- Relationships Matter Most
- Recognize Undervalued Potential
- Rapid Iterative Change
- Be Opportunistic
- Find Leverage
- Invest in Entrepreneurs
- Maximize Strengths
For the most part, these are commonplace - even cliche - in the startup/VC communities. In today's Warriors organization, they appear to be consistent at all operational levels.Today we'll look at a key aspect of this club that makes this work both on and off the court - intelligence.
"One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes.... In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility." - Eleanor Roosevelt
We like to make fun of MJax and his catchphrases, but you would be hard pressed to find a political candidate who does a better job of staying on message. In this case, the message is a reminder that building a team is a process, not an event. Another line attributed to Roosevelt (but the gist of which was reportedly delivered by Henry Thomas Buckle sometime in the late 19th century) helps illuminate why this particular catchphrase is important:
"It's a process" - Mark Jackson
Jackson is oriented towards discussing ideas, influencing events, and motivating people. He may not have a great mind, but he's got a good one, and the correct orientation for his message. I am virtually certain he shares this orientation with Myers, Guber, and Lacob.
Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.
For the Spurs, that was Pop and Duncan, with Pop wearing two hats then hiring Buford. For Miami, it was Riley, then The Decision and hiring Spoelstra. For the Warriors, it was hiring Myers, hiring Jackson, and trading Monta for Bogut. (That we immediately flipped SJax for Jefferson certainly didn’t hurt.)
Bogut (as it happens) was an undervalued asset, an opportunity, leverages Steph and DLee as players, and is an entrepreneur with a strength of high intelligence. He’s also someone you can build a relationship with, if you respect him and he respects you. Jackson has used that strength to work with Bogut on defensive sets, instead of clashing with him. The result? Bogut has an investment at the operational level in seeing it work, and a mutual relationship with his coaching staff. Good VCs (and startups) offer a little less to make sure someone wants to work with them, as we’ve seen Myers do.
It is one of the worst feelings in the world to have your talents mis-utilized and your character misunderstood by your boss and coworkers, particularly when you actually do know better. It’s a big issue for these guys, as Skolnick points out in his article. They get reps for being aloof, or troublemakers. Rumors have predicted locker-room trouble from several players here that never materialized. Jackson’s response has been along the lines of "you don’t know my guys".
And so the perfect player to add outside of LBJ and Durant for the kind of ball you want to play and coach says "I want to work with you". And sure enough, he’s also an undervalued….etc. And he’s entrepreneurial and can see how he fits. Once you’ve signed Iguodala and extended Bogut the die is cast.
"I love playing for Mark Jackson." - Andre Iguodala
"They have a lot of really great basketball players with really high IQs." - Jordan Crawford talking about the Warriors roster.
"Talent is talent." - Stephen Curry on Jordan Crawford stepping in nearly seamlessly.