Lesson on Trust from Coach K and How to Apply It

Disclosure:  I’m not a Duke fan, but I am a Coach K fan.

I wrote about trust through the eyes of a child last year.  Read it here.

At the beginning of any leadership training experience, trust is something which is the focus of many activities.  This is also something built into all branches of military training, and you don’t have to think much about why.  If you were in battle, the last thing you would need in the back of your mind is, “Does he/she have my back?”  In marriage, the relationship between a husband and wife is held together only because of trust.

During the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast this past Friday, Coach Mike Krzyzewski talked about the amazing opportunity he had to lead the USA Olympic basketball team.  Many discounted his ability to make the transition from coaching college players to leading a team made up of the best athletes from the NBA, including Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant), Dwayne Wade (@dwaynewade), and Lebron James (@kingjames).  We all know the outcome, based on the USA Olympic team wearing gold medals around their neck while the Star Spangled Banner played.  But how did they do it?

The single most important standard, which was set by the players not Coach K, was trust.  Notice I said the word standard.  Coach K did not set any rules on the players, while they did have standards.  He said rules are “externally” applied, and standards are “internally” owned.

Have you ever heard it said, “Two are always better than one?”  On the surface this is easy to agree with, but when you slow down and dig a little deeper, you realize this may not necessarily be true.

Another takeaway from last Friday, was a math equation that addresses the very topic of “two are better than one.”

If trust is PRESENT             =     2 > 1

If trust is NOT PRESENT     =     2 < 1

Trust is critical and is the foundation for anything which succeeds and is built to last.

QUESTION:  Where has trust impacted your life?  Was it easy?


  1. […] be addressed later.  Early in life, everything we do is built upon faith.  This faith turns into trust (which I described […]

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