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Although this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament final was contended by a perennial favorite Duke the sentimental favorite and first time ever in the finals competitor, was Butler University from Indianapolis, Indiana right where the final was being played. Without a doubt it was one of the best and most exciting final NCAA tournament games ever played. The veteran Duke Blue Devils came out victorious by only two points.
Regardless of the outcome and excitement of this great final game, what was an even more impressive was the way that Butler coach Brad Stevens led his young team on this once in a lifetime sojourn. If you actually watched this contest you may have caught a look at this 33 year old baby faced coach that could have just as easily passed for one of his players he looked so young. As I watched and studied this young challenger he reminded me a great deal of David as he prepared to fight Goliath, the Philistine giant in the Old Testament. He too was very young in age and appearance, quiet and handsome and a warrior.
Well there were two distinct leadership qualities I as well as many thousands of fans saw this young coach exemplify. One was very obvious to the observers and that was his calm, controlled demeanor. That calm, focused example was reflected in each one of his players as well. He had spent hours and hours with these young men drilling basketball technics and strategies into them while all the time, showing the calm, disciplined focus needed to perfect his craft and mentor others. Those young men one day will recall just how important that principle from basketball is in everyday life as we all are constantly facing confusing, scary and challenging circumstances. The ability to hold our thoughts captive, be patient and avoid confusion will help develope a quality decision making mind that will serve them well in years to come.
The other principle I recognized was one that was actually verbalized by his players. When asked what the players thought their coach’s strongest attribute was they responded that “coach always had a plan”. Then they said, “and then he always has a backup plan for that and another backup plan for that”, and everyone knows those plans backwards and forewards when called upon us to use them.
There is simple but great wisdom in understanding the value of a plan and just as importantly, putting the plans into action. There is an old cliche , “If you don’t know where you are going, you will never know when you get there” that explains in plumb dumb simple English the importance of a plan. This principle is just as important to an individual as a leader of many. After all, as an individual you lead yourself! But as a leader, you must have the confidence of the team in order to get the commitment from all participants and ultimately accomplish your goals and succeed.
Just as in a basketball game, you may not always win that particular game but you are developing yourself and improving for the next time. Life is no different. It is a marathon of opportunities in which you train, pace yourself, while all the time you are gaining invaluable experience that will pay dividends to you in the long run. Having a leader who is calm, disciplined, focused and with a definite plan towards success not only creates a favorable environment for success but fulfills one of the great responsibilities of a good leader and that is to be an example for developing future leaders. Mentoring those that have the calling and ability to lead others someday is also a responsibility that a good leader must accept.
These leadership skills are not inherited, they are learned and earned. Don’t accept the lie that you cannot be a good leader and instead continue to compare yourself to those more noted and famous leaders around you convincing yourself you can’t do that. You can become a good leader and you can start by taking these characteristics I have been mentioning above and begin to put them into your every day lifestyle. Start with a game plan for whatever it is you are challenged to accomplish, put a workable plan together to reach your goals. Then calmly but with focus, begin a disciplined attack on that objective. Be sure and have a backup plan in case your timing is off. Lastly, don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid that you won’t use the experience as a learning tool rather than an excuse for trying again.
Kingdom Business Journal and its writers are dedicated to helping you along this pathway and we freely offer our services to assist you as best we can. Remember “the essence of success is not always being number one, but to strive for excellence”.
Blessings….Rich Forster KBJ Publisher