Every once in a while we come across a book that grabs our attention and this is one. Coach Mike Krzyzewski, renowned head coach for Duke University men’s basketball, has written a book, Leading With the Heart: Coach K’s Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business and Life. In it he highlights timeless principles which have proven to be his keys to success, on and off the court. Brian Dodd recaps Coach K’s five keys of effective teamwork below:

  1. Communication – Effective communication, in Duke’s environment, is displayed through talk. He notes organizations are less effective when people are not talking while performing their jobs. Effective communication/talk is accomplished through repetition.  Repetition breeds confidence. Shared confidence is better than personal confidence.
  2. Trust – The foundation of effective leadership is trust. Coach K focuses on telling the truth and telling it as soon as possible. Many leaders struggle with confrontation. He defines confrontation as simply “meeting the truth head on.”
  3. Collective Responsibility – To be a great team, there is no finger-pointing or playing the blame-game. We win together. We lose together.
  4. Caring – This shows up most in how we use our time. If you care about your employees, teammates, or family, this is demonstrated by how much time you spend with them.
  5. Pride – Coach K says, “Everything we do has our own personal signature on it. So we want to do it as well as we possibly can.” He also adds, “When everyone on our team believes that our own personal signature is on everything our team does – then we have a chance to be a great basketball team.”

These principles represent high-level leadership with true integrity and character, and can be applied just about where in life.

Well done, Coach K.