Friday, June 17, 2011

Lessons from Dallas Mavericks Championship Season

As part of the North Texas business community, I must congratulate the World Champion Dallas Mavericks on their first ever NBA championship!  In a sense, the success of the Dallas Mavericks reflects what's going on across our region and around the global economy.  Here are the top 5 lessons from the Mavs championship season:

1)  Globalization.  It's become a bit of a business cliche that today's competition doesn't come from the guy down the block so much as the from around the globe.  Never was that more true than in the NBA than in 2011, when Dirk Nowitzki, the "Big German," led the Mavs to the championship and proved to be one of the best, if not the best, player in the world.  The Mavs roster also boasts a Serbian (Paja Stojakovic), two Frenchmen (Ian Mahinmi and Rodrigue Beaubois), a Puerto Rican (J.J. Barea).  Successful businesses must be able to mold the best talent from around the world to compete on a global stage.

2)  Don't Mess With Texas.  Just as the Larry O'Brien Trophy is headed to Texas, so is much of the growth of the U.S. economy.  In the twelve months ending this April, the Texas economy has created 254,400 new non-farm jobs, representing almost 20% of all jobs created in the U.S. during that time.  See  The absence of a state income tax, the right-to-work laws discouraging unionization, and a generally friendly regulatory environment makes Texas a great place to do business, whether you are an NBA team or any other business.

3)  German Efficiency.  Just as the Mavs were rewarded by trusting in their Big German and his hard work, responsibility, and precision shooting, the U.S. political and business leaders would do well to look to the model of the German economy, the world's fourth largest, when it comes to smaller budget deficits, higher savings rate, and high quality products built with attention to detail.  Dirk's tireless work ethic to continually refine and improve his game should be an inspiration to all of us.    

4)  Teamwork Matters.  Few question that the Miami Heat's roster boasted two of the top ten players in the world, and many thought that superior talent would be decisive in the NBA Finals.  It wasn't.  The Mavs played together as a team with small egos and role players knowing their role.  You can't have success without talent, but talent alone is not enough.  Successful business leaders get buy-in from their team members and get everyone rowing in the same direction.  Teamwork matters and chemistry matters.  The 2011 Mavs proved that.

5)  "The Main Thing is to keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing."  That quote from business guru, Stephen Covey, came to mind as I watched the Mavericks tear through the 2011 NBA playoffs.  The Trailblazers were more athletic, the Lakers were more experienced, the Thunder were younger and faster, and the Heat were more talented, but the Mavs did one thing better than any team I've ever watched.  In basketball, the Main Thing is putting the basketball through the hoop.  Throughout the NBA Finals, the Mavs shot 41% from 3-point range, including 5 players who shot 36% or better from 3-point range (Nowitzki 37%, Terry 39%, Kidd 43%, Stevenson 57%, and Cardinal 67%).  Dirk shot an out-of-this-world 97.8% from the free throw line.  When you can put the ball in the basket that efficiently, you are very difficult to beat.  The Mavs did the Main Thing.              

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