“Success is peace of mind

which is a direct result of self-satisfaction

in knowing you made the effort to become

the best of which you are capable.”

John Wooden

What does the late John Wooden have to do with this generation’s retailer?  Absolutely nothing.  But consider Wooden’s legacy as both a basketball coach and a mentor.  Wooden was VERY successful at his job, he won 10 NCAA championships at UCLA in only 12 years.  He was also a disciplined leader that knew how to get his players to perform at the best of their abilities.  Although it is true Wooden probably lacked the knowledge and expertise to be a successful business owner, retailers should strongly analyze his success earned through leadership and strict values.


Success stems through strong values and respect for others.  This means leading your employees through example and providing your customers with complete satisfaction.  Wooden preached the following values needed to achieve success:

  1. Industriousness
  2. Friendship
  3. Loyalty
  4. Cooperation
  5. Enthusiasm
  6. Self-control
  7. Alertness
  8. Initiative
  9. Intentness
  10. Skill
  11. Team spirit
  12. Poise
  13. Confidence
  14. Competitive greatness

These traits were embodied by Wooden during his life as a teacher, coach and mentor.  They were the catalyst for his success and should be emulated by anyone in a leadership role striving for success.


Some people are born strong, natural leaders.  These individuals know how to get the best out of their employees, run a successful business and earn customer satisfaction.  Nonetheless, even the greatest leaders fade when they become complacent.  Wooden recognized this fact and applied the 12 following lessons to his daily life to continually grow as a successful leader:

  1. Good values attract good people
  2. Love is the most powerful four-letter word
  3. Call yourself a teacher
  4. Emotion is your enemy
  5. It takes 10 hands to make a basket
  6. Little things make big things happen
  7. Make each day your masterpiece
  8. The carrot is mightier than the stick
  9. Make greatness attainable by all
  10. Seek significant change
  11. Don’t look at the scoreboard
  12. Adversity is your asset

It’s a mistake to believe Wooden’s lessons only apply to basketball coaches or athletes.  As a business owner, your success is dependent upon the ability to lead your employees and please your customers.  Analyze your core values and never become complacent.  The search for personal growth and self-betterment will radiate success that your employees will follow and your customers will benefit from.