Ann Meyers Drysdale: “We All Have Failure At Some Point”

In this edition of our Corporate Competitor Podcast, one of basketball’s pioneers and leading female executives in the business of sports, Ann Meyers Drysdale, explores what basketball taught her about mastering the fundamentals of business, starting with communication.

Corporate Competitor Podcast is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX with Ann Meyers Drysdale, the first woman to be signed to a collegiate scholarship at UCLA when she committed to play basketball for the Bruins. There she earned All-American honors four times, spent her summers as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, and won silver at the 1976 Olympics.

She achieved another first by becoming the first woman to sign a contract with a National Basketball Association team where she was invited to try out with the Indiana Pacers. Although she didn’t make the men’s squad, the barrier breaker went on to have an All-Star career in the women’s professional basketball before moving into the broadcast booth and now the front office as the Vice President of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

Drysdale credits her success on and off the court to mastering the fundamentals of teamwork, beginning with communicating effectively during periods of transition. “I had three coaches in four years at UCLA, plus my National Team coaches,” Drysdale explained. “It’s not always easy because everybody has a different role for you, different expectations for you, and may want to create a different team dynamic with new players. That’s why communication is important–especially being a good listener to other people’s ideas.”

Drysdale says that being active listeners and communicators enables team members to master the fundamentals of any business enterprise. Drysdale includes among these fundamentals, “knowing who your customer is, knowing what your customer struggles with and knowing what you can control.”

Listeners to the podcast will enjoy an insider’s perspective and learn:

9:00   How to get over the number one hurdle to effective decision-making on your team.

11:00  What UCLA Coach John Wooden taught Ann about leading change by listening.

16:00  How to master fundamentals in business.

23:00  Why great teams build their foundation on their players’ character more than talent.

“The best thing about focusing on the fundamentals and creating foundation,” noted Drysdale, “is that it allows you to learn from your mistakes and move past your failures. And we all have failure at some point.”

Check out the full Corporate Competitor Podcast interview archive and subscribe to new episodes.


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