Strategic Communicators can take a page from a championship coach’s book on communication and leadership

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Rick Pitino

So how does the coach of a national champion college basketball

team turned president and coach of one of the most storied pro

basketball franchises in history define a leader? In quite simple

terms, it seems.

Rick Pitino is the only coach in NCAA history to win national championships with two colleges – Louisville in 2013 and Kentucky in 1996. His Louisville title came on the same day he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

In his book, Lead to Succeed, he breaks down leadership into a

10-point game plan:

• Have a concrete vision – in other words, be clear about your

vision for the group’s future.

• Be your own messenger – direct communication is important not

just on major issues, but on the day-to-day matters, as well.

• Build a team ego – it is the difference between mediocrity and

being something special.

• Act with integrity – don’t cut corners or bend rules; it will only

undermine your effort.

• Act decisively – you won’t always be right, but you must be willing

to put your ideas and yourself on the line.

• Be adaptable – you must change, and so must those around you

or everyone gets behind.


• Be consistent – have a strategy for when things go wrong to get

through it quickly without panic.

• Maintain focus – this is a discipline, so you must train yourself at

it, learning from the tough times.

• Live for the future, not in the past – short-term goals to manage

the present, long-term goals for the future.

• Act selflessly – leader leaders are judged by the successes of the

people they lead.

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