Tag Archives: Leadership

Culture, Leadership and Caring at UConn

ImageIt’s crazy that one school has won both Men’s and Women’s College Basketball National Championship.  It’s crazy that it’s only been done by one school.  And it’s crazy that the one school that has done it has done it twice!

But what is going on at UConn that led to such dominance during the madness?

Any time I watch Kevin Ollie and Geno Auriemma it is really obvious that they care, about the wins and losses, but more importantly their players.

We can measure revenue, costs, wins and losses but it’s hard to measure and quantify culture. Yet, when we experience an organization with a great culture we can tell there is something very different about them. We feel it when we walk around the building, store, offices or locker room. We see it in the messages on the walls. We hear it when we talk to the leaders and observe the people of the organization. People who are part of a great culture, think, act, lead and serve differently. – Jon Gordon

Kevin Durant was a teammate of Ollie’s and he attributed him as being a game-changer in the organization and the reason the Thunder are winners.  This effect was through Ollie who was a player at the time, but his teammates viewed him as their leader. 

Just his mindset, professionalism every single day. And we all watched that. We all wanted to be like that. – Kevin Durant

That’s true leadership, without a title.  And he has able to do that at UConn, his players want to be great and have bought into the process to be great.  That is their focus, winning the championship was a side effect.


…When you focus on culture, leadership and caring you create a culture that strengthens and builds up people and you have people who strengthen and build the culture. And when you have a great culture, great leadership and people who care, you have the keys to sustained success. – Jon Gordon

As for Geno, he made a huge turnaround with the Women’s program, taking them from mediocre and zero championships to the most of all time, with last night being the 9th championship that capped off a perfect 40-0 season.  After the game, in a moment of genuine emotion he was asked about the success and the 9 titles.  His response was that he was just so lucky to get to coach the great players that he has.  That’s a selfless leader who has complete trust from his players.

Both UConn squads have great players and they wouldn’t win without that talent and although neither coach would ever admit it, it is their leadership that led the players toward greatness.  Follow this model and more often than not, you will find greatness as well.