Responsibility and Trust
A great way to build character in young people in their formative years.
Some of the players want me to help them get into the NBA. That’s fine-so long as they come to understand that they won’t get their without a helluva lot of hard work, dedication, intelligence and passion.
Bootstraps and Basketball
Accountability is a big deal with me.
The one thing our teams usually have is swagger, but that’s hard to have when almost everybody is wet behind the ears. We suffered through a lot of growing pains last year. It was the price we paid for having zero returning starters. I am not a patient man, but we were in a rebuilding mode, and I knew going into the season we’d play some ugly games. Still, I took responsibility for our losses, and so did the players. When we lose, everybody associated with the team takes the hit, and we all vow to work harder and do better the next time. That’s the way you develop trust and get better.
Accept things you can’t change, change the things you can-and have the wisdom to know the difference.
I think that tone of the things that separates good leaders from lesser ones is this: attention to detail.
Strong leaders never leave work undone, and never assume that important tasks will get done.
They make sure that the organization’s ducks are in a row every day.
Success is in the details.
Hands on Leadership
Of all the challenges managing a major college basketball program, the biggest may be keeping the kids away from bad characters.
Over the years we’ve developed a “Connecticut way”. Boiled down, it means that I want our values as a program to be passed along from player to player, from team to team. I tell the freshmen: “We’ve had a lot of great players come through here over the years. Most have won Big East Conference titles. Some have won national titles. Many of them are playing in the NBA and having great careers. All of them followed my rules, which start with staying out of trouble and going to class. If my rules were good enough for Richard Hamilton, now with the Detroit Piston, and Ray Allen of the Seattle Supersonics and Emeka Okafor of the Charlotte Bobcats, and hundreds of others, they are good enough for you.” They get the message.