BMJ Stone
EZG Manufacturing
Federated Insurance
Fraco USA, Inc.
Hohmann and Barnard, Inc.
Hydro Mobile, Inc.
iQ Power Tools
Kennison Forest Products, Inc.
Mortar Net Solutions
Non-Stop Scaffolding
Pullman Ermator
Southwest Scaffolding
Tradesmen's Software, Inc.
July 28, 2010 6:00 AM CDT

Win One for Coach Wooden

Project leadership lessons from a movie not yet made


A life well lived creates a must-see movie. © Andrewsound95 | Agency:

A life well lived creates a must-see movie. © Andrewsound95 | Agency:
So, turns out that 2010 remains the Year of the Sports Movie, at least for Coach Gary. The best thing about great sports themes is that they almost always have great teaching moments, and most of them apply directly to construction project management and leadership.

Throughout this year, it has been difficult to choose the best story to bring your way, since there are so many movies out there that can really help. But this month was different. We all learned that the greatest coach in modern sports history, John Wooden, had left us. Moreover, he left behind for us his huge legacy.

Coach Wooden had the credentials of a winner: 10 national championships in men’s basketball, and a career coaching record of 664-162 (.804 winning percentage). He knew how to win, even when he didn’t have superstars all of the time.

You see, this Greatest Coach was famous for more than just winning basketball games.He was as famous for his speaking and teaching as anything else. For instance, Coach Wooden gave us these guideposts to life and business:
  • Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do

  • Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be

  • It isn’t what you do, but how you do it

  • Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.
You can see why he was in such high demand as a speaker and author, for coaches, athletes and others outside of sports, even those in construction.

Specific Lessons and Teachings to Implement

Realize you have enough talent and ability, right now, to accomplish great things for your construction company and your career, if you just get a little knowledge to go along with it. Remember, Coach Wooden was not big on experience, but on what can be accomplished with the experience you already have. Said another way, you can lead your team even if you are a rookie; you don’t need to be some kind of a grizzled, old veteran. Never discount experience, because it is always good to have some, but don’t want to shy away from opportunity, either.
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
– Winston Churchill
How do you put this to work today? Realize that bad stuff, surprising things, and unfortunate obstacles are all a part of our industry, and usually stand in the way of making a decent profit. For you, your career and your company to succeed and thrive, you need to take them in stride. Take them head-on, just like your coaches show you.

Sports, life, business, construction: They all demand leadership. It takes vision. It takes a plan, and coaches always have a plan.

Coach Gary’s Corner

Coach Gary is offering you, without cost, The Plan for 2010 – something you can post on your wall, like a play out of a playbook. Plus, get your free, five-part report on getting paid for changes on your project. Go to, and click on the link below the arrows. Masonry readers get The Plan and this report for free, along with free video tips from Coach Gary. Go there now.

About the Author

Gary Micheloni is a working project manager, speaker, author, consultant and coach. He has severals years of industry experience, including a background as a licensed general engineering contractor. For further information and insight on the Full Contact Project Management approach, write Coach Gary at


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