Recently, University of Utah Basketball Coach, Larry Krystkowiak, came to speak to the board members at the U of U business school. Krystkowiak, also known as Coach K, shared what leadership means on and off the court. Coach K explained to the Business Alumni Association Board Members that a leader can be defined by seven main concepts:

  • Perseverance: In each of our lives we will have trials and set-backs. The important part is that you don’t give up the fight. In the Utah locker room a hanging quote reads, “It’s really hard to beat someone who will never give up.” Often, these difficult times change our perspective, create new energy, and help us define our true goals and objectives.                    
  • Truth: Trust is the cornerstone to a great leader. There is ample opportunity for Krystkowiak to bend the truth as a coach, or overpromise potential players when he is on the road recruiting. But, he explains, if there’s no trust from the beginning, then the player doesn’t have respect for the program—which means the teamwork needed to achieve championships won’t be there. Krystkowiak lives the example he for his team. They know they must always speak the truth, and deception in any area isn’t accepted among the players. Krystkowiak says he “can live with a mistake, but not lying.”
  • Discipline: Every day, doing the right thing that moves you closer to your goals creates discipline. Coach K refers to this as the “jump ball” he has every morning when he wakes up. It’s a brand new day and another chance to work towards his success. The routine of discipline feeds the hard work you’re investing in yourself and your career.
  • Hard work: Krystkowiak tells of a time he was with the Utah Jazz. There were a few days between games and the players were given a day off. When he arrived in the workout room early in the morning, he saw Karl Malone was already there. “That’s what makes a leader; someone who is willing to put in the time and effort to improve themselves and the organization where they work.”
  • Team: Teamwork transcends all aspects of life. Whether you’re looking to partner on a project or develop a new product. Being able to communicate and listen effectively will build a stronger team, whic