After a record-breaking season, winning an improbable 67 games, the Warriors have advanced in the playoffs and will face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the NBA Championship.
What a year . . . they started the season with a brand new coaching staff, a few new players, some injuries and a lot of uncertainty. We were hopeful, yet no one saw this coming. But don’t underestimate the power of owners with vision, goals and deep pockets. These guys have made it clear they are interested in not just winning, but building a dynasty.
What we can learn from the Golden State Warriors about running a business:
- You need a management team that’s smart enough to hire the very best and let them do their jobs.
- Hire the GM who’s so good he just won the 2015 Executive of the Year. Bob Myers, a former player and agent, understands the game on many levels. The architect of excellent trades over several seasons, he has assembled a group of fierce competitors who play with heart and chemistry. Best of all, these are high-character guys with families who are involved in their communities. No rap sheets or 2am shootouts. Instead, we’ve got some wonderful role models for a lot of kids who look up to athletes.
- Trust your guts and hire a coach who’s never coached. Steve Kerr–a savvy basketball guy who’s played on four championship teams and learned from some of the best coaches in the league. He also spent some time as a broadcaster, but he’d never coached in his life. But Kerr’s a smart guy—he knew enough to hire smart, seasoned assistant coaches to make up for what he didn’t know. The result? A superbly team that continued to improve as the season evolved.
- Every team needs a clutch player. The amazing Steph Curry—the team’s superstar and a magician of a basketball player. When the team was struggling, Steph performed.
- It’s all about the team with a promise of success. Kerr & Co. introduced a new offense that required total buy-in from the team. Selfless ball that leaves no room for grandstanding—this is not Kobe Bryant basketball; forget individual stats—think about playing together as a team and winning. The seduction: picture yourself wearing a championship ring.
- Defense wins games. The Warriors got serious about defense this year, thanks to defensive wizard, Ron Adams. We watched this team become some of the best defenders in the league.
- Never stop improving. Much has been made of the strong work ethic of all of these players—and this is what it takes. We watched all of these guys grow over the course of the season–each committed to playing his personal best.
- Look to the future. Still a relatively young team with some serious talent, the future for the Warriors looks very bright, indeed. There’s a slick new stadium to look forward to. They’ve also overcome a major hurdle this year—changing a mindset that a jumpshooting, nuanced team can’t make it to the playoffs and win. It’s time for Charles Barkley to wake up and realize that basketball has changed. It’s not just about a bunch of big guys duking it out in the paint. The Warriors are playing a new brand of basketball—and it’s clearly working.
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