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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

Leadership Principles: Success Requires a Flexible Vision

It is so important that leaders develop immutable principles to live by as they lead, love, and serve those around them. I gleaned many of these priceless principles from Coach Dean Smith while playing for him at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Today’s principle is this: Success requires a flexible vision. Proverbs 29:18 says vision is so important that without it, people perish. Vision, however, must stay nimble because times change. Personnel changes. The game changes. Coach Smith understood the importance of having a clear vision. “Play hard, play smart, and play together.” That was his vision for every team he coached. Those words are written on the players’ entrance and exit in the Dean Dome. Yet, Coach Smith also knew that he needed to guard flexibility within that vision. He was always adjusting. He knew how to pivot as needed to maintain a strong vision under which his players could thrive. He could adjust to the 30 second shot clock. To the three point line. To the stronger and better athletes. This enabled him to be an incredibly sharp and astute leader. All leaders must have a vision. But it needs to be flexible as times and people change. Coach Smith was the master of a flexible vision. Without a shot clock, he used the four corners of the court. With the shot clock, he developed another effective offense to get the ball in the hoop. In all his decades of coaching, he remained innovative. And he won! Leaders, is this you? Are you willing to change to maintain a compelling vision for those around you? When playing “offensively,” do you know how to adjust to what is happening so you aren’t easily tossed by the defensive strategies around you? When on “defense,” do you know how to remain alert and aware of how to stop hindrances that keep you from winning in the game called life? Take inventory of your life and ask yourself if you have a flexible vision laid out for you and those around you. This will help everyone around you flourish, and not perish. Our Leadership Principles blog series is inspired by David's book "It's How You Play the Game: The 12 Leadership Principles of Dean Smith." If you would like to receive this book, please go here.

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