Professional athletes

Warrior Wisdom for Your Talented Team

Warrior Wisdom for Your Talented Team
(Lessons from the Golden State Warriors)

by Charlotte Purvis

Disclosure: I enjoy watching sports on television – I pay close attention to the different coaching styles, the team dynamics, and the post-game interviews. The catch is that I don't know a lot about the X's and O's but I do know about the P's and Q's. Translation: I might not fully understand what happened during the controversial call, but I can use my experience as a consultant (in church, corporate, and campus settings) to analyze the coach's statement about the incident, how the athletes reacted, and whether the team moved forward or became stuck afterward.

Beginning with this BlogBlogBlog, I will occasionally share my insights on lessons we can learn from athletes and coaches about the P's and Q's of communication, teamwork, and leadership.

Attention coaches, leaders, and managers: The Golden State Warriors are providing us with some teachable moments this season. Are you taking notes? Here are three lessons and my questions for your team.   

1. Love of the game. Listen carefully to Steph Curry and the other teammates: They talk about the "love of the game of basketball." Watching the Golden State Warriors serves as a reminder that while the league is a business, basketball in its purest form is a game. That's why they play. That's why they stay. That “love of the game” can keep team members motivated during those times when they're focused on the X's and O's and P’s and Q’s but the scoreboard is showing an L.

Team analysis: Are your team members true to the game? Is it clear to everyone what the real “game” is? Do they know what you value even more than winning? Examples include: Integrity. Health. Academic excellence. Lifelong learning. Teamwork. Service. Commitment. Love of the game.

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Watching the Golden State Warriors
serves as a reminder that while the league is a business, basketball in its purest form is a game. 

2. Leadership adaptability. When Coach Steve Kerr was absent from the bench, Coach Mike Brown stepped in. He did an outstanding job with the team and I give a shout-out to Coach Kerr for that as well. That's the mark of a great leader -- even when the leader is absent, the team culture remains. Coach Kerr returned on Sunday, June 4th, and there was Coach Brown seated right next to him, in what appeared to be a seamless transition.

Team analysis: Have you given others an opportunity to lead in your absence? Did you coach them in advance, did you seek feedback about their performance, have you shared the feedback, and did you show appreciation for the contributions made? As a leader, are you helping to develop new leaders or more followers? 

3. Likeability factor. I don't know the secret formula, but the Golden State Warriors have made themselves likeable. Individual players are likeable. The team is likeable. The coaches are likeable. Join the team and your likeability factor goes up. They have found an ideal blend of humility and confidence that I suggest they package for wide distribution. What's great about this team is that they don't seem to work at it. It appears to be organic. That tells me that this blend is embedded in the selection process, it's expected, and it's modeled by the coaches.

Team analysis: In addition to the X's and O's, what lessons do you teach about the P's and Q's? About being likeable? Do you model the lessons or do you just talk about them? What type of support is provided for team members when their likeability is put to the test? 

The Golden State Warriors have blended three L's -- love of the game, leadership flexibility, and the likeability factor -- to earn a string of W’s this season. How will you use the Warrior Wisdom with your talented team?

I look forward to hearing from you. 

(Note: I will write about lessons from the Cleveland Cavaliers and other teams in future BlogBlogBlog posts.)


Banner photo: Canva
Basketball game plan: Canva