He has just won his fourth ring, with the Los Angeles Lakers, after having won two with the Miami Heat, one in 2012, the other the following year, and another with the Cavaliers in 2016. Four great titles with three different teams. It is the penultimate feat of the NBA player LeBron James (Akron, Ohio, 1984), a great one beyond his 2.06 meters in height, since if he stands out for something, it is for the talent and personality It shows both off and on the slopes.
An example that could well be followed in the business world. Four successes in three different organizations, all of them with culture and strategy own. However, the NBA star has known how to adapt to them and take advantage of all of them. Regardless of whether or not he is the best player in the history of basketball, since there is a debate about whether that title falls to him or to Michael Jordan, LeBron James has been practicing as a professional for 17 years, showing that he is always there, doing your I work flawlessly, consistently and consistently during this time.
“There are professionals who are used to work in any organization, and this connects with the concept of talent, and they succeed both in private and in public, and that is not so frequent among company managers,” says the Esade professor and advisor delegate of the consulting firm Monfort Ambient Management, Norbert Monfort, which distinguishes between talent, that is, knowledge, know-how, and something that is not so common, such as the passion with which a player like LeBron lives basketball and the organization he works for. “It is what adds to the ability, knowledge, passion, commitment, the desire to live the company in which they are, ”points out Monfort, who highlights a third quality of the athlete, which he says most managers lack, which is the ability to connect, to generate synergies between people. “Why is Messi the best player in the world and does not win with Argentina? Maybe you lack that harmony, connect with others. And that LeBron does very well, he is an atypical person ”.
The ability to adapt is the key. “Applying the same recipe that has led to success is common among company managers. Humble people, when they come to a new organization, wait six months to observe, take note of what works, what needs to change, to learn and then make decisions, but that is not usually the usual thing, “he says. Carlos Alemany, managing partner of the senior management search consultancy Alemany & Partners. In his opinion, companies make signings thinking that people are everything, when the important thing is that behind each organization there is methodology, strategy, team, logistics … “Winning projects are never short-term, you have to know how to wait for what it is what is done well, what can be improved, adapting to the culture that already exists and must be respected ”, says Alemany, who defines the ability to learn, not so much for the fact of cultivating new knowledge, but for creating lasting medium-term results in different environments. “This is only achieved by those who continually learn from their environment”, concludes the consultant.
And he cites as an example several executives who have achieved success in different companies, such as Jorge Grosse, general director of González Byass, a company he came to from the Torres winery group, or Alberto Rodríguez Toquero, director of Mahou San Miguel, who for a decade held different positions at Coca-Cola. Or the same Pablo Isla, who left Altadis to join Inditex, “where he spent the first six months observing and, from there, made changes,” says Alemany.
Isla also followed another rule, cited by the IESE professor Santiago Álvarez de Mon: all cultural leaps invite caution and ask the following question: what can I take from my experience to another company or another sector? “The ability to observe is very important to be able to make an accurate diagnosis of the environment, it is something that LeBron also does very well. And knowing that for the triumph you always need a cooking period, something difficult because at this time patience is not abundant “, explains the teacher, who recommends, in front of an increasingly impatient society, with a significant dispersion and too many people driving with the long lights, manage the times well. “When a patient enters an operating room, they are tried to save and then they are put into recovery,” says Álvarez de Mon. This translates into time and desire to understand the key governance policies of each organization, know how to move in this field, and then succeed. “LeBron has handled that well, the Lakers, who lacked that icing and has managed to handle it very well, now he is an authority on the team,” says the IESE professor. LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers jersey in 2018 to wear the Los Angeles Lakers for four years and $ 154 million.
The player’s case has reached the classrooms of Harvard Business School: in 2005 he surprised the sports industry by firing his representative and creating his own representation firm, LRMR, to control all commercial contracts and marketing activities, and become the first billionaire basketball player, according to an excerpt from the aforementioned business school case.
With the creation of this society, highlights the IE leadership professor Juan Carlos Pastor, demonstrates your ability to innovate, to create something new and manage your image. “He has the character of transformational leaders, to which is added his passion and determination in the game. This is very important because if you don’t like what you do, it will be difficult for you to reach a level of excellence. In his case, it is a passion that borders on obsession ”. At the age of 19, he was clear about his destiny when announcing the coach of los Cavaliers he was to be the team leader. “That is important, because he sees himself as a leader, he knows what responsibility is, he enjoys what he does and that helps him improve the game. He has passion and confidence in what he does, and an orientation to learning, ”says Pastor. It is that mentality that Mark the difference. “With the Lakers it has not been easy, but following their leadership and with patience they got the ring. You have to have defeats to learn. Authentic and humble people know that ”.
Another example is the LeBron James Family Foundation, from which she attends and fights against inequalities, especially with the black community, in addition to building a school in her hometown to students without financial resources. “He has values on and off the court, in addition to having the most important thing, being a team player,” adds Pastor. And most importantly, LeBron James is always there and is always waiting for him.
Analysis. In 2008, NBA players decided to condemn China for its role in the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. LeBron James played for the Cavaliers and did not adhere to the complaint document. The anecdote is recalled by Esade Norbert Monfort’s professor: “He said that he did not sign it because he did not have enough information on the subject, that the facts had to be documented and analyzed.”
Criticism poured in everywhere, but he did what he said he would do. When what was happening was reported, he signed the document, publicly protested and joined the cause. “He did what has to be done, analyze the facts before letting himself be carried away by intuitions. Analyzing is one of the most important jobs a manager must do. To set up a business strategy you have to first analyze the culture, ”says Monfort.
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