Last Saturday I had the pleasure of hearing Duke University men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K) speak at Lipscomb as part of the 3rd Annual Don Meyer Evening of Excellence. There was one takeaway in particular that has stayed with me all week.
Coach K talked about being an assistant coach on the 1992 “Dream Team” that won the gold medal in the Barcelona Olympics. He referenced one specific moment when Michael Jordan approached him during one of the first practices. As the all-world, MVP, mega-brand from arch-rival North Carolina began to speak, Coach K had no idea what to expect.
“Coach, could you please help me with some of my offensive moves,” said Jordan.
As Coach K said, Jordan very easily could have said “Hey” or “Hey you” or worse. Instead, Michael Jordan called him Coach. The second point, possibly the most obvious but maybe also the hardest to remember, is that Jordan used the word please. Krzyzewski went on to say that ever since that day he has required all of his players at Duke to do those two things – use names and say please – when dealing with anyone and everyone no matter the position or lack of position they hold in life.
This week I have tried to follow that teaching in my own life. It’s been fascinating as I have focused on listening for, remembering and using names of the people I have come in contact with how much more pleasant my interactions with those people have been.
From Esther who cleans the arena to home plate umpire Hayden at Houston’s game to Betty at Cracker Barrel, using their names and saying the simple words “please” and “thank you” at appropriate times has given my interactions with them added depth.
Brent, please forward this lesson I’ve learned to others that might benefit. May the ripple effect make us all kinder, gentler and more purposeful in our daily walk.