Leadership Secrets from Coach K

In the vast world of leadership literature I’ve never understood why people flock to just a handful of people for their secrets (think Jack Welch). I learned in this piece on Coach K in last Sunday’s NYT Mag, the legendary Duke basketball coach, that he gets paid $50k a pop for speeches to corporate executives. If you read the article, you’ll get a sense of his leadership principles, and it’ll be yet another reminder that there is no such thing as a novel take on leadership. Coach K does have an emphasis – relationship building or empathy, aka the feminine side of the art. But an emphasis is about as differentiated as you get.

The only stuff on leadership I will read expecting to learn something new is if it’s from the discipline of science, where breakthroughs in understanding biology are opening new windows. Otherwise, it’s mostly management gurus spinning Peter Drucker’s brain in a new way. Constant reminders are helpful, but let’s not kid ourselves that Coach K or anyone else has discovered some original secret sauce.

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