There are probably few office pool brackets predicting Loyola will win the NCAA basketball tournament, let alone reach the Final Four. It’s been reported that even Sister Jean had her team losing before the Sweet 16. But while watching Loyola shatter all expectations, I’m reminded of a dinner conversation between two legendary leaders and old friends, Lee Iacocca, the CEO of Chrysler, and Vince Lombardi, head coach of the Green Bay Packers.
During the dinner, Iacocca turned to Lombardi with a question.
"What’s your secret behind creating so many winning teams?," he asked.
Without hesitation, Lombardi answered, "That’s easy."
"First, you must teach your players the fundamentals. Each person has to know how to do their job well. Second, some players will be more talented than the rest. Nevertheless, there can be no room for prima donnas or favoritism. Each player has to feel valued."
Iacoca look puzzled.
"Lots of teams have both of these things. But they aren’t always the ones that win."
"I know, said Lombardi. "That’s because they’re missing the third ingredient. Each of the players have to care about each other. But know that isn’t just going to happen. If you want a winning team, you, as the leader, have to create an environment where it will happen. To do this you must not recruit players who have a hard time getting along with each other, no matter how good they are at their jobs. And for those remaining, you have to help them experience what happens when they help each other perform their best."
When asked how Loyola has come so far, Ben Richardson, just having reached a career scoring record, told the interviewer, "You know, it was mainly just that we love each other. Just emphasizing kind of what coach was saying earlier, just how far we've come. We believed in each other and in the process this whole year, and we knew that we could do special things."
Apparently, Loyola Coach Porter Moser is familiar with all three of the Lombardi secrets.