The NBA Finals are over and whether you feel good, bad or indifferent about the outcome, there are some key lessons basketball teaches us about business.
1. Don’t Stop Believing. Just one year ago, a 2015 Finals run seemed impossible for the Cleveland Cavaliers. But against all odds – and with incredibly hard work – they made it. No, the Cavs didn’t win it all, but they got amazingly close and established themselves as true contenders. What a strong foundation to build on for next year.
2. Build a Strong Team. Having a superstar on your team is great, but your superstar should never be THE team. What happens if that person gets injured or exhausted, or leaves? Make sure your group has balanced strengths so they can support each other and jump in as needed to pick up slack.
3. Communication is Key. The level of communication required on a basketball court is astounding. The players need to read what their teammates are thinking and predict what they’re going to do without even talking. They have to be totally in-sync. Can you imagine if they went out there having simply exchanged a few emails and hallway hellos in the days before? Disaster.
4. Always Be Classy. So you lost the game – or the account – and you’re mad. So mad you could yell, pass blame, or blow somebody off when they try to shake your hand. Don’t be like that. Show sportsmanship and give respect when earned. You never want a burn a bridge that you may need in the future.
Along the same lines, try to keep the celebration in check when you’re the champion. Winning it all is the greatest of accomplishments. Avoid celebration that shows a lack of respect for the competition.
In life, sometimes you’re the winner. Sometimes you’re the loser. Try to be a gracious person either way.