As we head into the NBA Finals, my mind turns to Erik Spoelstra and the unique situation he is in. With the finals starting tonight, I think about how Erik Spoelstra’s role as head coach of the Miami Heat, a team of very strong individual players each with their own strengths translates to the world of high technology and people management.
Understand your players – Understand your team – how they operate as a team, their individual strengths, who can do what under what circumstances, and understand how to utilize them to achieve your overall team goal whether its shipping a release or clinching the East Coast title. If you push, your team will respond. This is easier said than done and it assumes that you have time to get to know your direct reports. If not, go with a team based approach and in terms of shipping software you too can roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. It will earn the respect of your developers/direct reports.
Hold the mirror up to yourself – Be self-aware and take time to do a post mortem even if you succeed/fail. You can do it after the fact so you remain laser focused on shipping/winning the task at hand. As long as you continue to improve yourself and show others you are self-aware and care enough to change – again this earns respect and changes up your game.
Seek mentors – not only seek mentors but also keep these relationships constant and ongoing so you’re not reaching out cold to someone in a time of need. You will have the wealth of knowledge and experience from those who have been there before. Those who can give you options for “if I ever had to do it over again” scenarios.
Deliver – Understand what you have to deliver, devise a plan, utilize all of the resources available to you, and have a contingency plan to keep things on track. If you are missing any of the above traits/relationships it is immensely more difficult and this is where things start to fall apart and things become beyond your control.
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