Wooden on Leadership

Woodenon Leadership

Woodenon Leadership

Wooden’sPyramid of success was developed by John Wooden, who was an Americanbasketball coach and player. The purpose of developing this model wasto identify and compile all aspects that determine one’s success(Guerin Marketing Services, 2016). The pyramid was completed in theyear 1948, and it has remained relevant to-date. This paper willprovide the analysis of the Wooden’s Pyramid.

Wooden’sPyramid in today’s business environment

Althoughthe pyramid was developed in the late 1940s, it has implications inthe organization that operate in the 21stcentury. The Marathon Petroleum, which is a company based in Ohio, isone of the modern organizations that reflect the elements of theWooden’s pyramid. This is confirmed by three factors. First, thecompany believes in the spirit of teamwork. According to Wooden, teamspirit is guided by the willingness of each member to sacrifice theirpersonal interests for the sake of the welfare of others (GMS, 2016).Team building resulted in Marathon Petroleum being ranked an employerof choice in the year 2015 (Heminger, 2016). The second example isthe aspect of initiative, which involves the ability to think aloneand make brave choices. Marathon Petroleum was the first organizationin the Ohio region to adopt the “Supplier Diversity” initiative,which allowed the company to source materials and services fromdifferent firms without the fear of a decline in the level of quality(Heminger, 2016). Lastly, all the aforementioned measures (includingteam building and supplier diversity initiative) were taken toachieve a competitive greatness, which is expected to be the ultimategoal of every organization that believes in Wooden’s pyramid.

Typifyinga personal leadership style

Ibelieve my leadership style is transformative. A transformativeleader works with subordinates to determine the need for the changeand engage in the process of bringing the required transformation(Feldmann, 2012). This idea is supported by the element ofcooperation in Wooden’s pyramid. In addition, I consider mytemperament to be phlegmatic, which has helped me become reasonable,tolerant, and patient (Feldmann, 2012). According to Wooden’spyramid, a competitive greatness is achieved through faith andpatience and the two are the key features of my temperament. In termsof the thinking style, I have always been open to change and flexibleenough to reason with others. This is in line with the Wooden’sthemes of alertness, cooperation, and friendship. I expect to be thebest in everything I do, which consistent with the theme ofcompetitive greatness. Moreover, my leadership philosophy is guidedby the idea of empowering others and engaging all the stakeholders,irrespective of their job ranks. Similarly, Wooden believed thatcultivating friendship, harnessing the team spirit for theconsideration of others, and facilitating cooperation in order toallow the participation of all workers are indicators of success(GMS, 2016). Therefore, my leadership has a lot of similarities withthe Wooden’s pyramid.

Analysisof Wooden’s pyramid

Iagree with 24 out of the 25 aspects included in Wooden’s pyramid.Wooden included the core values that an individual should have, evenbefore one can start thinking about success. These core valuesinclude integrity, sincerity, honesty, reliability, self-control, andloyalty. I agree with this set of elements because they determineone’s behavior and personality (Feldmann, 2012).

Inaddition, I agree with aspects of patience, faith, condition, fight,confidence, enthusiasm, and ambition because they are allmotivational in nature. This set of aspects indicates that themotivation is significant when one aims to achieve a competitivegreatness. Although the aspect of the condition seems to touch onpersonal issues (such as feeding habits and physical exercise), theability to strike a work-life balance is a key component of success(Lazar, 2010).

Moreover,I agree with the aspects of alertness, adaptability, intentness, andinitiative because they seek to help people screen their environmentand exploit opportunities that are available. For example, anindividual who is alert will be able to discover opportunities andtake an initiative to exploit them. However, having the necessaryresources, skills, and being industrious are key aspects that lead togreatness, since they help people exploit opportunities available intheir environment (Lazar, 2010).

Additionally,friendship, team spirit, and cooperation, are important aspects thathelp people work with others who have can make the necessarycontribution towards the achievement of the competitive greatness.

However,I disagree with the aspect of “poise”, where Wooden held thatpeople should remain at ease and never fight themselves. It would beunreasonable to tell a business leader to remain at ease during aserious financial crisis, which makes the aspect of “poise” anunnecessary element of success.


Inthe new model, poise was eliminated because it is not convincing forit to be considered as a significant aspects of success, especiallyduring crisis. The aspects of integrity, sincerity, honesty,reliability, self-control, and loyalty were placed at the base of thepyramid because they influence one’s personality and character,which is the fast determinant of success. The aspects of alertness,adaptability, intentness, and initiative were ranked the secondbecause they focus on helping an individual evaluate the environment,identify opportunities as well as challenges, and take initiatives toexploit them. After identifying opportunities one should determinewhether the necessary skills, resources, and industriousness areavailable before starting the process of exploiting them. The aspectsof faith, fighting spirit, confidence, ambition, condition,enthusiasm, and patients were ranked the fourth because they indicatethe presence of the necessary motivation and a focus that one needsin order to be successful. Friendship, spirit of teamwork, andcooperation were placed in the fifth level since motivated membersneed to work together, use the available resources, and exploit theopportunities provided by their environment. The aspect ofcompetitive greatness was placed at the top of the pyramid to signifythat it is the measure of the success of a given team.


Competitive greatness

igure 1: New pyramid of success



Team spirit





















Strategyfor adapting to a project related crisis using the newly designedmodel

Theteam members should use a six-step strategy to adapt to a crisisrelated project as shown below

Step1: This will involve an evaluation of the core values that guidepersonality and character of each member. Some values that should beconsidered include integrity, sincerity, honesty, reliability,self-control, and loyalty.

Step2: Team members should be able to evaluate their business environmentwith a lot of alertness, adapt to it, identify opportunities, takeinitiatives, and set realistic goals that will help them takeadvantage of the opportunities.

Step3: Team member should then determine whether they have the necessaryskills, resources, and industriousness that they need to adapt to theproject and take advantage of the opportunities in their environment.

Step4: Team members should then look for factors (such as faith, fightingspirit, confidence, ambition, condition, enthusiasm, and patients)that will motivate them to adapt to the project, exploitopportunities, and address emerging challenges.

Step5: The members should take measures that will help them work as ateam. They should seek to cooperate, adopt the team spirit, andharness friendship.

Step6: Competitiveness greatness should be the measure of the success ofthe team. Team members should assess their progress and determinewhether they managed to enjoy the challenging moments and achievegreatness in a competitive environment.


TheWooden’s pyramid is a significant tool that can guide peopletowards success in any business environment. It brings together allaspects that people need to assess their environment, identifyopportunities, and exploit them. Most importantly, the pyramid isrelevant in the modern business environment, irrespective of the factthat it was established in the 1940s.


GuerinMarketing Services (2016). Wooden’sPyramid of Success.Temecula, CA: Guerin Marketing Services.

Feldmann,B. (2012). Behavioralprofile of an effective German leader of a global health company.Enschede: University of Twente.

Heminger,R. (2016). Supplierdiversity.Findlay, OH: Marathon Petroleum Corporation.

Lazar,I. (2010). The role of work-life balance practices in order toimprove organizational performance. EuropeanResearch Studies,13 (1), 201-214.