industriousness enthusiasm

5 Lessons to Lead Like John Wooden with Jason Lavin

As heard on the Life as Leadership Podcast, Episode 133, Hosted by Josh Friedeman


Jason Lavin is a coach, speaker, and CEO with more than 25 years of experience enhancing the performance of individuals, teams, and organizations. As president of The John R. Wooden Course and CEO of Golden Communications, Lavin helps organizations—from youth sports teams to Fortune 100 companies—refine their values, mission, and vision. Jason is co-author of Coach 'Em Way Up: 5 Lessons for Leading the John Wooden Way.


  • Most high-performing people can point to that coach or mentor in their life (besides their parents) who showed them they could do something they didn’t think they could do.
  • The five lessons for leading the John Wooden Way:
    1. The quality of your thinking
    2. The example you set
    3. How you teach
    4. How you lead
    5. How you mentor
  • The quality of your thinking is defined by your values—what are you thinking about when you get up every morning?
  • When identifying your own values, use the cornerstones of the Pyramid of Success: Industriousness and Enthusiasm.
  • Winning is a result of your values rather than a value itself.
  • According to Coach Wooden, true success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.
  • If you want a daily masterpiece, it starts by living your values on a daily basis
  • Give immediate feedback when you see a need for improvement. But do it in a way that shows interest in the other person’s development.
  • John Wooden’s definition of leadership: The ability to get individuals to work together for the common good and for the best possible results while at the same time letting them know they did it themselves.


  • What is some lesson, saying, or experience that continues to influence your leadership to this day? Make each day your masterpiece.
  • Use three descriptors to finish this sentence “A leader is…” Empathetic, confident/courageous, and fair.
  • What is a question that leaders should be asking either themselves or others? Can you teach character? (Yes.)
  • What book would you recommend to leaders? Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
  • If you could get every listener to start doing something THIS week to help them be a better leader, what would it be? Take the Pyramid of Success Personal Assessment
  • As a general life principle, is it better to ask “why?” or “why not?” “Why not?” Failing is a good thing.

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