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Different Leaders for Different Situations – Phil Jackson Edition

Jun 30

Sports/HR Blog Post Alert!

The 8 Man Rotation Crew (minus me as the annual Designated NBA Summer League Survivor) will be out in Vegas in July watching the NBA Summer League and what a summer we are having in the NBA!

If you haven’t heard, one of the great all-time NBA coaches (11 Championships) and talked about all-time great leaders, Phil Jackson was let go by the New York Knicks. Phil Jackson, 11 Championships, fired.

Okay, they said, ‘parted ways’ but we’re all smart HR and TA pros we know what that really means. The fact is Phil didn’t win or do anything in New York that even looked close to winning. Instead, he probably pushed the franchise backward about ten years by forcing every coach he hired to use an old, outdated offense (that won him 11 championships) and by and keep bad pieces that never worked together.

So, is Phil Jackson a bad NBA General Manager. The same guy who coached 11 NBA Championships and is widely considered one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time?

It probably takes a bit of breakdown to understand how Phil somehow became ‘bad’ in New York, when he was a genius in Chicago and Los Angles.

Ingredients to become a genius NBA Coach:

  1. Get lucky enough to have all-time great talents on your teams! Every heard of Michael Jordan? Scottie Pippen? Shaq? Kobe?
  2. Be awesome at managing great talent.
  3. Did I mention have great talent on your team?

Phil didn’t have great talent in New York. His most talented player was a ball hog, a me-first personality that no other great players ever wanted to go to New York and play with. Not quite the recipe to win championships!

Phil was a great coach of great talent. Many coaches could have had all that great talent and the talent would have run them over, but Phil was great at handling all those personalities and egos. What Phil wasn’t as good at was building a team from nothing, with no great players. Arguably much harder to do, and you need some luck, either way, he’s not the builder-type.

You see this happen all the time in business. A leader that is an awesome visionary front-runner, struggles the moment the company starts to struggle. Or the leader that pulls the company out of the ashes, but then doesn’t have the first clue how to take the organization to the next level.

Both leaders are good people. Phil Jackson is one of the all-time great coaches, but he stunk running the New York Knicks. Be careful hiring your next leader to make sure they have the background of where you are, not where you want to be, because many times who takes you there is different than who keeps you there.

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