5 Winning Lessons From the Golden State Warriors

 

The Golden State Warriors basketball team is in the midst of a historic and record-setting season. The team had 73 regular season wins, breaking the NBA record previously held by the Chicago Bulls.

But it didn’t happen overnight. They planted the seeds to their current achievement during a time when the franchise suffered in mediocrity.

Flash back to 2006 and 2007, to what the Warriors dub the “We Believe” season. Leading up to the season, the franchise broke the NBA record for the number of consecutive years without making the playoffs (12). Head coach Don Nelson traded most of their big-name players for a band of journeyman and misfits to play “small ball,” a strategy that favors increased scoring, agility and speed over height, strength and low post offense and defense.

Up until that point, all NBA rosters looked the same. Each team was anchored around a 7-foot center surrounded by traditional positions—power forward, small forward, shooting guard and point guard.

Nelson decided to create a fun, fast-paced style of play designed so that players were interchangeable parts. The entire team rallied, highlighting each other’s strengths while also having fun playing a game they love. The result was astounding and marked a turnaround that led to an improbable playoff run, which shocked fans and experts alike. The changes continue to pay dividends.

The “We Believe” season not only revitalized the franchise but also its fan base. The Warriors fans continue to be the most supportive and vibrant fan base in the league. Why? It’s simple—the franchise has transformed their failure into success. Fans love cheering for a team that plays the game with joy, passion and celebrates each other’s success each and every game.

But on a deeper level, the Warriors’ success can be applied off the court—in your business, relationships and personal life.

1. Create your starting lineup

None of us reach our goals alone. Personal development guru Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” The Warriors are committed to being a successful team. Each player has their own set of unique talents and skills, and they work together to utilize their contributions for the overall good of the team. Who is your starting five? Make a list of supportive people who will help move your goals forward.

2. Celebrate other people’s success

In last season’s playoff finals, regular season MVP Stephen Curry wasn’t named the Finals MVP. The award went to teammate Andre Iguodala. After the announcement, Curry was seen jumping for joy, celebrating his teammate’s accomplishment. Your inner game will improve exponentially when you shift toward abundance and celebrating other people’s wins. Pick one person today and acknowledge their achievements—big and small.

3. Focus on your strengths

Many people doubted if the Warriors could win playing “small ball.” They ignored the skeptics and perfected their own style based on their strengths as individuals and as a team. Instead of focusing on improving your weaknesses and becoming mediocre, develop your strengths and become great. Identify one to two strengths and decide what you can do to make them even better.

4. Make it fun

Have you noticed the Warriors high-fiving on the court, cheering from the bench and being high-spirited during the game? You can experience greater success and joy by playing the game of life at the highest point of consciousness. When you have fun, life becomes easier and less stressful. What are three ways you can incorporate more fun and joy into your life today?

5. Be the best version of you

It’s no coincidence that Curry, the Warriors star point guard, and this year’s regular season MVP (by a unanimous vote), is also their hardest worker. Every year he commits to improving his game and becoming a better player. Whether that means staying after a game to work on his jump shot or arriving an hour early before the game to get a competitive edge, he is focused on being better. Give yourself the gift of your own attention and work on being your best self through personal growth and development.

You don’t need to be professional NBA coach or player to transform failure into success. You have all the skills you need to start changing your life right now. Begin by scheduling time in your calendar in the next three days to focus on practicing one of these principles. Keep note of how your life changes while understanding that change takes time. Continue to add additional principles as you see progress and celebrate those milestones.

You don’t have to be the most talented to achieve greatness but you do have to be willing to make a commitment to change and put in the work to make it happen. With your “roster” of supportive and influential people, an attitude of abundance and remembering to have fun, I believe you will achieve your best self. Take it from the best team in the NBA, the transformation from mediocrity to record-breaking success only takes a few shifts in your game plan (a good jump shot doesn’t hurt either).

This article originally appeared in Success Magazine.

5 Relationships the Most Successful Entrepreneurs Cultivate

Everyone who decides to throw the proverbial caution to the wind, quit their job and become an entrepreneur hopes that things will work out, and they will have success. However, things are infinitely more complicated than we would all like to think. There are some crucial relationships that one needs to form, in order to become a successful entrepreneur. No man is an island, and we all need help, in some way or another. Especially when it comes to business, you rely on the good grace of others in a lot of different instances. Therefore, here are the 5 business relationships that you need, as a successful entrepreneur.

Bankers

While this list is in no particular order, the first has to be banks and bankers, because they are directly responsible for your financial stability. Chances are you are going to need a line of credit – especially in the beginning, you will need a start-up loan. And in order to receive it, you need to maintain good relationships with your local banks and bankers. How can you achieve that? By making your payments on time, first of all. If your name comes to be associated with poor or late payments, it’s difficult to get out of the dog house.

Another thing you can benefit from when you have a close relationship with your bankers is ensuring the safety of your money. They can help you set a system in place that can secure your finances and make sure that your deposits make it through and no one can embezzle from you or other such actions. It pays (literally) to form a tight relationship with your banker.

Employees

Of course, employees are also vital to any business you may want to set up. To strike gold in this department, you have to do a good job finding and choosing people who are professional, qualified, serious, and dedicated to their job. But that is not enough for them to make your company flourish; you also have to inspire them. This is where the vast majority of “bosses” go wrong – they vastly underestimate their relationship with their employees, when that is arguably one of the most important of all.

In order for your employees to work well, you have to make sure you maintain satisfaction. People have to be fulfilled in the workplace and be inspired and encouraged by their leaders. The mistake most entrepreneurs and people in management positions make is that they equate more time spent working hard with good results, more money and a growing business. But you should know better: you catch more flies with honey. That means that treating your employees with respect, compensating them fairly, and making sure they have time for their personal lives will be better for you in the long-run.

Customers

Every entrepreneur knows that customers can make or break your business. No matter how hard you work, how organized your company is and how intelligent your business concept is, if the customers are not happy, not stimulated, and not attracted, you either lose them, or you don’t attract them in the first place. In order to ensure the success of your business, you have to ensure the happiness of your clients.

Now, customer satisfaction is achieved by paying attention, first and foremost. You have to put yourself in their shoes and ask “What would make this a positive experience for them?”, “What can I do to ensure good customer service?”. A good product or service that fills a need is essential, but so is excellent customer service – engage them on social media, make the experience personal, make them feel special. The benefits are twofold: first of all, you retain your existing clients. Second of all, word of mouth will travel about your business and how much you value your customers and that will act as free advertising, essentially.

Vendors

Most businesses rely heavily on vendors, and unless you build a solid, trusted relationship with them, you might find yourself without essential items, not only when it comes to the product you might be selling, but even basic stationary or materials. You cannot afford not to be in your vendors’ good graces. The trick is to think of them as your employees, which means that you have to show them the same respect and attention. Get close to them, always have a means to contact them and make sure that, should an emergency happen – such as you needing to pay late, or needing materials urgently – they will be there for you.

Mentors

A business relationship that is also a personal one is mentorship. When you’re starting your own business, you need all the help you can get, from anyone who will listen. But most of all, you need someone with experience and extensive knowledge who can guide you. Find someone you look up to, a successful entrepreneur you would like to emulate, and ask for their advice. Again, this works in your favor in two different ways: you get the help you need, and you establish a positive business relationship. Remember always to show gratitude, treat them with respect and acknowledge their insight – it will pay off.

If you’re an entrepreneur, the investment in relationships is the best investment you will ever make. Take the time now to build them and your business will soar.

This article originally appeared in Inc. Magazine.