Leadership Series: Inspiration Behind the Wooden Huddle

John Wooden

If you’re a sports fan, particularly a basketball fan, there’s a good chance you know of John Wooden. Wooden is often considered the greatest basketball coach of all time. His UCLA men’s college basketball teams won 10 national championships in a 12 year span, including 7 in a row between 1967 and 1973. Something that was never done before and likely will never be done again. Despite his unprecedented success as a basketball coach, Wooden is also known his leadership skills. This is why we honor his legacy at Interstates with our Wooden Huddle area.

Little Things Make Big Things Happen

A couple years ago, I read Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization by John Wooden and Steve Jamison. I wholeheartedly recommend you put this on your reading list as it contains many valuable leadership insights. As I read this book, several things stood out to me. Mainly Wooden’s relentless attention to details. For instance, Wooden started the first practice of every year by teaching players how to put on their socks and shoes. That’s right. He showed elite-level basketball players how to put on their socks and shoes.

Wooden’s reasoning was that getting this seemingly simple task wrong, would have a negative impact on how they played basketball. Ultimately, carrying over to many other seemingly “little” things. Wooden believed that focusing on getting the details (day-to-day tasks) right, would ultimately help the team reach their goals. For his basketball teams, that was winning the national championship. Interestingly, this simple concept can have the same impact no matter what our goals are in life. Doing the little things right, each and every day, adds up to success in the long term. As good as long term goals are, you can’t always reach them today. However, what you do today can help you get there. The title of that chapter in the book says it all: Little Things Make Big Things Happen.

Words to Live By

Finally, if you search for information on John Wooden, it’s hard to miss his famous 7-Point Creed. His father gave him this creed when he graduated from elementary school and said, “follow this advice and you’ll do just fine.” There is a lot of wisdom in these words. I encourage you to reflect on these points and strive to incorporate them into your life where possible.

  1. Be true to yourself.
  2. Make each day your masterpiece
  3. Help others.
  4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
  5. Make friendship a fine art.
  6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
  7. Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

John Wooden is a coaching legend. He is regarded as one of, if not the greatest, basketball coach of all time. However, it is the way in which he lead and taught others to lead, that we honor John Wooden’s legacy and leadership at Interstates.


Daren Dieleman, Interstates Director of Project Delivery


Check out our previous Leadership Series posts:

1) Leadership Series: Inspiration Behind the Wythe Room

2) Leadership Series: Inspiration Behind the Lincoln Room

3) Leadership Series: Inspiration Behind the Marshall Room


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