I didn’t know where to put this. The gold standard for any front office has to measure against Jerry West. I was reading through some older articles on what makes Jerry West special and thinking about the comparison to our own new front office. There are certain aspects like natural talent for evaluation that no one can copy. But there are some choice thoughts around organization and culture building that are both practical, insightful and can be emulated by any team. A few choice quotes:https://coachingclipboard.org/2017/03/20/jerry-west-the-best-talent-evaluator/On the importance of intra-organizational communication
On the putting a winning team together
“I don’t like titles,” West, 78, told IBD. “When you work with people, the more communication you have, the better the process. It’s not a power thing. Executives in other industries should feel the same way.
“It’s not me. It’s an organizational thing. Owners give you an idea of what they want, and you want to be a huge part of it. I always thought owners should be engaged, but it’s also important to let your people do their job.”
On what it takes to rebuild a large market team
“You make the best educated guess when putting together a good team,” he said. “Then when you build a winning team, you can’t keep all the players. It’s economics.”
Other thoughts and keys
The key for the Lakers, he notes, is for them to again find that magical player. Such as West found with Shaq in a megadeal with the Orlando Magic in 1996.
“That was a no-brainer,” West said of the Kobe grab. “We didn’t miss much making that deal if you kept your eye open. He was so skilled. And the intangibles … his work ethic was ridiculous. When we got him, he was just 17. We had to wait for him to turn 18 to sign him. He turned into a generational player. That’s what Los Angeles needs now.”
Lesson: Set your goal and take the shot.
“Sports draws so much noise, with so many pundits in the regular and social media. Other industries don’t have that. Other businesses care about profit, how stocks are doing. In sports, it’s about wins and losses. Let’s take basketball. You have 82 games in the NBA. If you win 62, that’s a really, really good season. But it still means you lost 20 games. And you hear it, with social media letting everyone participate.”
A lot of emphasis on the quality and character of ownership, as Jerry experienced some challenging ownership earlier on his career, and everything in culture flows down from the top. At the end of the day, though, the message is about talent and importance of that one special talent, and not getting too attached to any players that don’t fit that label while accumulating as much as talent as you can in the process.