While Miami Heat fans can spend the summer basking in the glory of an NBA championship businesses can learn some very valuable lessons from the Heat’s championship run and start putting them into practice to build their own internal championship team.
There are three major lessons businesses can learn from the Miami Heat:
Lesson #1: High touch work environments enhance success and there is neuroscience to prove it. Miami built team chemistry as the season wore on and their 3 top players (LeBron James Dwayne Wade & Chris Bosch) finally gelled in the postseason and became high touch with one another. Celebrating assists and baskets with high fives fist bumps hugs as well as supporting each other by lending a hand to literally pick a teammate up off the floor after taking a charge.
Corporate Takeaway: An environment of frequent interpersonal contact and open in person communication builds an environment of trust which facilitates team synergy. Technology while convenient is not an effective substitute for a genuine human connection.
Lesson #2: Experience in the spotlight counts for a lot… Miami has championship game experience and learned a lot from their championship loss to Dallas last year. Contrast this with the Oklahoma Thunder which is a expansion franchise and lacking championship game experience on the biggest stage. My lacrosse team (and staff) lacked championship game experience in 2002 when we lost in the NCAA Final Four to the eventual National Champions so I know from experience how important (and overlooked) this factor truly is.
Corporate Takeaway: When the pressure is on with something like a new product launch or hitting the 4th quarter sales goals having experience to reflect on and use as a learning tool enables you to tweak or adjust strategy and preparation to facilitate better results.
Lesson #3: Playing to win vs.Playing not to lose. LeBron James for perhaps the first time in his professional career was truly present in the moment, tuning out the critics and playing to win as opposed to worry about what the media and fans thought which made him play not to lose in the past.
Corporate takeaway: Distraction adversely affects preparation and performance. You need to be the your own judge and jury of what constitutes successful performance. Warren Buffet calls this his internal scoreboard.
What has been most overlooked by the media was the masterful job Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra did managing the confluence of egos and talent on his squad while coaching them with subtle messages of strategy and game plan. He became a leader with the ego strength to consciously step back and stay out of the way his players. This enabled them to have ownership, brought out their creativity and allowed them to play to their strengths. A lesson every leader in any industry can benefit from because coaching in the workplace is even more important than on the athletic field. In the sport of business every day is game day.