3 Lessons from the NBA Finals to Apply to Your Employee Training Program

Sports fans everywhere were blessed to witness the epic rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors in this year’s NBA Finals. The series featured superstars doing super things, strikingly entertaining finishes, and a showdown of the league’s two best in Steph Curry and LeBron James. Even casual sports fans found themselves enamored by what will be remembered as one of the greatest championship series in sports history.

Not only was the series entertaining, it was enlightening as well. There are several lessons we can learn from the series that we should apply to our approach to employee training. Here are three:

1) Leading By Example – “King” James

LeBron James is arguably one of the greatest players of all time. What’s more, he’s undoubtedly the most experienced and tested leader in today’s NBA. Despite having a relatively young roster stacked with comparatively inexperienced players, the Cavaliers played with a swagger that starts and ends with James. LeBron leads with confidence, and more than that leads by example.

Every manager can learn from this. When you’re tasked with not only leading employees but teaching them as well, one of the best ways to do this is by example. Doing so will not only increase employee productivity, it will create a culture of confidence in the workplace as well.

 

2) Changing Your Approach – Tyronn Lue’s Adaptive Coaching Style

One of the most interesting storylines in this year’s Finals surrounded the coaching matchup. Cleveland’s Tyronn Lue and Golden State’s Steve Kerr have each proven themselves to be basketball masterminds, resulting in a back-and-forth chess-match of sorts.

In the first two games, Golden State’s small-ball offensive strategy and pesky, active defense slowed LeBron James and the rest of the Cavs. Tyronn Lue responded brilliantly, counteracting Golden State’s decreased size by going big, allowing Cleveland back into the series and ultimately giving the Cavs the upper hand.

When it comes to training and management, we should be disciplined and consistent. That said, there will inevitably be times when we have to alter our way of thinking so that we can make the adjustments necessary to adapt to situations and ultimately accomplish our goals. It’s critical to remember that we’re dealing with people, and every person is unique in their own right. Discipline is important, but sometimes we need to think differently and act reactively in order to reach those who may not be moved by traditional teaching methods.

3) Role Specialization – Cleveland’s NBA Finals “Role Management

Many would agree that the Golden State Warriors are a better team than the Cavaliers. If that’s the case, then how did the Cavs manage to dispatch the Warriors in Game 7? How did Cleveland dethrone Golden State?

What makes Cleveland so good is its focus on “role management.” Other than LeBron, each member of the Cavs knows his exact role on the team. This role clarity allows Tyronn Lue to devise an efficient and effective game plan, one that the Warriors simply couldn’t mirror.

“Role management” is just as important in the work place. Identifying and assigning specific “roles” for each employee allows them to develop areas of expertise. This expertise results in “automatic” solutions, and allows said employee to focus more energy on other assignments. This “role management” can be done through writing a workplace guide, or through apps like “WalkMe.” Using these methods can easily simplify task-assignment.

Read about employee development plan examples to gain more tools to achieve your goals.

 

Jason Silver
Jason is the Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog. Jason established the Training Station blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to training, learning and development.
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