Business, Sports & Gaming

Bounce Back From a Loss

Coach K

Lesson time 14:08 min

Seize the moment. In this final lesson, Coach K shares how suffering a loss can teach you more than getting a win.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Seize the Moment During a Loss • Value the Team’s Efforts • Get on the Right Bus


[MUSIC PLAYING] [CROWD JEERING] - I want to talk about one loss it's not a loss-- a game loss, but it's really kind of a culture loss. [MUSIC PLAYING] In the '94, '95 season, we had previously gone to seven Final Fours in nine years and won two national championships. No one had a run like that since Coach Wooden with the UCLA teams in the '60s and early '70s. And I needed a back operation just at the start of practice, but also I was very emotionally worn out. I wasn't refreshed. And by mid-season, I had to be hospitalized, not just for back, but for that emotional stress. I feel, in some respect, when you're in this situation, you let them down. And I apologize for that. There's nothing I could have done to change it. I had lost feeling, like the ability to feel. Not touch feel, but feel feel. And it took me about four months of intensive treatment to come back. But during that time, we had a losing season. Not only a losing season, but we lost our culture. And the person responsible for that is me because I had lead more-- like, if you looked at a bicycle wheel and spokes, all the spokes went through the middle. Me. I had created a micromanaged environment where, if the middle was gone, the wheel was going to collapse. I didn't know I was doing that. But I did know I did it once it was done. And coming back, I not only had to come back individually, but we had to renew or build our culture again. After seven Final Fours, two national championships in nine years, you know, I think this can happen in a workplace. You have this ultimately successful company, and you lose somebody or you haven't been taught a certain way, and it can go down. And ours did. We had to rebuild it, but we still used our basic values and standards and that. But how I led was differently. I let other people do their jobs more. I used their talents better. And that wheel? Every spoke didn't go through the middle. When you deal with a loss-- a game loss, a business loss-- the sign of a great team and outstanding leadership is being held accountable. There's a huge difference between blame and accountability. Accountability means we win and we lose together. Collective responsibility. Why did we lose? Was there one factor? Many factors? We should know why we lost. You know, I remember listening to Kobe Bryant express this, and he said, there's a big part of me that, although I hate to lose, I like to lose every once in a while because I find out what I'm weak in. Now, I don't want to lose in a championship game or a Championship Series, but if I hold myself accountable on a daily basis and we do lose, I will find out either a weakness or a strength of an opponent, of what that opponent has better than we do. You learn from a loss, whether it be in sport or in business. And a loss-- don't keep losing to learn. But when you do lose, make the most of it. Analyze it. And looking back over that time p...

About the Instructor

Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski is the winningest coach in men’s college basketball history. For the first time, he’s sharing the secrets to building an environment conducive to success. Learn how to read body language, deliver difficult feedback, and identify talent. Whether on the court or in the office, you’ll be confident exercising leadership strategies that influenced players like Kobe Bryant and Shane Battier.

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Coach K

12x “Coach of the Year” Mike Krzyzewski teaches how to motivate a team. Discover your innate leadership skills with drills to prepare for success.

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