What Can We Learn from Brad Stevens

Brad Stevens is remarkable. He’s the coach of the Boston Celtics. Before that, he coached the Butler Bulldogs. Some people consider him to be the best basketball coach in America. Why is he held in such high regard? Well, of course, it’s because his teams win. But it’s more than that: it’s because his teams win against teams with superior talent. In other words, his teams win because of him.

Other teams win because of their coach — sometimes. Some teams win in spite of their coach. And some teams lose because of their coach. But Mr. Stevens’ teams log more wins because of their coach than other teams — at least that’s what the evidence suggests. Mr. Stevens is that good.

So what’s the difference? It’s important to know because the skills are probably transferable. In other words, the same qualities are likely to yield similar outstanding performance in other arenas, whether they be in business or nonprofits.

From what I’ve been able to discern, here are some of the keys to Mr. Stevens’ success: Continue reading

Even Rome Wasn’t Burnt In a Day

Conservative author and pundit Jonah Goldberg recently reminded us that “even Rome wasn’t burnt in a day.” He was talking about the United States. And what he sees as our country’s decline.

Sven Henrich was even more pointed:

If you ever wanted to understand how the all powerful Roman empire ended up destroying itself, just watch the news in 2017.

More recently, James Traub authored an article in Foreign Policy titled “The United States of America Is Decadent and Depraved,” wherein he observed that:

Decadence is usually understood as an irreversible condition — the last stage before collapse. … But as American decadence is distinctive, perhaps America’s fate may be, too.

At the close of the year, in an interview with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, Ralph Nader delivered a stinging critique of the current state of America, in a column titled The Visionless Society.

I don’t know if America is in decline. But I have to admit: it feels like Messrs. Goldberg, Henrich, Traub and Nader could be right.

Mainly, I feel this way because of 11 specific factors.  Continue reading