Kelsey Plum is, without a doubt, an inspiring individual, I see much of my basketball career too in how she plays and her attitude. Many of the aspects of this young women’s attitude are what we should all transfer to our business and learn from.
What inspires me watching Kelsey is her style, her raw ability to know where and what she can achieve and to not question this but to embrace it. She has a drive within her that everyone has but very few actually allow to develop.
When I take a look at my basketball career some although no way the same, there were similarities. Unfortunately, in my case, my career ended way too early due to injury but never the less it brings emotional moments back reading and watching Kelsey.
The truth is I have hardly walked on the basketball court since my injuries that curtailed my dreams, in fact, I had not even watched a live game since my injury some 25+ years ago and out of the blue was invited whilst on a business trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota to watch a Jefferson high school game. Sitting watching all the emotions came flooding back and I realised how I missed the game and more importantly how easy it was for me to identify the good players, the players who thought they were good but really were not and the ones that were silently going to be key personnel.
Interestingly a few months later I again had the pleasure of walking onto a basketball court at Jefferson high school one evening whilst helping the cheerleader team clear the mats (one of the team was a good friends daughter). I could not help myself but to stand in the middle of the court and just for a brief moment all the games came running back, the feeling of home was in my heart – I realised at that moment how fortunate and privileged I had been. So what did this period in my life teach me about business?
In business, we have to all accept that you can try hard to build a team but sometimes it will never happen the way you hope. Knowing when it will not happen and changing direction is important with products, branding, conceptual ideas, start-up views and all the employees too. Business is no different to playing in a team within a league, you have your winners and losers, your mid table teams and that is how it is, like it or hate it that will not change.
I have experienced being top of the table and sliding from that position too… watching others steel plays so to speak and do it better, watching brilliant individuals excel and thinking “damn, why did I not think of that!” and I have had companies that effectively have finished last too… and I know how that feels to lose all. When you know these feelings you understand what is required in running a business.
So what Kelsy Plum has said over the past few years while at Washington university and what without a doubt, why Kelsy chose the university over others, is simply the most important element you can learn even in business. She wanted to be better and she wanted to be coached to achieve that. She wanted an environment where she could, without a doubt, develop from a high school player to a top college player an excel – it is this we must take in business and apply to the fundamental thoughts within a business. Business like it or not is a sport of sorts and one where the playing field can be harder and more evenly split than that of a basketball college league table.
Now Kelsy has the next stage of her career that I have no doubt will be illustrious, but she has become a pawn in a larger political franchise game because she is so good. She was drafted by a team that really did not need her, yet she now has to try and keep herself going and achieve. If San Antonio are clever in business and this will remain to be seen they will play her lots and enjoy the wave of success she attracts. I wish her the very best, and I wish you the very best too in your business endeavours and hope this comparison has perhaps brought a simple look at business and also employment skills.