Lessons from the NBA Finals

Dotty Schaffer, June 13, 2017

By any measure, I’m not an authority on basketball, but watching the NBA Finals I couldn’t help but see lessons all of us can learn from watching these two great teams. How would your executive team do if they were playing in your championship finals?


The way the Warriors and Cavaliers teams passed the ball, moving up and down the court, constantly changing plays and firing off shots with incredible speed was nothing short of masterful. Team communication seemed more instinct than learned behavior.

Is everyone on your team aware of what others are doing and up to speed on what is needed? Are they passing the ball to leverage the skills of each other person for the good of the organization?

Do they adjust to the ever-changing circumstances in the marketplace?

Is everyone on the team playing at the same level?

Supportive Culture

There are ups and downs in every game and the Warriors and Cavaliers demonstrated loyalty, worked together to overcome challenges, and kept pushing even when they were down. At the end of the game, rivals hugged rivals, the Warriors were exuberant in their win, and the Cavaliers showed respect for the winning players. One of the most touching moments was watching Kevin Durant and his mom Wanda. No one achieves greatness by themselves.

Does your team share the wins and challenges, or point fingers and blame? Do they pump each other up and work even harder through the tough times?

Does your culture honor the family and promote life-work balance?

Watching a great match-up does us all good.

Dotty Schaffer is recognized as one of Silicon Valley’s leading recruiters and is the driving force behind a great deal of the Lonergan Partners’ best work in semiconductors, electronics, and clean tech.