Basketball vs. Soccer

Basketball lends itself to superstars.  Superstars can carry a team to victory – regardless of the team that surrounds him.  How many times have we seen Michael Jordan or Lebron James take over a game in the fourth quarter and lead their team to victory?

Soccer tends to be less about the superstar and more about the weakest link.  Sure, soccer has it’s fair share of superstars – Lionel Messi, Pele, Maradona – but the spotlight for these stars tends to be fewer and farther between.  Instead, it’s about the weakest link.  If you focus on the superstar, you won’t make it very far.

You need to have a supporting cast that can lend a hand – on a bad team, there is a chance a superstar may never be able to touch the soccer ball.  And even when he gets it – it’s unrealistic they can dribble the length of the field all by themselves to score a goal.  Goals like this are very rare.

In basketball, Lebron or MJ gets a chance to touch the ball every time down the floor on offense.  Sure you can double and triple team them, but even that isn’t going to prevent it.

In business – we approach it like basketball.  We look for the superstars and then just build the rest of the team out later.  We think if we can just hire that one executive – he will be able to cure all ills.  We coddle our superstars.  We let them dictate too much.  We allow them special treatment compared to the others.  And this can have ripple effects.

When a customer has a bad experience because of a weak team member, does it matter how many superstars are on your team?  Or is it more important that we tighten up the weak link and make sure they feel like a valued team member?

Who is more likely to taint a customers experience and damage your brand?  The superstars or the weakest link?

Building a lasting business over the long term is more like soccer.  It’s about tightening up the weakest link.  Unlike basketball, it’s not about the superstar.



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