5 Things Gregg Popovich Teaches Us About Business Management
So here we are post Easter and it’s time when so many of us dust off our Stephen Covey books get out a blank piece of paper or fire up OneNote. Why? to consider what great business management principles we should be adopting as a kick start to our yer.
What guidance can professional sport offer us, a fickle industry often beset by infantile behavior too much money and chronic short-termism ?
I think we can learn something from coaches likes Gregg Popovich who in case you didn’t know is the head coach of the National Basketball Association’s San Antonio Spurs. Lessons that we can all apply every day in our own organisations.
- Attention to Detail – Pop learnt his trade from one of the all time great basketball coaches. Larry Brown saw himself as a teacher who had a remarkable coaching career that spanned three decades winning more than 1,000 professional games. It proved that being able to execute on the small things consistently well really does count. It has a cumulative effect on what results an organisation can expect and the reputation it develops.
- Passion – Is important but on it’s own not enough to ensure success. To establish a successful business or win three NBA Championships and two Coach of the Year Awards a leader needs to align their passion with values and a plan to ensure a success that is repeatable.
- Vision and Direction – Great coaches and business management leaders understand that a vision is not a buzzword but a statement of the organisations core purpose, something that should not change. At the same time they need to embrace strategies tactics and new practices that adapt to changing circumstances. Winning a title means embarking on an 82 plus game season which gives Pop the opportunity to lose a battle but end up winning the war. A reality many business people seem to forget.
- Team Builder – Pop demonstrates that to be successful means building a team over an extended period of time something Covey called the “Law of the Farm”. In a professional basketball context this means a back office lieutenant like GM RC Buford key coaches and a playing roster that accept him as the leader. The players know that he will give them an opportunity to perform to keep the team winning whilst being developed into better players. Pop is known for having a frank and honest relationship with all his players – especially the high performers.
- Character – Being strong enough to make a decision is a test of character for leaders coaches and managers in every team. Balancing short term business management expediency with what is best for the organisation long term is something that Pop has demonstrated on many occasions.
In the European context Gregg Popovich would join the likes of Alex Ferguson and Dave Brailsford as leaders who seem to be able to put themselves in a position to see beyond next week and over the horizon.
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