Posted by: Don Linnen | 31 March 2010

March Madness?

What in the world do John Wooden and Carole Rylander have in common? Hint: It’s not the March Madness of college basketball playoffs.

Most basketball fans know John Wooden.  He is the legendary, former coach of men’s basketball at UCLA.  Over 27 years there, he compiled a record of 664 – 162. His teams won 10 national championships over a 12 year period – a record unprecedented and unmatched!

Most development pros in Dallas know Carole Rylander. She didn’t go to UCLA. She didn’t coach basketball – as far as I know. But she shares a basic philosophy with Coach Wooden.

Success follows from putting small goals in place and doing everything you can to meet those goals.

Wooden is known for his very thorough coaching – for his attention to details. He drilled his young men on the fundamentals and created a foundation – the Pyramid of Success – upon which they built their games and their lives.

Rylander is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) in Dallas. She teaches and coaches development teams.  She reminded me a few weeks ago in another excellent Center for Nonprofit Management class a very basic truth about development.

You CANNOT control what your donors will fund in the future.  You CAN control the processes you put in place to raise those funds.

Both Rylander and Wooden teach us the same thing.  Prepare for success by building processes that will lead to success.  Then execute those processes.

So simple.  So true.

It’s not entirely different from what my dad often told me, “plan your work and work your plan.”  He loved basketball.





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