The Law of Lebron
Watching this year’s NBA playoffs was disappointing (to say the least) as a Toronto Raptors fan, but ultimately there were lessons to be learned from watching all those games – not just in basketball, but in business as well. One of those is that you’ve always got to close the deal and the other is what I call the Law of LeBron. It’s always tempting to believe that one superstar player is going to single-handedly win the championship or that an incredibly talented individual or a sensational department is going to carry the whole company to success. But the Law of Lebron confirms those things aren’t true and that it takes a well balanced team or company to win the day.
Boston and Houston were each within a heartbeat of an appearance in the finals but they couldn’t close the deal. They each had a moment in game seven when they could have put the game and the series out of reach for the Cavaliers and the Warriors respectively. But they couldn’t finish.
There are so many times in business when you need the extra effort to perfect a design, to find a solution, to think out of the box, to deliver a little sooner or to make the sale. Take your foot off the pedal and you open the door to failure. There’s lots of stuff going on every day and it can be easy to lose focus or to be convinced that 80% is good enough. The caster business is incredibly competitive. Forget about having to beat one other team. There are many, many companies that would be only too happy to scoop up what we leave unfinished. Our success has been built on always going the extra mile for our customers. Whether that’s manufacturing and delivering 72,000 casters in 45 days or designing the caster that finally solves a nagging ergonomic problem, we are always finishing.
LeBron played brilliantly making highlight reel plays that were often unbelievable and setting playoff records in about a dozen categories. But clearly it wasn’t enough and this year’s playoffs demonstrated that one player, even the best player of a generation, doesn’t make a team and can’t deliver the ultimate win.
How many times have you seen the hotshot salesperson who is convinced that he alone is responsible for the company’s good fortunes and the people in planning, production and fulfillment don’t do anything special? What’s even worse is the opposite situation – a company that has pinned all its hopes on one person. What’s true of individuals is also true of departments. Apple’s design team may have basked in the limelight, but without engineering, production and marketing expertise, they would have had great looking technology that never got to market and didn’t work. At Algood, we have learned that it takes a well-balanced company with a team of contributors to achieve success.
The Law of LeBron also applies to the iron triangle of pricing, quality and timing that I wrote about last month. We are proud that our customers don’t have to sacrifice any one of those to get the other two but we also realize that each of those components contributes equally to our success. If you think that great pricing in the absence of a quality product is going to save your butt, think again. Many years ago I was at the Neocon furniture show and there was a vendor taking orders for office chairs at an advertised price that was a fraction of any other supplier. It turned out that he couldn’t deliver the chars at that price and what he was really doing is collecting business cards. He’s not in business today.
For us, one of the benefits of having an integrated manufacturing facility is that everyday we are reminded that every one of our teams contributes to our success. While it’s tempting for the engineers and designers or the guys in the tool and die area or the injection moulding operators or even me as the President, to think that our contribution is the greatest, it ‘s just not true.
The Law of LeBron proves that the recipe for success includes a large helping of humility and a holistic, balanced, team approach in order to guarantee success. Perhaps more than any of his contributions to basketball, what we should really be thanking LeBron for is an important business and life lesson.