April 23, 2019

Tony Bennett led the UVA men’s basketball team to win the NCAA Championship. Tony’s excellence in coaching this sport is proven and outstanding. But winning at that level takes so much more than knowledge of the sport and athletic talent. Bennett’s “Five Pillars,” which he describes as the foundation for his program, bring a depth and expansiveness to his team that wins both on and off the court.


Ego always gets in the way. It steals attention from what’s important, overshadows true strengths, and roadblocks progress. Rather, humility reminds us of our strengths and our challenges, and allows us to forge stronger, more respectful connections with those around us.


“Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well” (Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield). Passion is dedication to and enthusiasm for the outcome that fuels the time and effort day in and day out, even in the worst moments. As leaders, our passion inspires our teams and our stakeholders.


To be clear, this does not mean there is no conflict. It does mean that we know the goal for success is the same, and that we can navigate towards it respectfully and with empathy. When we feel so connected to our teams and our collective focus, our differences aren’t problems, they’re advantages.


Serving others allows us to understand the bigger picture. It opens our eyes to challenges that are greater than our own and cultivates an exchange of compassion. Bonus: companies that encourage volunteering among employees see an increase in engagement and less turnover.


Gratitude is the key. We must find ways to cultivate our gratitude – for the opportunities, for the abilities, for the challenges, and for the outcomes. Gratitude impacts our health and happiness and can be exercised just like push-ups and passing drills.

Bennett is not only building great athletes, he’s developing respectful, candid, hard-working, empathetic citizens and leaders… who also win!