Pyramid of Success

Beyond Success – The 15 Secrets to Effective Leadership and Life Based on Legendary Coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success by Brian D. Biro

It’s hard to argue with the success of Coach John Wooden, whose 10 NCAA Championships in 12 years (including seven in a row) as coach of the UCLA Bruins will probably never be matched.

Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is the result of a structure for personal growth he developed, which became the foundation for his work as a teacher and coach. It became a road map for staying on track and living according to his values. In Beyond Success, Biro expands on the Pyramid and add personal stories and analogies to help us understand and implement the principles of the Pyramid of Success, and the book has many terrific quotations and philosophies from Wooden throughout.

View or download a PDF of the Pyramid of Success (opens in a new window).

The 15 Secrets of the Pyramid of Success are:

  1. Industriousness
  2. Enthusiasm
  3. Friendship
  4. Loyalty
  5. Cooperation
  6. Self-Control
  7. Alertness
  8. Initiative
  9. Intentness
  10. Condition
  11. Skill
  12. Team Spirit
  13. Poise
  14. Confidence
  15. Competitive Greatness


Ideas for Your Goals

Based on my personal notes from reading Beyond Success – The 15 Secrets to Effective Leadership and Life Based on Legendary Coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, I share the following skills and ideas you may want to incorporate into your goal-setting or action plans:

  • Help others discover and develop their special qualities. Be aware of the Pygmalion Effect in which the vision you have for others influences the expectations they have of themselves.
  • Rather than striving to be the best, strive to be your best. Be motivated by what you want to give rather than what you hope to receive.
  • Only by taking action and consistently working on fundamentals (reflected by the Pyramid of Success) will you actually achieve your goals.
  • Design and prepare a written plan; keep a record and use them (industriousness).
  • Think of three targets for your enthusiasm: People, the Fundamentals, and Learning. Have a drive to learn more rather than obsess with being right.
  • We will often do more for others than we will for ourselves. Loyalty can be a catalyst for inspired performance because we feel we are part of a bigger picture. Write a personal dedication statement – your purpose and mission to a team that extends beyond yourself
  • When you ask/listen rather than tell, you enable others to discover their own solutions (alertness). Abraham Lincoln: “The worst thing you can do for those you love is to do the things they could and should do for themselves.
  • When you specifically define what you want and create a clear vision, you immediately become more alert to what can assist you.
  • Encourage the celebration of simple joys and recognition of small wins to help create an atmosphere where initiative is alive and vibrant.
  • Develop a deeply inspiring purpose for your life – live a life of purpose and joy fueled by the energy needed to support your initiative.
  • Our lives are a mirror of our consistent thoughts. We have the ability to condition ourselves through repetition and focus on thoughts, writing, conversations, etc.
  • When all members are dedicated to the good of the team, they automatically accept full responsibility for their contributions to the total team effort.


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