13 Winning Qualities from 2009 Emerson Global Users Exchange

13 Winning Qualities

By Bill Lydon - Contributing Editor
Pat Williams, Senior Vice President of Orlando Magic, discussed the qualities of winners in his keynote address at the recent Emerson Global Users Exchange Conference in Orlando, Florida on September 28 - October 2, 2009. Williams has a number of impressive accomplishments in the world of sports and parenting. Williams and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of 19 children, including 14 adopted from four nations, ranging in age from 20 to 34. At one time they had 16 teenagers at once! Williams related a story of someone asking the great quarterback Johnny Unitas what the best advice he ever received from a coach and his answer, WIN.
Williams has been studying winning for over 50 years and shared what he believes are the 13 qualities of winners.
  1. Dream
    The winning process starts with a dream that creates focus. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Williams noted that we would not have been in Orlando if it had not been for Walt Disney’s dream. He quoted Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it”, noting that nothing will happen if we don’t take action.
  2. Preparation
    The Sporting News ranked John Wooden the number one coach of all time. Wooden, soon to be 99 years old, at UCLA won a record 10 NCAA Division I men's basketball championships in 12 years. John Wooden emphasized preparation, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Williams believes confidence comes from preparation, citing school days when you had learned all semester vs. cramming for the exam.
  3. Focus
    Williams related how he wrote a book “How to be like Mike” (Jordan). In his research on Jordan, he found the biggest quality that sets Jordan apart from others is his focus. Jordan was always focused in the now. Williams’ challenge - focus on one chunk of time, namely today. He quoted coach Wooden, “make each day your masterpiece.”
  4. Passion
    Winners are passionate about what they are doing and approach it with zeal and zest. Vince Lombardi, the great coaching legend with the Green Bay Packers, said the difference between success and failure is energy…”fired with enthusiasm.” Williams believes the most contagious of all human qualities are energy, passion and enthusiasm. Williams believes if you love what you do, you never have to worry about passion.
  5. Work Hard
    Winners outwork everybody. “Economics 101, there ain’t no free lunch.”
    Williams recited the poetry of “sports poet laureate”, Grantland Rice:
    You wonder how they do it,
    You look to see the knack,
    You watch the foot in action,
    Or the shoulder or the back.
    But when you spot the answer
    Where the glamours lurk,
    You'll find in moving higher
    Up the laurel-covered spire,
    That most of it is practice,
    And the rest of it is work.
  6. Responsibility
    Winners take responsibility. “We are living in an age of deflected responsibility.” People make decisions, particularly those in authority, and if the decision works out they cannot wait to take credit…if the decision does not work out, a case of instant amnesia sets in. There is no memory of what happened and they hire a “spin doctor” to get out of the mess.
    Williams cited advice he received from Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point church. “When there is a decision to be made, ask yourself, based on my past experiences and my future hopes and dreams what is the wise thing to do?”
  7. Specific Goals
    Be specific in goal setting. A clear cut definite goal is a powerful motivating force. It keeps us concentrating and zoned in on what we are doing. Williams suggests having short range (1 week), medium (1 year), and long range (10 year) goals. Williams noted that when you stop setting goals the dying process sets in, always have goals.
    The key to goals is self discipline with written deadlines - without this they are just wishes, hopes, and dreams. The best definition of self discipline Williams has ever heard was from coach Bobby Knight. “Self discipline is doing what has to be done, when it has to be done, doing it the best it can be done, and doing it that way every time you do it.”
  8. Perseverance
    “The winners hang in there, they may get weary, they may get discouraged, but they don’t quit.”
    Williams cited the business card he carries to this day given to him by Brian Piccolo who played for the Chicago Bears and was diagnosed with cancer. The business card simply stated, “You can’t quit - it is a league rule.”
    Walt Disney created the word “sticktoitivity” describing perseverance. Disney had an 8th grade education, went bankrupt 12 times, and numerous other obstacles but Disney persevered.
  9. Dealing with Adversity
    Williams pointed out that everyone is in one of three positions. We have just come out of a storm, we are in the middle of a storm, or we are heading into a storm. The question is what are we going to do in the middle of our storm? We can crash and burn or crash and learn. Advice William received when he was in the midst of turmoil was, “don’t waste your sufferings.” Williams observed the struggles were the best learning experiences because he was alert.
  10. Positive attitude
    Winners have a positive attitude, the glass is half full or totally full, it is not half empty. Winners understand that every day they get to pick their attitude. Williams acknowledged that it took a long time for him to figure this one out.
    Every day the only thing you get to pick is your attitude. Williams recommends picking a good one.
    Attitude stems from your brain and your thoughts. Williams recommends improving your mind by reading from a book one hour daily to improve your knowledge and exercise your brain. He believes if you read the right five books on a subject you will be an expert in that field!
  11. Details
    Winners pay attention to the little things, details. John Wooden said, “the closest thing I can come to a secret for success is doing a lot of things well.”
    While interviewing former UCLA players’, they talked about the first hour of the first day of practice every season being devoted to coach Wooden teaching his players how to put their socks and shoes on properly. He would demonstrate and the players would practice putting on their shoes and socks. Over dinner one night, Williams asked coach Wooden what that was all about? The coach responded, “all I needed was one wrinkle in one sock that by the end of the first practice creating one blister, then our whole season could have been ruined.”
  12. Strive for Perfection
    Winners are striving for perfection. Walt Disney was always striving for perfection. When his staff thought they had completed a project he would tell them to get back to work and “plus it boys!”
    Strive for perfection, you’re never going to get there but striving for it makes us better.
  13. Welcome Competition
    Winners welcome competition and thrive on it. “We are about to start another NBA season and this will be my 42nd, I have the same thought every year at the start of the season. The other 29 NBA teams would love for our team to go 0 and 82.  That can be very intimidating.”
    Williams recommends welcoming competition because it pulls out the best in us. Williams quoted Bella Caroli, Olympic women’s gymnastics coach, “no competition, no progress!”
Williams noted that he loved the Emerson conference focus on collaboration which is teamwork. “Extreme dreams depend on teams.” Williams closed with a poem by former NBA player Swen Nater and had the audience repeat out loud.
I have awed at a solo performance,
And spectacular flashy display,
But I crave for the best
And my eyes are more blessed,
When an unselfish team makes a play.
A play that’s so perfect and simple,
With the weaving of role with a role-
Every piece partly seen,
Like a fine-tuned machine,
And you notice not one, but the whole.
Like an orchestra tuned to perfection,
Where harmonious beauty is found,
Every note has a quest-
To be part of the rest,
So the whole is a masterpiece sound.
Every wild one, once blinded by glory,
Is now cured and is one of the tame.
He receives his esteem,
As a part of the team,
And is eager to sacrifice fame.
It’s amazing what teams have accomplished.
It’s astounding how much they have done,
When the ultimate call,
Is when one is for all,
And the credit is reached for by none.
Note: Pat Williams has a number of great videos on YouTube.
Pat Williams Background
Pat Williams is the Senior Vice President and Co-Founder of the Orlando Magic, the National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise in Orlando, Florida. Williams is widely recognized throughout the sports world as a consummate promoter and astute talent scout. His zany antics and endless imagination have contributed to the Magic’s success, which includes a trip to the 1995 NBA Finals.
Before assuming the reigns of the Orlando Magic, Williams spent 12 years as the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, including the 1983 season when they were NBA champs. Prior to that, he was general manager for the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls after serving as business manager for the 76ers in 1968. In 1996, Williams was named as one of the 50 most influential people in NBA history.
In his NBA career, Williams traded Pete Maravich, traded for Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Penny Hardaway, and won four NBA draft lotteries, including back-to-back winners in 1992 and 1993. He also drafted future stars Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney and Darryl Dawkins and signed Billy Cunningham, Chuck Daly, and Matt Guokas to their first professional coaching contracts. More than a dozen of his former players have become NBA Head Coaches and numerous others have become assistant coaches.
Despite his success in the NBA, Williams’ first love is baseball, the sport that earned him a scholarship to Wake Forest University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education. Williams was a three-year letterman as a catcher for the Demon Deacons baseball team and is a member of the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame. He later went on to earn a master’s of science degree in physical education from Indiana University in 1964, and a doctorate in Humane Letters from Flagler University.
Williams is the author of 38 books, the most recent being Coaching Your Kids to Be Leaders. In the last six years, he has completed 33 marathons and has climbed Mt. Rainier.