Extreme Dreams Depend on Teams: Interview with NBA's Orlando Magic Co-founder Pat Williams

Pat Williams is the senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. He is a popular motivational speaker averaging over 150 appearances a year. Williams has spent 45 years in professional baseball and basketball as a player and executive. He served as general manager of the 1983 world champion Philadelphia 76ers and managed the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks.

Williams is the author of 55 books. He and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of 19 children, including 14 adopted from four nations. He and his family have been featured in such diverse publications as Sports Illustrated, Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping, The Wall Street Journal, and Focus on the Family as well as all the major TV networks. Pat and Ruth recently received an award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute for their efforts in adoption. To learn more about Pat Williams, visit www.PatWilliamsMotivate.com.

Thank you for this interview, Pat. Can we begin by having you tell us why you chose to write a business book on team building?

I have been fascinated by the teamwork process for decades. I have spent my entire adult life building sports teams and am convinced those principles for great sports teams transfer over into every walk of life, including the corporate world.

Did you outline before you wrote your book or just went with the flow?

My outline for this book was first created in the mid-90s as part of a speech I began to give to corporate America . I have stayed with that outline ever since in my speaking and writing because I feel it is spot on.

What kind of research did you do before putting this book together?

My process is somewhat unique. I research nonstop on the topics of teamwork and leadership. I am reading relentlessly, I interview leaders and team builders in many venues and continue this process on a daily basis.

Can you tell us if you interviewed people for this book and can you give us an example of who?

Over the years I have interviewed hundreds of people about teamwork and leadership. Whenever I cross paths with a successful team builder I want to pick their brain and pickup a tidbit or two. You can always learn more. Some people I’ve run into over their years are Colin Powell, Howard Schultz, Joe Torre and Mike Ditka.

Did you get endorsements for your book prior to publication and can you tell us how you went about getting them?

This book is loaded with great endorsers. Here’s how we go about it: When the manuscript is in final form, I will ship off 40-50 copies along with a cover letter to people who might be interested in doing a blurb. We operate on the 20% rule: 80% will say “no” or never respond, but 20% give you a terrific list of names.

What was the hardest part to write?

The entire book is hard to write. It’s like giving birth to a roll of barbed wire. It takes total focus and intense work for a long period of time. However, when the book is completed, it’s just about the proudest moment of your life. When the book first arrives from the publisher, it is an enormous thrill.
What message are you trying to get across to your readers with this book?

I am challenging people to shatter their mental restrictions and reach out to solve the world’s biggest problems. We can do this; however, you have got to build a team to have your dreams come true. Collectively, all of us can be an unstoppable force.

Do you plan on writing more books of this nature or do you have something different in mind?

I have more books in the works. My wife, Ruth, and I have just finished a book on marriage that will be out in November, Happy Spouse Happy House. I am also writing a book about NBA coaching legend, Chuck Daly.

Thank you for this interview, Pat. Can you tell us where we can find out more about you and your wonderful new book?

Extreme Dreams Depend on Teams is in bookstores in the business sections under “Management.” It’s also available at amazon.com and other online book retailers.

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