Never Get Too High Or Too Low in Business: The Truth Emerging From The NBA Thunder And Spurs

Thunder-SpursThe critics said the Oklahoma City Thunder were done. Cooked. Over. They had NO chance against the mighty San Antonio Spurs. The 2014 NBA playoffs were being turned over to the San Antonio Spurs on a silver platter. They were even going to run the mighty Miami Heat out of the playoffs. While the final chapter to these NBA games, have yet to be written, we can learn some important lessons from these games.

I will admit it. . .I was stunned by the absolute beating the Spurs put on the Thunder in their first two games of their now immediately classic NBA series. San Antonio won the first two games by a combined 52 points and looked like a great college team beating up on a bunch of High School Kids. But I should have known…I have seen this story in business and sports too many times. Recent examples include smart phone dominator RIM- who made the Blackberry. They were beating up the competition in the mobile market. But here we are only several years removed from their dominance and we ask ourselves what happened?

Tuesday night, the OKC Thunder rolled to their second convincing win in a row over the mighty Spurs which further illustrates my point. The pundits were wrong. Never count out a sports team or business that is capable, determined, and well-funded.

The lesson is this – in business and sports NEVER GET TOO HIGH OR TOO LOW. If you are too confident, someone more agile and motivated can knock you off. Also, you would be surprised at how quickly you can recover with the addition of a player or two to your team along with home-court advantage.

In terms of being too high – Novell is a good illustration. They once had once owned 65% of the network operating system market and were riding high. And yet today, we wonder…what happened to Novell? Their market value was once close to Ten Billion dollars. Today, it has been merged out of existence (well not quite.) On the other hand, when I joined Fusion-io, the company was in a bit of disarray, management changes everywhere, and sales were low. Three years later, the company was the darling of Wall Street as the latest IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.

Tom Seaver, the Hall of Fame baseball pitcher once said:

In baseball, my theory is to strive for consistency, not to worry about the numbers. If you dwell on statistics you get shortsighted, if you aim for consistency, the numbers will be there at the end.

Friends – things can turn quickly; fortunes ebb and flow. Avoid getting carried away by particular numbers or stats. Look long-term. Strive for consistency and remaining calm in the midst of the storm. In the playoffs – Oklahoma City got Serge Ibaka back dramatically from what was said to be a season ending injury. Other players stepped up. Russell Westbrook used a huge surge of home-court cooking together with some unbelievable shooting by NBA MVP Kevin Durrant, to turn this series completely around.

If you are discouraged in your business, don’t be. Get up and do something about it. You will be shocked at how quickly you can turn things around. Add a good programmer here and a great sales person there and you can see your fortunes turn quickly. Stay agile; make adjustments.

The Spurs looked like they were invincible- turns out they were not; deploy strategies bring on some new team players, create a new strategic vision. And do it today. It is better to make a good decision today then a perfect decision in a month.

Note – the NBA playoffs are on-going now. Your life in business is a constant playoff. You have two. three, or four chances . . .but at some point they run out if you have not been agile, smart and flexible.

Someone once said: You can’t let the highs get too high and you can’t let the lows get too low.

What are your thoughts? What lessons can you share in the comments below? Let’s have a conversation!

 

Image via USA Today


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