Never Mistake Activity for Achievement—John Wooden

There are mixed opinions about whether effort should be rewarded, or if it should be limited to results only.

We too have varying thoughts. There are goals and initiatives that need to be attained by individuals, teams, and entire organizations. (That’s how we survive and thrive). As a leader, how do you feel when you see colleagues/direct reports committed to doing everything they can to achieve results, but are unsuccessful? Do you acknowledge their contributions even when success is not achieved?

Below are excerpts from Craig Impelman’s perspectives published in SUCCESS magazine, based on John Wooden’s achievement model:

1. Proper Execution of the Plan
A daily practice plan should be prepared and followed. If you fail to follow the program on one thing, it may affect others. If you planned poorly, make the corrections for the following day . . .

2. Attention to Detail
The coach should be on the floor early to make certain that everything is ready for practice. I like to have a checklist for the managers to go by, but the coach must make sure. Anticipate from past experience and be prepared.

3. Maximize use of time.
Even though a particular drill may be emphasizing one specific fundamental, other fundamentals in use should not be overlooked.

4. Post-Practice Analysis
I like to sit down with my assistants immediately after practice and briefly analyze and discuss the practice of that day.

This was written for basketball, but it also applies to business:

  • Create a plan (or goals) and identify all steps required (and possible roadblocks
  • As leaders, we don’t need to execute the plan, but we need to clearly communicate the desired results and timeframes
  • Remain focused and understand and incorporate dependencies and under-lying needs/skills
  • Conduct a debrief after every initiative/deliverable. What worked well, what didn’t, and what could you do differently next time?

Not everything is a success, nor does everything go as planned despite all of our efforts and critical contributions. So, back to the original question “Do you acknowledge contributions even when success is not achieved?”

Let us know!

Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence. –Colin Powell