Celtics vs Lakers Game 4 – A lesson in leadership

Okay, first of all last nights game was INSANE!! In case you missed it allow me to give you the important parts. The Lakers ended the first quarter with a 21 point lead – the most ANY team has EVER lead by at the end of the first quarter in the NBA Finals. Facing the largest lead of its kind, and falling down by 24 points during the 2nd quarter, the Celtics rally back to WIN THE GAME to pull of the single biggest comeback in NBA Finals history. So if you missed it, you literally missed HISTORY!

Ok, on to the leadership lessons. Watching the game, I enjoyed watching Celtics head coach Doc Rivers during this great comeback. Lesson #1, make the impossible success seem possible by showing the small steps. When they went down by 24, he said “Let’s get it down to 18.” They did that by halftime. When it got down to 18 he said “Let’s get it down to 10.” Then he said “Let’s get it down to 7.” Well by the end of the 3rd quarter, the Laker lead was 2. He showed them the small steps to accomplish something that had never been done before. Something that seemed impossible. In the church world, when you talk to people about the possibility of living a Christ-centered life, that may seem impossible to them because they see the seemingly insurmountable defecit their life seems to be. We should show them small steps from Jesus’ invitational words “Come and see” to his dedicated words of “Carry your cross.”

Lesson #2, say the vision often. He started the motivation of his tell by asking them to believe. Believe that the comeback was possible. So during every timeout, every huddle, every substitution, to every player he high fived or slapped on the butt he echoed that one message – BELIEVE. If you listened you heard it over and over – “Do you believe?” or “You believe it?” or “Believe!” And the more he said it, the more they believed. The more they believed, the more they accomplished. If we are going to lead people to change, a more indepth relationship and equip people to do God’s work we have to say the vision often. Do YOU believe?

Lesson 3, leaders lead by humility and serving. During the post game interviews, Celtic forward Kevin Garnett talked about leading by example and that he’s still learning. He just wanted to motivate his teammates by doing the right things and keeping them positive. Paul Pierce said something similar. Lakers star and NBA MVP Kobe Bryant was asked “what was (coach) Phil Jackson’s message to the team after such a devastating loss?” Kobe’s response: “Don’t worry about what Phil said, I yelled at all of them and now they’re back there crying.” He went on to make excuses about being triple teamed as soon as he touched the ball and nobody helped. The game I watched was a little different – he was defended one on one most of the 2nd half! Complaints and excuses vs encouraging and setting the example. I wonder why they lost. Hmmmmm….

Fantastic life examples of principles working to bring success.

Happy father’s day to all you fathers out there.

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