Is it the pass that sets up the basket, more commonly referred to as the assist?  Which is a key stat tracked in the box score and is cited by agents in negotiating new contracts for point guard?  (This is also tracked in hockey; do they track this in soccer?)

Or is it the pass (or passes) that set up the pass that sets up the basket?  The greatest teams in basketball (Celtics with Bill Russell, the Knicks in early 70s, the Bulls and Lakers under Phil Jackson) were masters of the pass that sets up the pass that sets up the basket and were celebrated for it.

When watching your team (your company) and coaching them, are you looking for the business equivalent of the pass that sets up the pass that sets up the basket?  Probably not.  Most businesses operate more like golf teams than basketball or soccer teams.  People are focused only on their own ball and only setting up their own next shot

I’ve been reading Phil Jackson’s great book  Eleven Rings.  In it he tells about how he coached the Bulls and the Lakers to 11 NBA Championships.  Although it includes a little bit about the triangle offense, the book is largely devoid of any chalk talk.  Mostly it details the relationships between the stars of those two teams and the constant attention Jackson paid to creating a sense of awareness between them all.

Awareness of the objectives of the offense (strategic plan) and awareness of how everyone’s actions impacted and reacted to each other in playing the game (execution).   Only then could the players on the Bulls and the Lakers find and execute the pass that sets up the pass that sets up the basket so regularly that it empowered them to win 11 NBA championships and dominate the league.

I anticipate more blog posts detailing what I’ve learned reading Eleven Rings.

In the meantime, if you want your team to set up the pass that sets up the basket here are a couple of questions for you:

  • Is your team aware of your strategic plan? Do you even even have a strategy or strategic plan?  (If you don’t your company is a golf team.)
  •  Are your team members aware of what other members actually do, and how it is done well, and how it impacts their actions?  (If not your team is again playing golf)
  •  Should your team be playing golf or basketball (hockey/soccer)?