BUSINESS LESSONS FROM THE NBA TRADE DEADLINE

December 6, 2021

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The NBA trade deadline just passed. The hot takes on who “won” and “lost” have me thinking about the parallels between building a winning basketball team and a winning business. Both require long-term vision, an aligned organizational structure, and the discipline to focus only on deals that build towards the ultimate goal.

Winning is a little fuzzier in business than in sports — nobody is handing out trophies for great real estate investments. But no matter what, we all need a team that is capable of working as single unit toward a common goal. More than just collecting the most talent in one place, winning teams acquire the right players to execute their long term strategy.

In the NBA, not all long term strategies look the same. Two extreme examples are the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the Philadelphia 76ers. Cleveland has LeBron James and is aiming for a championship this year. LeBron is 33, a soon-to-be free agent, and approaching the end of his prime. So, for the Cavaliers the future is now.

By contrast, the Philadelphia 76ers have been tanking for years. They now have a couple of great young players that need playing time to work through mistakes as they develop. Making the playoffs this year would be a great accomplishment for the 76ers, but not at the expense of player development.

A clear team identity helps keep everybody coordinated. It guides personnel choices, finances, marketing, and everything else. A clear vision of where the team is heading keeps GMs, coaches, scouts etc. all rowing in the same direction.

It works in business too. Who are we? How do we win? What kind of people and structures do we need to make it happen? This organizational self-awareness can help any organization stay disciplined in pursuit of its goals.

At Alliance, winning is delivering market-beating returns for our investors, consistently, while also building our brand – savvy, diligent, and disciplined. Our identity helps us stay focused on executing only good deals that advance these goals. We don’t buy flashy or overpriced assets that might raise our profile. Instead, we focus on our core identity — competence, stability, and fundamentals. If the returns aren’t there, then forget it. And a real estate professional who is too interested in making a splash won’t fit in with our team.

Consistent success starts with a clear philosophy. Once you know how you want to win, then you find people who align with your how. Whether it’s feeding LeBron for as many years as you can get, or staying focused on the routine details of real estate deals, winning regularly demands a long term strategy.

I’m always betting on the team that has a clear identity. And I’m betting on Alliance.

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