Mike Krzyzewski has built a culture of winning at Duke that all programs wish they could imitate. But his real challenge comes in coaching the United States basketball team, a team he’s led since 2005 where he’s charged with getting the most dominant players in the NBA to play as a cohesive unit during their limited off season.
The team is composed of (mostly) the same parts year after year, but since everyone plays together for such a limited period of time before going back to their respective teams, coach K has quite the challenge as the entire country keeping tabs on their progress.
According to Krzyzewski, changing the culture is more than getting guys to buy into a new message. It’s about providing them opportunities to hear, see, understand, and most importantly, feel change in order for it to really stick.
“When it’s time to change the culture of a team, your players have to hear it, see it and understand what you’re trying to do. But to really make change stick they have to feel it.” Krzyzewski explained to the Wall Street Journal.
“To do that, you have to create moments.”
For coach K and team USA, that meant trips to historic cemeteries, or military bases, or anything else that may help them realize the magnitude that the letters on the front of their jersey represent.