Leadership Lessons from Kenny Smith and Scott Brooks

I’m not always a big fan of NBA basketball, but during the playoffs, I really enjoy watching arguably the best athletes in the world.  During a recent pregame show, two-time NBA champ and TBS analyst Kenny Smith talked about the attributes of a great professional basketball coach.  After Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal shared their thoughts, Smith talked about how well prepared Oklahoma City’s head coach Scott Brooks was for each and every practice.  O’Neal talked about respecting coaches after they had developed a track record of success and Barkley talked about coaches doing it ‘their way’.  Smith’s comments @TheJetOnTNT about coach Brooks’ habit of being extremely well prepared for every practice and how that earned him the respect of his well played and sometimes temperamental players hit a nerve.

What nerve and how does this relate to business leadership?  Just think about every meeting you lead as a ‘practice’ session.  Are you extremely well prepared?  Do you have your agenda, action items and meeting goals all documented?  Do you know exactly what you want to get out of that meeting?  Have you considered what you are going to say that is going to encourage or motivate members of your team?

Every meeting is a teaching moment.  Being prepared for each ’practice’ will not only earn the respect of everyone on your team, it will establish a culture of performance which will continue even in your absence.

Many leaders enter meetings, especially regularly scheduled meetings, without much thought and very little planning.  Look at the next two weeks of meetings on your calendar and ask yourself if you will be extremely well prepared.  Let’s take a page from the Scott Brooks leadership book and perhaps you’ll move your team closer to a championship level.

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