Using an NBA Strategy to Build Your Organizational Team

Jan 24th 2014

With the NBA All-Star Game just around the corner, we take a look at how an NBA lineup is an apt metaphor for describing optimal team dynamics in a professional setting.

As team collaboration within in the workplace becomes more popular and even expected, businesses and organizations are looking for ways to integrate teams into their business practices. At Adpearance, we’ve always believed in the power of teamwork and usinginternal teams to increase our efficiency. Similar to an effective NBA lineup, productive organizational teams are well-balanced groups that play to and maximize everyone’s strengths. Below, I’ll explain how a typical small-ball basketball lineup can relate directly to the structure of your next organizational team.

The Workhorse Post Player

Marc Gasol

This is the post player who gives a solid performance night in, night out. They play around 30 minutes a game, average respectable stats across the box score, and play solid defense while remaining fairly anonymous to the average spectator.

While not necessarily flashy, every team needs someone who can be relied on for a consistent work ethic.

Think

Marc Gasol quietly averaging 13 points and almost 8 rebounds over the course of his understated career with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Floor General

Chris Paul

This player is an extension of the coach on the floor. He or she controls the pace of play, communicates with every player, and keeps everyone appropriately engaged. This is the consummate leader, capable of effortlessly commanding a team and respect. In a professional setting, this is the team lead who knows exactly how to get best out of each team member.

Think

Chris Paul leading the LA Clippers as an all-star point guard, unquestioned team leader, and stable veteran presence.

Microwave Scorer

JR Smith

Typically the first player off the bench, the microwave scorer is a player who can be relied on for two things: immediate impact and unpredictable actions. Although highly skilled and capable of doing a lot of good work in a short period of time, this player needs strong leadership and guidance. Similarly, your organizational team should have a member capable of blowing through tasks and solving problems with out-of-the-box thinking. In order to get the best out of this individual, however, the team lead must establish built-in quality control functions and provide clear, consistent direction.

Think

JR Smith, a gifted player who thrives in situations with an established veteran presence.

Three and D Specialist

Almost every successful team in the NBA has at least one of these players. While somewhat limited, they have a few specialized skills that make them incredibly valuable when used appropriately. Similarly, members of organizational teams who are very proficient in two or three areas can play significant roles when used responsibly and effectively.

Think

JJ Redick, a talented shooter and defender who lacks the athleticism of other NBA athletes, but has been very effective in the LA Clippers offensive system which maximizes his specific skillset.

Jack-of-All-Trades

Andre Iguodal

Often dismissed as a backhanded compliment, these players are effective when integrated into a system that takes advantage of their versatility. These players are capable of playing starring roles occasionally, but are much more comfortable providing support to the entire team. In organizational teams, people who are capable of filling various roles with minimal fuss are invaluable.

Think

Andre Iguodala, inappropriately cast as a franchise scorer early in his career, who has since settled into a more appropriate role doing a little bit of everything with the Golden State Warriors.

Whether you’re picking a hoops team or structuring an inbound marketing team, integration, compatibility, and talent management are imperative for success. Unquestionably, talent and skill are important for every team, but managers and team leads also need to be mindful of team diversity and providing an effective working environment.

How do you structure your teams? Please feel free to leave your tips, advice, or insight in the comments below.


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