HR Management & Compliance

Want to Assemble a Dream Team Like Coach K’s?

Talking about the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team,” said by some to be the best collection of sports stars ever assembled, coach Mike Krzyzewski asked 15,000 HR managers, “Wouldn’t you like to have that recruiter?”

“Coach K,” long-time coach of basketball at Duke, where he became the winningest basketball coach in Division I history, and also assistant coach of the Olympic “Dream Team” in 1992 and coach of two subsequent gold medal winners, inspired attendants at the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Annual Convention and Exposition held recently in Las Vegas.

On Inspiring Your Team

Coach K said that he played the “Star-Spangled Banner” to his Olympic team before the games. And he said, one of these games you’re going to hear that song twice. (The second time will be when you’re standing on the podium receiving your gold medals.)

Three Concepts of Leadership

Coach K advanced three key concepts that leaders must possess:

  • Adaptability
  • Ownership
  • Feelings

Setting up or updating your wellness program? TrainingToday’s Wellness Training Library can help. With a built in LMS, TrainingToday does all the assignment, tracking, testing, and reporting for you. Learn More.


“You must be incredibly adaptable” says Coach K. He’s known for his ability to change as does anyone who does something well for 40 years, and whose team changes every year and totally turns over every 4 years at least.


At the end of the first dream team practice, Coach K got the team together and introduced all his star players to the team’s support staff. Make sure everyone feels important, Coach K says. You don’t want any “divaesque” ball player saying, “Hey you” or “Yo” when addressing any member of the team, including the person mopping up the locker room or collecting the towels. Coach K’s team members are expected to know all the support staffers.

Usually, you only know these people because of a tragic loss or a fire, Coach K says; you should know the person before, he says.

Coach K’s standards:

  • Always look the person you are talking to in the eye.
  • Always tell each other the truth.

I don’t have rules, says Coach K. Rules are things you have to obey; he wants standards that always apply. His Olympic teams set standards, including always be on time for meetings and never have a bad practice. Since the team members had established the standards, they abided by them.

Training Today’s Wellness Training Library includes everything you need for both your managers who help to set up and manage a workplace wellness program—and your employees to learn about keeping themselves and their families healthy. Learn More.

Kobe Bryant Plays Pure Defense

To show his mettle as a defender, Kobe Bryant said he wanted the toughest person on each team to guard. Kobe guarded well, but to prove a point, he didn’t shoot.

Coach K had to say to Kobe, one of the best shooters of all time, “Kobe, please shoot.”


You must be “heart and soul” with your teams, says Coach K. They have to feel what they are doing and feel why they are doing it. En route to Duke’s 2015 championship, the team endorsed four E’s:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Energy
  • Emotion
  • Eight (for the size of the team by the end of the season)

And it was that number eight player who fired up the team at the critical moment in the final game. With a loud and heartfelt LET’S GO!, Coach K turned the 15,000 attendees into his team as he passionately repeated those words to close his presentation.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, we will presentwellness tips from another SHRM keynote speaker,  Mehmet Oz, MD, FACS, plus an introduction to Training Today’s Wellness Training Library.