Leadership #9, Make Greatness Attainable by All - Bottom of the Ninth #147

Bottom of the 9th - Make Greatness Attainable by All

TED talk: Grit...the key to success?

"Make Greatness Attainable by All" John Wooden's Leadership Lesson #9 by Keith Wahl

John Wooden wrote 12 Leadership Lessons that enhance our understandings of leadership and success. These 12 lessons will be the focus of Bottom of the Ninth for 12 weeks.

(Two videos this week...one at the top and one at the bottom!)

This is an area where Wooden was clearly ahead of his time. While I'm sure Coach Wooden valued things like grit, hard work, and growth, the science didn't exist at his time. Today, we have the ability to back up these hunches with modern science.

The idea of making greatness attainable by all might require us to suspend some preconceived notions. This idea goes for sports, work, and family. We need to attempt to give everyone involved on a team with an opportunity to make contributions that help the team. It's up to the leader to go to great lengths to educate each person on the importance of his or her role on the team. Whether it is the superstar who brings obvious value or the role player who needs to see his value to the collective a little differently, the leader must constantly tell his or her team how much he values every member.

Couple those thoughts with the videos about Grit and Growth Mindset, and I lead you to my current "crisis" - if we desire to develop grit in ourselves and others, and believe we can all grow according the growth mindset theory, why do we cut people from sports programs? I respect that players could and should be placed according to their ability levels, but cutting people feels like something else entirely. If we want to be a part of every player's growth, should we think deeply about whether or not we cut kids from sports?

As I've been praying through this, the best spiritual parallel I can think of is Christ's parable of the Prodigal Son. Should we consider an approach to players that looks much more like the loving father instead of the older brother from the parable? Should we embrace the potential growth in all players like a loving father would instead of standing back in judgment like the older brother does?

I coach high school baseball, not Major League Baseball. I have soft roster guidelines, not hard roster limits. The NFL Network aired a marathon of Hard Knocks this weekend and I watched Bill O'Brien cut players from the Houston Texans. That's not me. That's not my job. My job at this level, as I'm beginning to see it, is to make greatness attainable by all.

Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve (Growth Mindset)