Slow and Steady Works Again

AppleMarkMasai

Slow and steady. It is the way we like to do things at TempPro and it also applies to my two main interests outside of business which are Toronto sports and Investing.  While we may or not be with you for the long term, we want our impact to last.

As for our Toronto hockey and basketball teams, I have lately found the offseason and the building process almost as fascinating as the play itself. Yesterday, the Toronto Raptors made the Conference Finals for the first time ever and it was the culmination of 4-5 years of steady improvement. There is still work to be done and frankly I am rushing to get this online before they meet the force of nature called LeBron James. But I find some admirable management philosophy in the methods of Masai Ujiri and Dwane Casey.

Slow and Steady. Could another word for this be Stability? Let’s look at the relationship between the GM and his coach. First, he did not even hire him, so to scapegoat and axe him along the way would have been considered standard industry practice. But instead he worked with him, supported him and provided enough rope to fail or be successful. Guess what; he responded with 5 straight seasons of incremental Improvement. (23-34-48-49-56 wins). How many other teams have had 3 or 4 coaches in that period?  This style lets you follow “Kaizen”, continuous improvement, constantly learning, growing, keeping what works and replacing what doesn’t.

Build on what you have. No situation is a total loss. The responsibility of an incoming leader is to assess what he or she has to work with. You inherit products, patents, people, brand equity, customer relationships just on the Sales and Marketing side. You could argue that the Toronto Raptors were the previous manager’s team. 4/5 top players were acquired by trade or drafted by Bryan Colangelo as well the coach was hired by him. But it was the constant improvements by Masai that made the difference. In the end he had to change less than he originally thought to achieve top 5 status. Now, it may be to get to the final finish line, it will require a more radical line-up adjustment, but it will be from a base of 3-4 years of improvement with stability and thus have a bigger chance of success.

Treat your Team with Respect. The team’s two key players have been great regular season players but had not delivered in previous play-off appearances. The awareness of how to win that so many champions exhibit was not there. Yet Coach Casey never wavered in his confidence and in the end they came through. Every player on the team had a well defined role and sometimes it was second unit that won the game. Sometimes players played for very brief spurts in specific circumstances, yet could be seen encouraging their teammates during every time-out.

A little luck along the way helps. Early in Masai’s tenure he traded the team’s highest paid player, Rudy Gay out of the line-up. He also supposedly had reached an agreement to trade Kyle Lowry to the Knicks. The owner of the Knicks, still smarting by the fleecing of previous trades with the Raptors and Denver by Masai nixed the deal. Thankfully once Gay was out of the picture, the team took off and Lowry has been the catalyst ever since. I always will maintain “Do Nothing” can be a viable option. Sometimes you just get lucky.

At TempPro we will help you build your business, your client base and your brand in this same, long term focused, deliberate manner. And, hopefully one day soon, we will see you in the Finals! Go Raptors!

 

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