Teamwork is just as important in the business world as it is in basketball. The obvious team skills aside, basketball offers several other lessons to business people. There are many physical and mental mindsets that can be translated from basketball to the workplace, and here are the big ones.
Don’t Play "Hero Ball"
Let’s look at the most successful basketball team in the last 20 years: the San Antonio Spurs. Greg Popovich, the coach, is known to stress the ball movement and teamwork, compared to other teams who solely rely on “hero ball” – when the team depends on one person to do all the scoring. Ball movement and teamwork is what has made the Spurs the best franchise in the last 16 years.
This same tactic, teamwork, should be used throughout the work place. It can be tempting for an employee to continuously take on project on project by themselves, but ultimately the employee will burn out. However, the employees that work together, listen, and take advice from each other will be the ones that excel and make the biggest difference for their company.
A hustle play is when a player executes key performances that affect the outcome of games, like taking a charge or poking a ball loose. These don’t show up on the stat sheet, but every great basketball team has had hustle players; the Bulls had Dennis Rodman and the Warriors have Draymond Green. Without these players the Bulls and Warriors might have not set historic records.
Similarly, in the workplace, we need to strive to be the person who gives it their all in crunch time no matter how tired they are or how unexciting the work may be. Eventually, this is the employee that the boss looks to be their anchor in hard times, this is the employee that becomes essential to a company’s success.
Learning to be a good defensive player is one of the hardest, but most rewarding skills. Coaches teaching you defense will stress patience, and, most importantly, they teach you to watch body movements such as foot placement to avoid being distracted by ball fakes by opponents.
Work can be overwhelming; employees may start panicking when multiple items might need their attention. When these situations arise it is important to take a step back and focus on accomplishing one task at a time. Jumping from task to task can cause too many unwanted distractions and can cause you to get crossed up. Remember to focus on the larger goal, take everything one step at a time. Limiting distractions can only lead to success!
Mental Toughness and Work Ethic
Often, mental toughness and work ethic are traits overlooked by coaches when building a team or drafting a player. Having a team that is giving it their all and doesn’t give up is important because it will lead to success. Let’s look at one of the greatest comebacks in playoff history: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers in the 2008 NBA finals, Boston is down 24 points to start the 3rd quarter and the game seems lost to most people. However, the Celtics stayed mentally tough and went on a 21-3 run to take the lead heading into the 4th quarter where they finally won. They went on to win the series 4-2 and earned their 17th championship.
Work can get mentally exhausting when you have a lot of tasks to accomplish and you will be tempted to give up. However, it’s important to stay tough and chip away at the work. Remember that you’re part of a team; working hard every day will not only benefit you, but your company and your co-workers as well.