Episode 226: Steve Wojciechowski – How To Win Every Day

Steve Wojciechowski is the head basketball coach at Marquette University. He has has enjoyed a wealth of success in collegiate basketball as both a player and a coach. Wojo has established his “Win Every Day” philosophy as the foundation for the Marquette program. Wojciechowski also served as court coach and scout for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team. He helped lead on-court duties as well as game preparation from 2006-12, including the program’s gold-medal performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. The Olympic teams included NBA greats such as Marquette alumnus Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

As a player, Wojciechowski (“Wojo”) was named the top defensive player in the country his senior year, a two-time All-ACC choice and honorable mention Associated Press All-America. He appeared in 128 career games for the Blue Devils and earned 88 starting assignments.

Episode 226: Steve Wojciechowski – How To Win Every Day

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“My greatest edge was that I didn’t think I had an edge.”

Show Notes:

  • Sustained Excellence. Common Themes of Leaders who Sustain Excellence:
    • Passion – A fire to pursue their “why”
    • Discipline – Daily habits, routines, rituals to be best every day
      • Coach K — Sit down and analyze after every single game to improve
    • Great Learners – Hungry learner. How to do it better?
  • WIN Everyday – daily process to pursue excellence in every way. Basketball is a vehicle for that (for Steve)
  • Develop trust – “Not always done quickly, but definitely done intentionally. Must be consistent, you must do what you say you will do”
  • Wojo’s Dad’s hard hat — It’s hanging up at his house as a reminder of what hard work looks like
    • “The first great team I was on was the Wojciechowski team. My dad was a longshoreman. Did hard work and hard labor.”
  • Going to Jesse Itzler and Sara Blakely’s retreat. A 90 yard hill, 40% grade… An endurance race
    • Growth – Getting outside of your comfort zone
  • “As a long time listener of your show, I marvel at your guests”
  • “My greatest edge was that I didn’t think I had an edge”
  • Why it was important to be teamed with Russians and other international players who didn’t speak English at a high school all star camp
  • Coach Krzyzewski (Coach K)’s reason for excellence:
    • Ability to build relationships with players as people
      • Incredible communication skills
      • Intentionally taking time to build relationships
    • Preparation – Disciplined preparation
      • Habits, routines
      • “His preparation on a daily basis is championship level”
  • How has Coach K showed Level 5 leadership to help his assistant coaches be great when they earn their own head coaching job?
    • “He allows coaches to take ownership – He pushed them and allowed them to have a voice. On the job learning”
  • Culture
    • Start with your value system: What do you believe in? How do you build it?
  • Wojo’s Stated Values:
    • Pursuing excellence – WIN every day
    • Being Selfless
    • Being Accountable – “Do what you say you’re going to do”
    • Being Relentlessly competitive
    • Discipline – Do what need to do at the time it needs to be done
  • How is it coaching millennials?
    • There is a lot of noise. Continuous feedback loop. Need to be constantly engaged. But kids still want the same things… They want to grow, want discipline, be part of something special… Something bigger than them
    • How to communicate with young people?
      • Social media: Must use it, need to be there
      • Spend most time face to face with them
  • Typical day?
    • Be intentional about how allocate time
    • Plan ahead — Must cover what’s most important. Must prioritize
    • Control own energy – Track sleep and work out daily
    • Set weekly goals (write them down) for face to face interactions, time to learn/read/podcast listening, time with family/friends. Carry a book to help keep track
      • “Sometimes I fail, sometimes I crush it”
  • Read The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
  • Read Legacy
  • Learning Leader – I was first turned on to the show because of the title.
    • Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant – “Their ability to learn was what I was impressed with most about them. LeBron remembered everything you said.”

“Their ability to learn was what I was impressed with most. LeBron remembered everything you said.” — Wojo discussing his time coaching Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant as a USA Basketball coach

Social Media:

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

Episode edited by the great J Scott Donnell

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