Leadership The Butler Way

January 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

Since we began dating, one of the favorite things for my wife and I to do is attend basketball games at her alma mater, Butler University. It certainly helped our enjoyment of the games and team that during that time they’ve risen to nearly the top of the college basketball world with their near miss in the NCAA championship game in 2010. During their run it became popular for pundits to talk about “The Butler Way‘” as if it was their magical elixir. Intrigued, I investigated The Way and have come to respect the leadership values that it promotes.

Developed by the patriarch of Butler coaches, Tony Hinkle (Hinkle Fieldhouse), to offer guidance for his players and students, The Way demands commitment, denies selfishness and accepts reality, yet seeks constant improvement while promoting the good of the team above self. It has developed today into a backbone of their basketball teams, the athletic department and other elements of the school. Courtesy of Wikipedia, here is the Butler Way as it appears in their basketball locker room:

  1. Humility – know who we are, strengths and weaknesses
  2. Passion – do not be lukewarm, commit to excellence
  3. Unity – do not divide our house, team first
  4. Servanthood – make teammates better, lead by giving
  5. Thankfulness – learn from every circumstance

When I looked into the principles last Spring I immediately identified connections between values that I share as well as those  espoused by the MFA in Visual Communications program at IU’s Herron School of Art and Design. Let’s discuss the way that I envision the principles:

Humility – being honest about our abilities and situations better lets us leverage our talents and mediate and build on our weaknesses, be this individually or as an organization

Passion – having a desire to succeed regardless of the sacrifice necessary has pushed many from good to great

Unity – having teammates to share the load, hold us accountable, talk honestly with, commiserate and rebound with, and to celebrate successes with is vital to many projects, if not life

Servanthood – it is necessary for us all to be servants at times and leading by giving is incredibly valuable and rewarding both for a team and within an individual

Thankfulness – sometimes a loss or critique may hurt, but we should be thankful for the opportunity regardless as there is much to be learned from painful moments as well as those instances when we come out on top

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§ One Response to Leadership The Butler Way

  • MANFRED KETS DE VRIES in his book THE LEADERSHIP MYSTIQUE summarises effective leadership in four H’s:
    hope
    humanity
    humility, and
    humor
    thought it would be nice to share with you as they suppor the Butler way’s ones!!

    keep wataching bball :D.

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