POINT TO PONDER
A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don't have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.
This past Tuesday the Golden State Warriors won their first world championship in 40 years. Much has been written of their chemistry, their teamwork, and their resolve. It was certainly put to the test earlier in this series as the team was down 2-1 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and arguably the best player on the planet, LeBron James. LeBron was getting the best of the Warriors, forcing them to play the Cavaliers game, which was slower and more physical as the Cavaliers were composed of physically bigger players than the Warriors.
There was a crucial moment in the series after the Warriors second straight defeat. Their coach, Steve Kerr, was contemplating the loss when his special assistant, Nick U’Ren, recommended that in the next game that Steve swap out Andrew Bogut (who was a formidable defensive presence but also bigger and slower) for Andre Iguodala (who was faster but hadn't started a game during the regular season or played much in the finals).
Now Steve Kerr could have easily dismissed his assistant, even taken offense at a subordinate making a recommendation without his provocation, but he did exactly the opposite: he listened and considered it. And after giving it some thought, he realized their original game plan wasn't working and his assistant was on to something - what if they got faster on the court and forced the Cavaliers to play at their pace, which was a faster style of play?
So the next game, Kerr put in Andre Iguodala for Andrew Bogut and sure enough, the game picked up and the Warriors went on to win. Steve Kerr kept Andre Iguodala in for the rest of the series and with him on the court, the Warriors would go on to win the next two games and the World Championship.
If you're wondering how effective Andre Iguodala was after being put in game four, you only have to look to who was named the most valuable player of the entire series. Yes, it was Andre Iguodala.
There are a few lessons about management that we can learn from Steve Kerr:
1. Always be open to ideas - If Steve Kerr was wrapped up in his position, his title, or the losses; he might not have even considered Nick U'ren's idea to swap out Bogut for Iguodala. Steve Kerr apparently has an open door policy at his office where anyone he works with has his ear. He's open to their ideas. He may not always take them, but he considers them. It's this openness that allowed him to be in position to receive Nick U'ren's idea which ultimately turned the series around and led to their championship.
2. Don't be afraid to change something if it isn't working - Steve Kerr could have kept trotting out the same line up as he had all season. After all, it was a proven formula. The line up with Bogut had gotten them to the Finals in the first place and he could have stuck to it even though it was evident they were struggling. He didn't. On the game's highest stage, Kerr was not afraid to shake things up and try a different approach. That takes fortitude, guts, and in the end it helped Golden State secure its first championship in 40 years.
3. Give credit where it's due - Steve Kerr could have also kept all the glory for himself, and claimed that he came up with the idea of subbing Bogut for Iguodala. He did not. In a press conference after winning game four, Kerr credited his assistant with the idea and praised him for the suggestion. Steve Kerr is smart enough to surround himself with smart people and credit them as such. That's the kind of boss I'd want to work for and the type of management that breeds champions.