I’m an avid sports fan. During this NBA postseason, It’s been exciting to watch star players and role players alike take the key shot to either send their team to the next round, or preserve their championship hopes. What’s interesting is that in my years of watching sports, I have noticed that winning sports teams have mastered something that many in the business world have trouble practicing sometimes – trust. In sports, it’s trust that separates a winning team from a losing team. In business, it’s trust that separates a successful department/organization from an underachieving one.
Take the Miami Heat as an example. They have won the NBA Championship two years in a row and are currently about to pursue a third straight championship. They have the best player of his generation in Lebron James. You would think that as the best player, every final play would include Lebron trying to make the game winning shot. However, in the final seconds of Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, Lebron went to take the game winning shot and missed on his first attempt. Chris Bosh after rebounding the ball could have given it back to Lebron to try again, despite being closely guarded. Instead, Chris Bosh and ultimately, Lebron decided to trust in their teammate’s abilities. That’s when this happened:
They trusted Ray Allen to do what he’s always been good at – shooting 3 point shots. That trust led the Heat to avoid losing Game 6, en route to their second championship in a row.
Business departments and organizations function in a similar way to a championship team. You will always have a few star players – people who might have the most charisma, the “it” factor, leading the charge, etc. You might even aspire to be one of those star players. Regardless of your situation, your team will not succeed if you “hog the ball” and try to do everything by yourself. Everyone has certain unique skills that you won’t have – that’s why you hired them in the first place. You’ll find that you will be more successful, both individually and as a team, if you trust the other members to be good at their job.
If you’re a good speaker, but struggle presenting numbers, trust that the data analysts on your team will do a better job communicating numbers than you. Let them present that portion of your presentation. It’s not you admitting weakness; it’s actually having the leadership to put your team and the individual members in the best position to win collectively. Because at the end of the day, whether you make the winning shot or your teammate makes it, a win is a win. And the more you trust, the more you win.