Money Matters: 5 qualities of an all-star executive team
This weekend, Utah plays host to the NBA All-Star Game, and all eyes are on the amazing lineup of players participating in this year’s event. The 2023 list highlights players from the best teams in the NBA, including great defenders, power forwards, offensive leaders and stellar 3-point shooters. With the best of the best on each team, NBA All-Star games are always one of the year’s hottest tickets.
Can that same winning strategy of building the perfect basketball team translate into creating an all-star executive team? Certainly! By building on your players’ strengths, thriving under pressure, staying focused, spotlighting teamwork and keeping the momentum going, you too can coach up a championship-winning executive team.
Build on your players’ strengths
We can’t discuss the best basketball teams of all time without mentioning the Chicago Bulls. With a record of 72-10 and a winning percentage of .878, the 1995-96 season was a stellar year for the Bulls and basketball in general. However, many forget the challenges the Bulls faced at the beginning of the season. Star shooting guard Michael Jordan was returning to the court after missing the most of two seasons to play baseball. Many wondered whether he could still deliver. Add the off-color and often brash Dennis Rodman, recently traded from the San Antonio Spurs, and the Bulls needed the right approach for bringing diverse players together.
Coach Phil Jackson expected greatness from his players, and they delivered. Rodman averaged 14.9 rebounds per game while Jordan averaged 30.4 points per game over the course of the season. Not to be outdone, Scottie Pippen led the team with 150 3-pointers that season. Any doubt that Jackson had pulled together the right team for the job was eliminated after their incredible fourth championship run.
Like Jackson, an organizational leader who understands the strengths of his players can leverage those skills and lead his team to big wins for the company. A true leader isn’t afraid of change and recognizes the power in diversity on the team, welcoming ideas, input and fresh perspectives from all team members.
Thrive under pressure
One of the most followed teams in modern NBA annals is the Golden State Warriors. With six NBA championships, they certainly deserve to be called one of the best teams of all time.
What makes them such a winning team? They thrive under pressure. With players like Stephen Curry consistently sinking incredibly deep 3-pointers, this team continuously “brings the rain” when it comes to delivering wins. Tied for third for the most NBA championships, this franchise still holds the best single-season playoff run on record, going 16-1 en route to the 2016-17 title.
Every team is going to experience some form of pressure. It’s what you do with that pressure that sets you apart from the competition. Can you sink half-court shots, or do you crumble under the stress? All-star team members support one another and build upon each others’ strengths, ensuring a win for everyone.
Though every NBA team strives to win, the 1986 Boston Celtics came to WIN, eventually reclaiming their championship from a loss the previous year. With a starting bench that included seven eventual NBA All-Star players, they dominated the regular season. Larry Bird, dubbed the best basketball player in the world in ’86, statistically did not deliver his best season ever. However, by putting the team first, he often chose to pass to an open player rather than always shooting himself, allowing others to score and maintaining their winning streak. In fact, Bird averaged 6.8 assists per game that season.
In order to have an all-star team, you must have a common goal to work toward. Like the ’86 Celtics, your executive team needs to understand the mission and vision of the organization and work together to achieve those goals. No matter the roadblocks, issues or challenges that arise, the team that stays focused can deliver winning results for the entire organization.
While individual players often shine on a team, the true power in an all-star team is teamwork. A close-to-home story of teamwork involves power duo John Stockton and Karl Malone. Malone and Stockton first met in 1984 at the Olympic trials. While neither player made the final team, a solid friendship was formed. Stockton joined the Jazz later that year, with Malone being drafted the year after.
Avid Jazz fans are well aware of the incredible teamwork these two display. Stockton still leads the NBA for the most career steals — a whopping 3,265 in his 19 seasons. He is also the NBA career leader in assists (15,806), as well as holding the records for most assists in a single 82-game season at 1,164. And who did Stockton thread beautiful passes to most frequently? The answer, in resounding fashion, is Malone. In one three-season stretch near the end of their careers, Stockton-to-Malone assists still averaged 225.3 per season.
For a team that delivers, facilitate teamwork. Reward assists. Encourage and support team members who work well together. Provide opportunities for new combinations of team members to work together. Who knows? You might discover the next Stockton and Malone.
Keep the momentum going
Already have a winning team? How do you keep the momentum going? The 2000-01 L.A. Lakers faced this exact dilemma. Coming off a championship win the previous year, the Lakers could have simply rested on their laurels. However, every winning team knows that there is always more to be achieved and room for additional growth. With players like Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal at the helm, the team went nearly undefeated in the 2001 playoffs. How many championships have the Lakers garnered? Since 1949, they have won 17 titles, tied for the most in NBA history with the Boston Celtics.
Team members who exude the qualities of drive, selflessness and hard work can help motivate others on the team, leading them to successes they never dreamed possible. Strong leadership also helps keep the momentum moving forward, building on achievements from the past.
Ready to bring home that championship trophy? Design an all-star team that builds upon each team member’s strengths, thrives under pressure, stays focused, spotlights teamwork and has the ability to keep the momentum going. With these key plays, your team is sure to win!
Peter Ord is the founder of GUIDEcx, a client implementation and onboarding project platform based in Lehi.