June 24, 2014

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Article

Coach Bob Knight Shares Secrets of Winning in Business

Rachel Madison

June 24, 2014


Former NCAA basketball coach Bob Knight, who is one of just a handful of college basketball coaches who has more than 800 career victories, used stories from his decades of coaching as examples for winning in business during Utah Business’ and Hero Partners’ inaugural Rocky Mountain Leadership Conference last week.

Hundreds of business leaders and entrepreneurs attended the day-long conference to listen to more than a dozen speakers, both locally and nationally known, talk about how to successfully lead, innovate, transform and win with their companies. Knight’s keynote speech focused on the secrets of winning in business.

“For almost all of us, in whatever it is we do, winning is important,” Knight said. “First of all, the guy in charge has to be in charge. He can’t be wishy-washy or have to ask other people’s opinions. You’ve got to be ready for everything. That’s an important part of winning. Everybody wants to win, but not everybody is willing to pay the price that winning takes. That’s something you have to deal with. Just the idea of winning isn’t good enough.”

Knight continued on to say he is a great believer in self-reliance and counting on yourself. He said it’s important for people to think about what they have to do to get better at their jobs and if they don’t know, then they should find out.

“[As a leader,] you’ve also got to figure out what your team can do and what it can’t do,” he said. “Talk to players about what they can do and what they can’t do. Work with them. In dealing with people, there are a lot of delicacies involved when you’re trying to win.”

Another key to winning is observation, said Knight, adding that people who are observant are ahead of others in both business and life.

“I always wanted players to observe and see what was going on,” he said. “In whatever form of business you are involved with, teaching players to be observant is a very important thing.”

Knight also spoke about his last game/next game theory, which is the idea that people get a little overconfident when they win, making it hard for them to win when the next game, or project, comes along.

“When you’ve won, that’s the time to be most ready for the next game,” he said. “When someone has a really good win, there’s a good chance that on the next Saturday, that team will lose to an inferior team because they didn’t get away from the victory quick enough. I wanted our players to enjoy the victory for a day, but then start concentrating on our next game.”

Overall, Knight said when it comes to winning, there are many basic, simple facets.

“Before every [home] game, I would tell my players this: ‘Remember, we’re playing at home. Pass to the white shirts,’” he said. “There isn’t anything that can be overlooked. There isn’t anything that will happen on its own. Things are going to happen, good or bad, because people make them happen. You can be responsible for winning or losing.”

Other speakers at the Rocky Mountain Leadership conference included Carine Clark, president and CEO of Allegiance; Lawrence Coburn, CEO and co-founder of Double Dutch; and Harvey Mackay, best-selling author and entrepreneur.

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