Phil Jackson Can’t Just Do The Exact Same Things In New York That He Did In Chicago And Los Angeles – And He Understands This As Well as Anybody

Worth reading for every leader!
Worth reading for every leader!

The rules change when you move from one culture to another.
That’s why the so-called universal principles that appear in most leadership textbooks rarely hold up. You need to find the levers that are appropriate for that particular stage in the group’s development.
Oneness is not something you can turn on with a switch.
The mistake that championship teams often make is to try to repeat their winning formula. But that rarely works because by the time the next season starts, your opponents have studied all the videos and figured out how to counter every move you made. The key to sustained success is to keep growing as a team. Winning is about moving into the unknown and creating something new.

“I don’t know, I’m making it up as we go along.” That’s how I view leadership. It’s an act of controlled improvisation, a Thelonious Monk finger exercise, from one moment to the next.
Phil Jackson, Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success


There is no formula.

If every endeavor could be reduced to a formula for success; if there was a certain formula to follow; then we would all be more successful.

But, when you add more and more complexity to the mix, then there is no formula.

phil-jackson-kobe2Will Phil Jackson pull off some kind of basketball miracle when he takes over as General Manger of the New York Knicks?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I’m a big fan of Coach Jackson, and I think it will be fun to watch.

But Phil Jackson knows the truth – there is no formula.  He can’t simply do what he did before, in exactly the same way, in Chicago, or Los Angeles (or his own playing days for the Knicks, longer ago).  But he understands well that each new group, each new team, each new set of circumstances, requires changes to be made — different approaches to motivation, different strategy….  The current mix of players, the current mix of circumstances, are not a precise match for what went before.  This is a different culture, and different team chemistry.

In other words, though there are principles to follow and insights that transfer, the formula has to be reformulated and tweaked each and every time.

When I presented my synopsis of Eleven Rings, I shared five takeaways.  Here was takeaway #1:

Treat each person differently. – Because, they are different.

Phil Jackson understands this.  And, he understands that not only do you treat each person differently, but you approach each team, each mix of players, each set of circumstances differently.  There is no set formula!

That’s why this quote from his book Eleven Rings is so insightful.  “The rules change when you move from one culture to another,” says Phil Jackson.  Yes, they do…


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