In business, Bring the Thunder… and the Heat
Published on June 18th, 2012 by Renee Sylvestre-Williams
Good morning! We love a good sports metaphor when talking about business. This week, our sports metaphor uses the 2012 NBA finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami heat. Marketwire’s Hector Botero, sports fan and Vice President, Emerging Markets, shares why you should treat your business like a sports team.
By Hector Botero
The 2012 NBA Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC) and Miami Heat has been dubbed “The All Weather Finals” and whoever brings the lightning is going to win the series. In business, you have to be ready for all kinds of weather and if you take a page or two from these teams, you’ll ride out the storm every time.
GIVE YOUR STARS A DEEP BENCH
It remains to be seen whether The Heat’s veteran players LeBron James, league MVP, and Dwyane Wade will get outplayed by the younger, hungrier Kevin Durant, league MVP runner-up, and Russell Westbrook of The Thunder. Game 1 went to OKC because their bench performed when it mattered.
In your business, you have your own superstars who bring in accounts or negotiate the big deals, but if your role players on the front lines don’t do their jobs – stellar customer service, flawless production, on-time delivery – sunny days can get cloudy pretty darn quick.
If you’re a one-person operation, nothing slows down progress more than an unexpected time out. When you’re sick, do you have someone who can fill in while you go to the doctor? An east coast hurricane means a delay in deliveries – got a west coast vendor who can get it to you quickly? Who are your bench players who will bring you an umbrella when it’s raining?
EVERYBODY TOUCHES THE BALL
OKC was counted out early when they were down 2-0 during their Western Conference Finals faceoff with the four-time NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs, who were on a 20-game winning streak. Analysts said ‘no way in hell’ OKC’s usual dribble-dribble-shoot mentality would work against the well-oiled Spurs machine, but some time during Game three The Thunder rolled when everybody started touching the ball, making smarter choices and assisting each other to win the next four games.
You worked hard building just the right team, but your superstars can’t carry the load for the whole company day after day. Make sure the players you have on the floor are helping each other succeed. It’s about the assist, player-to-player, not superstar-to-superstar. Whoever’s open gets the ball. Not whoever’s available but whoever has the best chance of landing the client or selling the product or getting the proverbial ball in the basket. Sometimes that’s more than one person, sometimes everybody touches the ball before the score.
If it’s just you running your business, it’s really not. Your team is external, from the delivery guy to the supply vendors and even from the babysitter to the spouse. In your case, everyone really does touch the ball, so you have to make sure every player who assists you is making smart choices when it comes to your business. When the hurricane hits, and it will, you’ll already have enough sandbags in place to keep the flooding at bay.
FORCE + ENERGY = LIGHTNING
Basketball analysts will say The Heat lost Game one because of lack of size, fatigue or strategic blunders. Sound familiar? You are small business, sometimes teeny tiny, and you’re going to get tired and you’re going to make mistakes, but it’s how you rebound when the weather turns gray that wins the small business game. Offense until you score. Defense to keep from being scored upon. One possession at a time. Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra said Game one “was not decided by schematics. It was decided by force. It was decided by will. It was decided by energy.”
So be relentless, bring the thunder … and the heat and create a lightning show on your home court.