Lessons from the NBA Finals

Dotty Schaffer, August 13th, 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.

Ask Yourself

  • 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

Partner, Lonergan Partners

Specialty: Public Company Boards


[email protected]

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