Coach John Wooden: Inspiration for ad agency new business


When you are responsible for agency new business, it’s easy to get down and out. You are in need of a good dose of inspiration periodically. I hope this post will provide you with a spark and also honor one of the greatest human beings of our time.

This post is written in honor of John Wooden, who died in Los Angeles on June 4 at age 99, he was the greatest collegiate basketball coach of all time. His UCLA Bruins won a record 10 NCAA national championships and their 88-game winning streak is the longest in major collegiate basketball history. He  was the first person ever to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player (1961) and a coach (1973).

His favorite part of coaching was leading the practice sessions in which he taught the fundamentals that were the foundation of his success. His practices at UCLA by teaching his players the proper way to put on their socks and lace their shoes. He said,  “It’s the little things that make the big things happen.”

Coach Wooden was more than a basketball coach, he was a life coach and always more pleased by his players’ success in life than on the basketball court. There’s much we can learn from him. Here are some of his quotes that relate well for ad agency new business:

  • “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”
  • “Never mistake activity for achievement.”
  • “Winning takes talent; to repeat takes character.”
  • “I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.”
  • “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”
  • “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
  • “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
  • It isn’t what you do, but how you do it.”
  • “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
  • “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
  • “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

“John was a better coach at 55 than he was at 50,” Hall of Fame basketball coach Pete Newell said in 1989. “He was a better coach at 60 than at 55. He’s a true example of a man who learned from day one to day last.”

In the midst of the Great Recession and communication revolution that are greatly impacting ad agency new business,  I hope his words will be an inspiration, don’t be afraid of change, keep on learning and remember that it is the little things that make big things happen.

I highly recommend: Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success: Building Blocks For a Better Life


About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.

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