Wednesday, July 14, 2010

LeBron James and Your Business

It was amazing to see all of the buzz that the recent free agency of LeBron James has created in the sporting world, but it is also interesting to evaluate the corollaries between the Lebronathon and the marketing small businesses try to engage in.  Here are two takeaways your business can learn from the LeBron James decision:

1) Let Your Excellence Demand Attention-

LeBron James was able to do something that most small business owners wish they could do, command the attention of the world.   It is amazing that one player was able to get the number 1 sports media outlet to change their scheduling and allow him to make his announcement on their station.  Now it is highly unlikely for you to be able to get your product on CNN, Fox Business or other major media outlet today, but there is a lesson to be learned from LeBron.  Be excellent and your excellence will put you in a position to get the attention that you need.  LeBron had measurables (key statistical figures) in his field that put him as arguably the best available player in this year’s free agent class.  Because of that he was able to demand and get attention.  Make sure that as you develop your product or service, you have a way to demand attention because you have the “stats” to back up your excellence.  Something that will allow people to see why they need you.

2) Improve Your Management and Retain Key Employees-

LeBron James leaving Cleveland was a great blow to the fans of Cleveland and to the Cavaliers organization.  Almost instantly, LeBron James was converted from a hero to public enemy number one.  But much of the blame for LeBron’s departure has to be placed squarely on the feet of management.   Dan Gilbert and his management team simply did not put a team around LeBron James that put him in a position to win a championship and it did not appear that they had the capacity to do so.  Furthermore, following LeBron’s very public departure, Mr. Gilbert wrote a letter that appeared more apt for a bitter 13-year-old ex-girlfriend or boyfriend than a high profile company owner.  That letter could significantly impact how future star player perceive his management style, role as an owner and how he treats players.  What are you doing in your business to ensure that you indispensible employees stay with the organization?  What are their opportunities to meet their goals?  What ARE their goals?  Also, if someone does leave, what signal are you allowing to be sent to current and future employees?  Make sure that your properly and respectfully manage your organization.

The business of sports can provide many examples of general business principles… What examples do your see?

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