John Wooden was most famous for his 10 record NCAA championships during his tenure as the UCLA men's basketball coach. Many consider him to be one of the greatest coaches in sports history. Although, he’d prefer people remember him as a teacher vs. a coach. After all, he was a high school English teacher in Indiana for many years before he became a legend in Westwood. In reality, John Wooden’s teachings went far beyond the basket court. His success philosophies have served as the foundation for many leaders and businesses around the world.
“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 that you are capable of becoming” – John Wooden
People who have studied his philosophy for life and success know all about the Pyramid of Success. If you are not familiar with the Pyramid of Success, it is essentially building blocks based on core foundations, which can help you achieve success on the court and in life.
One of Wooden’s basic principles for success was the focus on basics. During his coaching career at UCLA, new incoming freshmen would show up at the first practice, expecting to do basketball drills. Instead, players shared that Wooden focused the majority of practice on one thing, how to tie their shoelaces. Actually, to be more accurate, how to properly put on your socks, and then properly tie your shoelaces.
Imagine the surprise of many of these players. These weren’t 12-year-old kids, learning to play at the YMCA. These were top All Americans from around the country that many universities can only dream of having play for their team. Yet, Wooden wanted to teach them how to put on their socks and tie their shoelaces? Yes!
Now as absurd as this seemed to most people, Wooden had a reason for this. Remember his focus on the basics.
As he explained it to his players, if you improperly put on your socks, and tie your shoes, it can greatly impact your performance during the game, and perhaps even the season.
For starters, improperly put on socks, can cause blisters. Any of you who have ever played sports, know how badly a blister can hurt. If you have bad blisters, your pain may distract you and prevent you from executing on the court to your fullest.
If shoelaces aren’t tied properly, it can create devastating effects. Not only will you have to stop and tie your shoes, which can have impacts during the game, but it can also create injuries, which can cost you the season or playing career.
Doesn’t sound so absurd now, right?
Imagine if Wooden focused so much on basics like tying your shoes, how much did you think he drilled in on other basketball and life fundamentals? If you are a basketball fan, you know that unfortunately, many of Wooden’s teachings are lost in today’s game. The game has focused more on flash and individual play. There are players who can jump over everyone and make a specular dunk, yet cannot shoot a free throw. There are players with amazing individual stats on teams that are fracturing apart.
So why the rant about basketball and John Wooden?
The same principles hold true for business and your agency. For example, before getting caught in the flash of social media, the latest AMS tech, or the next shiny object, a solid foundation must be in place. While these tools are valuable and can help contribute to your goal, you can't ignore the basics of developing and executing a great marketing and business plan.
The foundation for any successful insurance agency is having a consistent process of acquiring and retaining ideal clients. It should be the “fundamentals” of every business and marketing plan.
The foundations of any marketing and business plan starts with your target market. In order to properly acquire and retain your target clients, you must start with a few basic questions.
Similar to tying your shoes, being able to answer these basics questions are the foundations of your marketing and business plan. Taking time to do this now will help you avoid the blisters later. More importantly, executing once these questions are answered, will help you win consistently.
This may be boring like putting on your socks and tying your shoes, but this is also the foundational principles of marketing and sales success for your agency. The fancy stuff may help you win more, but not until your business fundamentals are in place.