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Dean Smith Leadership Principle 1 July 12, 2006

Posted by humairah in Activities, Learning from personalities, Management, Skills Development.

The Reciprocal Law of Loyalty

“If you ever need me, call!”

Thought for the Day: If you are loyal to people, they will be loyal to you.

Game Plan

  • Put people first
  • Accept others unconditionally
  • Care for them over a lifetime
  • Be honest with everyone
  • Have empathy for all
  • Care for people who produce the profit

Team Practice

  • What does loyalty mean to you?
  • How do you demonstrate loyalty in your personal life?
  • How do you demonstrate loyalty @ work?
  • What can your organisation do to foster loyalty among customers, shareholders, and employees?

Coach Smith said, ‘I loved to win, and hated to lose. Yet for years I struggled with something internally. We would play poorly and win, and I’d feel great. We’d play well and lose, and I’d feel terrible. That didn’t make sense to me’.’If two of your children were playing tennis against each other, would you really care who won? Is winning all that important in the scheme of things? No. That’s why I’ve placed compassion above competition. I want to win, but caring for people is much more important to me’.

Putting people first
Everything meaningful in life flows out of relationships. Coach Smith would not let even the dean or chancellor interrupt him when he was in a meeting with one of his players. He made them feel very important. That’s the reciprocal law of loyalty- If you are loyal to people, they will be loyal to you.

Accepting others unconditionally
Coach Smith’s loyalty knew no bounds. He would always make time to talk about anything his colleagues or players had problems with. He’d make people feel great by just lending a listening ear to them. In 1982 Hanners had lost his job, and while talking to Coach Smith, he was in tears. Would any of your staff breakdown and cry when talking about your leadership and loyalty to them? He treated everyone the same, and with unconditional love.Caring for a lifetime:
The loyalty is so strong that people want to repay him. Says Kilgo, host of the Dean Smith show, his loyalty is mesmerising. ‘People want to repay him double. They just don’t want to disappoint him. That goes on long after they leave the university. They still call him to seek council’.Being honest with everyone:
Point out the weaknesses of your followers when they ask for it, and encourage their strengths. Smith constantly reminded his players of what they needed to improve on. “If you ever need me, call!” Would a CEO of a company say this to his people? And 30 years later, David Chadwick would still call him when he needed advice.

Empathy for all
Coach Smith’s primary concern was the success of his people, not his own. His first priority is to serve, not to be served. In the 1950s, Thomas Watson of IBM focussed on developing closeness amongst the workers. He’d regularly host family dinners for all employees and sponsored intramurals. One of his founding principles was respect for the individual. Today, the bottom line has become the highest corporate value.

Putting the principles to work
Don’t talk about your members behind with others. If you have issues with someone, always approach the person directly, and in confidence. Do not point fingers. If you do, you create an environment of mistrust everywhere. Rumours go around everywhere. Set the rules for loyalty to one other early on, and renew them. Go over these principles in the interview process. Initiation of these principles will:

  • Increase staff morale
  • Increase commitment to teamwork and to one another
  • Abate gossip
  • Increase unity, membership and even the budget.

Just how when Mom and Dad are on the same page, the child feels secure and stops complaining. But if things go wrong, he starts acting wrong.

Profits or people?
Coach Smith had an interesting way of ‘downsizing’. If he thought someone wouldn’t play well, he’d not only encourage him to transfer, but ardently help him find another school. He’d always be willing to write a letter and continue receiving notes from Coach Smith. Winston Churcill once said,”The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” There’s no magic solution for how to prioritise profits and people and to keep shareholders happy. Dean Smith coach for 40 years with unparalleled success. The results are legendary. The motivating factor in a company should not be the money, but rather the pride of accomplishing a task and doing it well. J William Marriott Jr. saíd profit to shareholders naturally follows.



1. AARON FRANCE - February 12, 2007


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