After Bobby Knight’s shocking and very public fall from grace, people might be surprised at Bobby Knight’s latest path to the spotlight; but few will be surprised to see the tenacious and creative coach forging new ground. After coaching Indiana University to the NCAA championship three times, Knight, whose chair-throwing tirades were legendary, left baseball abruptly over allegations of player mistreatment.
Now retired from coaching, Knight provides commentary on college basketball for ESPN. But it is Knight’s new-found status as author and business guru that is turning heads. Turning his irascible personality and legendary penchant for negativity into a cause celeb, Knight has started making appearances on the talk show circuit to plug his new book with Bob Hammel, The Power of Negative Thinking: An Unconventional Approach to Achieving Positive Results.
In an interview with NPR’s Scott Simon, Knight said entrepreneurs and small business owners need to trade in their rose-colored glasses for a cold, hard dose of reality. “I think that we as a people are always prone to think about, well, tomorrow will be a better day,” he told NPR. “Well, why will it be a better day?”
Unlike other business gurus who tout the power of positive thinking, Knight says it’s smart to visit your dark side and consider the potential negative results of business decisions. Hopeful thinking doesn’t beget success, Knight warns. “Positive results don’t happen simply because we believe they’re going to happen,” he told NPR. Knight very much believes in the old nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic, crediting hard work with his own success.
Preparation and strategy are the two most powerful keys to success, Knight contends, using humorous examples from his own experience to make his point. Focusing on potential negative outcomes forces business owners and entrepreneurs to plan ahead and strategize for worst-case scenarios. In considering the worst that could happen, entrepreneurs and small business owners can develop smart strategies for avoiding business pitfalls. Good advice in basketball and business!
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