To be a winner ... be unselfish

586 reads

Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors was asked the reason his team defeated LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2017 NBA championship.  He answered in one word:  "Unselfish."

The NBA Finals were a feast for basketball junkies like me.  The excitement extended far beyond the games themselves.  The players put on an exhibition that demonstrated the importance of sharing the glory.

When you have a championship-caliber team and then you add another superstar like Kevin Durant to the mix, you can either implode or you can win a championship.   With all those NBA All-Stars on the court, there aren't enough basketballs to go around.

There are, if you are the Warriors.  The team embraced their star newcomer with no jealousy.  The team's sole goal was to win a championship, which they did by sharing the ball.

It doesn't hurt to have a winner like Steve Kerr leading you.  Kerr took his college basketball team, the University of Arizona, to the NCAA Final Four. He won five NBA championships as a player, three with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls and two with the San Antonio Spurs.  Now he's won two more as a coach.  

As President Harry Truman said so well:  "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit."

Being unselfish is also important in business.  It's one of the cornerstones of leadership - the willingness to sacrifice for others.  It's putting the interests of the team ahead of your own personal needs and desires.  Whether your business is basketball or ball bearings, the organizations that want to stay in business recognize that everyone has a role to play.

Steve Kerr is a master of this.  He stood in the background as his players celebrated.  He put his team first.

How many of us have worked with people who do a little of the work and want all the credit?  But then when there is a problem, they are the first to blame others.  

Being unselfish runs counter to what many people think is important to getting ahead in business.  You want to be noticed for your successes, even if others contributed to them.  You don't want your superstar image to be diminished by sharing the glory.  But that is not a winning strategy.  We much prefer to work with and for team players.

Charles William Eliot, who served as Harvard University President for 40 years, offered this wisdom:  "Be unselfish.  That is the first and final commandment for those who would be useful and happy in their usefulness.  If you think of yourself only, you cannot develop because you are choking the source of development, which is spiritual expansion through thought for others." 

If you want to follow his advice, consider these traits of truly unselfish people:  

  • They share the credit.  In giving others recognition, they acknowledge the contributions made by co-workers and set the stage for future cooperation.  They realize that setting a good example encourages others to appreciate the importance of teamwork. 
  • They truly help others.  When there are problems or setbacks, they look for ways to solve them rather than assessing blame.  They are willing to share knowledge that will be useful down the road.
  • They have others' best interests in mind.  They see the benefits of making everyone on their team successful, and then do their best to help their co-workers improve.  They understand that everyone is trying to get ahead and support their efforts.
  • They are trusted.  They keep their word.  They do what they say they will do.  People working with them know they can depend that they won't get thrown under the bus when a project goes awry.  They know they will be treated respectfully even when they disagree.  
  • They are resilient. They can accept setbacks gracefully, and understand that sometimes the biggest failures can lead to the biggest successes.  They don't point fingers, instead pointing their colleagues back on track.
  • They welcome ideas and input from others.  They realize that there is often more than one way to solve a problem, and that they do not always have all the answers.  They aren't threatened by other viewpoints.  They keep their focus on achieving the goal, not being right all the time. 

Give these ideas some serious thought - and you will be a champion in your own right.

Mackay's Moral:  It doesn't take great people to do great things, just unselfish ones.


cryptocurrency's picture

YouToken Disrupts FinTech and Crowdfunding at 2018 Global Blockchain Forum

YouToken (YTN) presented their innovative blockchain-based crowdfunding platform to over 1,400 attendees at the 2018 Global Blockchain Forum in Santa Clara, California.Dozens of promising startups attended the event with YouToken leading the way in
Ron Kaufman's picture

The Six Disruptors of Customer Experience

UP! Your Service is a global education and consulting company. We help leaders and companies all over the world achieve two primary outcomes: First, improve your customer’s experience – to help you attract customers, keep customers, generate
businessstandard's picture

Programmatic is transparent, but post-delivery: Vertoz CEO Ashish Shah

 Start-ups take faster to programmatic than regular consumer product firms, Ashish Shah tells Vanita Kohli-KhandekarIs programmatic useful from a brand building perspective?If you have to buy space in Business Standard or Times of India for 30
davecrenshaw's picture

Why “ASAP” isn’t clear communication—and what to use instead

Recently, I found myself saying the very word I’ve cautioned others against using many times. Here’s what happened. I noticed something was wrong on my website, so I reached out to my project manager, John. John’s a reliable guy and I knew he could
vsquare's picture

10 Steps for Business to be successful | Startup Success Formula | Dr Vivek Bindra

From: By Dr. Vivek Bindra: Motivational SpeakerRecommended by: vsquare10 steps tor creating a successful business. You can use these steps to be successful. In this video, Dr Vivek Bindra outlines 10 revolutionary steps for business
jackcanfield's picture

Activating the Power of the Subconscious Mind

The untapped power of the subconscious mind can lead you to new success in your personal life and business life. Discovering how to turn your thoughts into positive and implementing the law of attraction into your daily life can take you to new
pradyumnanag's picture

How is it cheaper for Google to buy Groupon than internally build something like it?

 May be covered in some answers already by some fantastic answers.Just elucidating instead of replying on each of the posts. Though I may have my own personal reservations on the business model per se, they have been able to achieve something
changethis's picture

Willpower Is an Outdated Model of Success: Here’s the Future of Self-improvement

“It’s no wonder willpower has been placed under the media spotlight as essential to success. In a negative environment, willpower’s all we have left. It’s the life-raft, the backup parachute. And we’re depending on it to save our skins. It takes a
harvardbusinessreview's picture

How to Use Employee Referrals Without Giving Up Workplace Diversity

Incentivize employees to refer more women and people of color.