Shane Battier has been a part of winning teams his entire life. In high school, he was voted “Mr. Basketball” as the best player in the state of Michigan and led Detroit Country Day to three straight state championships. In college, Battier continued the winning tradition at Duke University by winning the 2001 National Championship and picking up every national player of the year award. In the NBA, he helped rebuild the Memphis Grizzlies from the worst franchise in pro sports to a playoff team. He then played a critical role in leading the Miami Heat to back-to-back NBA world championships. Shane Battier is a winner who knows a thing or two about building high-performing cultures.
For all of those reasons and many more, I was honored that Shane shared these thoughts about my new book Thermostat Cultures,
“There is a common desire to be part of something larger than ourselves. In a team setting, culture is the glue that brings together like minded individuals, for better or worse. Perennial losing cultures have indifference to communication, accountability, and grit. Strong winning cultures promote these values as the lifeblood of their journey. Jason Barger’s proactive spirit and message is foundational.” – Shane Battier
I spent some time with Shane recently in Miami, Florida to connect about our journeys and about the power of building culture and setting the temperature with the groups and teams in our lives. Below are some highlights from our discussion and his answers to a few questions:
Q: THE MIAMI HEAT WON 2 NBA CHAMPIONSHIPS AFTER HAVING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO EXIST WITH SO MANY STARS ON ONE TEAM? WHY DID THE CULTURE OF THE TEAM SHIFT?
A: Every single person on the team, from LeBron James on down, sacrificed money, years on their contract, shots, or other opportunities to be there. We knew that going in. We chose to be there. Everyone could look each other in the eye and know we sacrificed to be there. Legendary Coach Pat Riley always talks about the “disease of me” that corrupts all teams. When you have success, people tend to over-emphasize their contribution. When things go bad, they tend to look elsewhere for blame. We stayed focused on our commitment to each other.
Q: ICONIC COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI AT DUKE HAS BEEN A MASTER OF GAINING ALIGNMENT WITH HIS TEAMS. WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT CULTURE FROM PLAYING FOR HIM?
A: We talked about ownership. He was the first one that would always say that this isn’t his school or his program. He would stress that it is our school and our program, but you have to make it what you want it to be. So we talked about those things. As a result, when you have a vested interest in the outcome you are more accountable to yourself and those around you.
Q: I TALK ABOUT THE 6 A’s OF LEADING CHANGE AND THE PROCESS IT TAKES TO BUILD CULTURE. NOT EVERY TEAM OR GROUP HAS A GOOD CULTURE. WHAT EXPERIENCE WOULD YOU SHARE ABOUT THE DISCIPLINE TO BUILD A WINNING CULTURE?
A: When I played for the Memphis Grizzlies, they had been the worst team in pro sports. Coach Hubie Brown gathered us together and said, “We’re building something here. I don’t care if we lose every game in the first half of the season because we are going to be a handful by the second half and then we’re going to make the playoffs next year.” We went back into training camp mode to rebuild and reinvent our habits and set a new culture for the team. It was a longer-term process, and you know what, it worked.
Q: EXPERTS OFTEN SAY THAT TALENT TRUMPS EVERYTHING. WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT LESS TALENTED TEAMS THAT WIN?
Talent gets you in the front door, but everything else gets you on the dance floor. All things being equal, talent wins. But all things are very rarely equal. So building cultures of accountability, communication and grit make the difference.
Thank you to Shane Battier for his inspiring words about Thermostat Cultures and building engaged and inspired teams. I’ve admired his leadership from afar for many years and am honored to have his friendship and support. Learn more about Shane and the inspirational work he’s doing with his foundation at www.TakeChargeFoundation.org
What temperature will you set with the groups in your life?
Jason Barger is the globally celebrated author of Step Back from the Baggage Claim, ReMember and the new book Thermostat Cultures, as well as a coveted keynote speaker and leadership consultant. More importantly, he’s striving to be an above average father, husband, and friend.
Follow on Twitter @JasonVBarger and learn more at JasonVBarger.com
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