Like many other sports books, this contribution to the world of publishing is leadership focused with personal antidotes and stories provided as examples. Phil Jackson was a very successful basketball coach and he uses this book to share his leadership and management wisdom, wisdom he collected in a basketball career defined by winning eleven NBA coaching championships as a coach and two as a player. However, Phil Jackson’s ideas of how to develop a mature NBA basketball team differed from his colleagues. Instead of using standard practices, he introduced new ideas in building team camaraderie and synergy of thought and action.
Peers and critics alike often referred to Phil Jackson as the “Zen Master”. He was known to apply Native American philosophy, Zen meditation, and humanistic psychology in motivating players to achieve and excel. His coaching techniques were unique and the results speak for themselves. His leadership and management style promoted using trust and authenticity to create the ego strength and self-awareness players needed to create and sustain High Performance Teams. Below are his five stage team development steps.
1) Eliminate the collective belief that individualism is what success requires
2) Eliminate the perception that victimization is a natural state of competition
3) Eliminate the “lone warrior” belief that individual achievements lead to team success
4) Instill the belief that the tougher the competitor the bigger the sense of accomplishment
5) Create the belief that the constant pursuit of perfection is a state of evolution in the pursuit of greatness
The first hundred pages of this book explore how leadership development creates and sustains high performance. Selflessness, learning, and persistence provide the behavioral platform for pursuing excellence. Leaders overcome difficult challenges and use the experience of the moment to give birth to greatness. Great coaches inspire leadership and shape the character (soul) of an organization. They don’t focus on winning and losing but create and sustain the thoughts and behaviors needed to constantly pursue perfection. Through this pursuit, greatness evolves and is used for the benefit of all. As you continue reading the book, Jackson and his co-writer provide excellent examples of how his leadership ideas were created by his personal experiences.
Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success ISBN 978-1594205118