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Coach K's 5 Components of a Winning Team

Updated: Aug 3, 2022

The Fist

Teamwork is the foundation of Coach K's success. The topic is something he's studied closely beginning with his education at West Point. It's no coincidence that he delivers one of his most famous strategies in the form of an analogy.

"I look at the members of our team like the five fingers of a hand. Individually, the fingers aren't as powerful as all of them coming together into a fist." Kryzyzewski writes in his book, Leading with the Heart (a metaphor for leadership). The fact that a basketball team has five players on the court makes the analogy even more perfect.

Coach K extends the analogy further: "There are five fundamental qualities that make every team great:



Collective Responsibility


and Pride.

I like to think of each as a separate finger on the fist. Any one individually is important. But all of them together are unbeatable."

The fist is a powerful analogy for small business owners who can't afford a small group of individuals to act on their own selfish interests at the expense of the team.

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Source:, "Duke Basketball's Coach K Uses a Powerful Communication Tactic to Build and Motivate Winning Teams", March 21, 2019

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