Business, like basketball, is all about the journey
With high school championships and the NCAA tournament having
ended, plus the NBA playoffs underway, I can’t help but reflect on the
similarities I see between this passion of mine, and my experiences here at
In basketball, like both work and life, it is the journey
that matters. It goes without being said that the end result is important. But
how often do you take time to reflect upon how you got there?
I will admit upfront that I’m a basketball junkie, so much so
that at 62 years old I still play. Whether it is the local youth league, high
school, college, or the pros, I take tremendous satisfaction in coaching, watching
and playing the game! Basketball is not only a front row seat into life, but it
is a bird’s eye view into the journey that we so rarely take time to evaluate.
In basketball everyone contributes, everyone touches the
ball, everyone moves with a purpose and if you do this better than the other
team you win. Now, this may seem like a simple formula, but it is not so simple
to execute. Sometimes you nail it and other times you do not but hey, that is
If you have ever listened to famous coaches; from John
Wooden and Bob Knight, to Mike Krzyzewski or Phil Jackson,
you will notice that they all echo the same refrain. After living through various successes and
failures, they all attest to the fact that it was the journey that was so
rewarding. The coaches are not the only ones who feel this way either. I can
guarantee that if you ask any athlete, whether they play basketball or not,
they will agree with this statement.
As coach Norman Dale said, “Five players on the floor functioning as one single unit…team, team, team…no one player is more important than the other”. If you don’t know who Norman Dale is then may I suggest you watch Hoosiers.
I say again… as a team it’s the journey!
Recently, my company, DataXstream, had a very nice win. Albeit the journey to our success was much longer than anticipated, but a satisfying win nonetheless. When you break down the film that was our journey and view all the players functioning as a team you make a few key realizations. The first and most important being that no single player (or in this case employee) is important than another. Scott Walker our Vice President delivered more demos then should have been allowed but he did, and he did them well. And our developers, who weave together the customer’s data so the demo truly stands out, are to be hailed as well. Their efforts are just two examples of the simple beauty that is the journey.
I’m confident that this is the case with most companies. It does not matter what the journey is geared towards. Whether you are trying to succeed in getting your first paying customer, or maybe you and your coworkers are striving to reach a sales goal. In the end you will win or lose, but you will always remember the lessons learned in the journey.
Now that another journey is beginning, and your short-term success is in the rear-view mirror, how will your team perform? Will they continue to function as a single unit where no one player is more important than the other? Or, will some outside influence attempt creep in and cause disruption…Absolutely, count on it.
The basketball and life lessons coach John Wooden taught would fill most hard drives. One of my personal favorites is that he never spent a minute scouting his opponent. WOW! His reasoning was that if he got his team to focus on the task at hand and executing, they would be able to win. Now granted he had some of the best players in the country, but he still had to get them to buy in. He still had to teach, motivate and coach. He was convinced that if he focused on his team, their journey, then whatever outside influences came along they’d be in a position to win and win they did.
You are ONE member of a team. Focus on the task at hand and remember
you’re on a journey, enjoy it!