Phil Jackson coached the Chicago Bulls basketball team to one of the longest winning streaks in professional sports. In his book, Sacred Hoops, he describes his approach to coaching a group of acknowledged stars. He clearly understands that simply collecting a set of outstanding players does not a championship team make. One way of understanding his approach is to think of every problem or project having components in four different spheres: 1.
Mental, logical, scientific, technical
Systems or how the parts all connect and interact
Emotional, feelings, intuition
Ethical, spiritual and issues of being.
(Aristotle identified three of these so we call this view of problems Aristotle's Insight. Email us if you'd like a handout on this.) Phil Jackson assumes his players have the technical and techniques (Element1) down pretty well. He emphasizes the spiritual or being issues in developing the best from his team. This is fascinating to hear Jackson a seven foot plus former pro player himself coaching other magnificent physical specimens in the finer points of connecting with a larger sense of being. Decades ago another championship basketball coach, Red Auerback, wrote a similar piece on teamwork for the Harvard Business Review. He did not as openly describe the spiritual components as Jackson, but it is the same message. Both coaches understood that the individuals on the team must transform their view of themselves and their connection to others to truly create the synergy of team work. Both coaches intimate that after the basic technique is in place, the point of greatest leverage is at the being level. In fact, small gains here are often leveraged into huge gains in the systems, feelings and technique level. Advice from Phil Jackson, coach of the Chicago Bulls, as well as a former player for the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets. Jackson begins the book with Michael Jordan's return to the Bulls, and goes on to discuss his own life, growing up...
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