Always Be Closing?
Closers and long term success
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More than a hustler, I'm the definition of it
Master chef, Lord of the kitchen cupboard
More than a street legend, homie, it's Hova
More than a relief pitcher, I'm the closer
- ‘Go Crazy’ by Young Jeezy and Jay Z
I have been on an executive training programme in work for the past 6 months. Last week we specifically looked at managing and leading teams. It was very informative but left me with more questions than answers.
One of the instructors referenced a scene in the US TV show ‘Suits’. as an example when managing teams.
I happen to be have been a fan of Suits since it was first released and am a big fan of the main protagonist, Harvey Specter.
Harvey is the hotshot lawyer at the firm, the self-proclaimed ‘best closer in the city’. (a ‘closer’ is defined as a person who is skilled at bringing a business transaction to a satisfactory conclusion).
His methods are often unorthodox but he never loses a case. (He also wears great suits, drives flash cars and has great one-liners so that helps!!).
What is clear over the course of the different seasons is that, for all Harvey’s strengths, his methods and attitude sometimes do damage to the business and often the team has to scramble to solve his problems.
It raises an important question….how do you balance individual brilliance in a team setting?
Sports are littered with examples of individual brilliance helping propel teams to success.
Diego Maradona in the 1986 World Cup.
Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan for their respective Lakers and Bulls teams.
Cristiano Ronaldo in his period with Real Madrid.
All of the above are examples where a team has had to accept the good and bad of the player’s personality in order to achieve success.
All of the above would be described as ‘closers’.
And all of the above could be considered the greatest players of their respective generations.
But at what cost to the team? At what point does the focus on the individual have a detrimental impact on the team?
Is short term success, based around one individual, a sustainable plan for success?
No, if you look at the above examples where each team has struggled to maintain, or return to, the same level of success without their talisman.
Why Should You Care?
Building a business has many challenges.
One of the most important challenges any CEO will face is around hiring and managing a team.
Often, at an early stage in particular, it can be great to have high caliber team members who will drive the business forward and get involved in everything.
They can drag the rest of the team up to their level and help you deliver on ambitious targets.
But you need to remember that you are trying to build a long term, sustainable business.
Having a ‘closer’ on your team will almost guarantee success in the short to medium term. But sustaining that success in the long run, especially when that person has moved on, is difficult and might lead to a lower standard than before.
Be careful what you wish for!
Tell me why I’m wrong…
How do I describe ‘Left Field’? It’s a place to put the content (newsletters/articles, etc) that we have amassed over recent weeks or previous years that really make us think or change our thinking on a particular topic. All the content will offer an alternative view of some topic in financial services, technology or sport (or a combination of all three!)
This is a fascinating article on how Los Angeles was once the bank robbery capital of the world.
Between 1985 and 1995 the approximately 3,500 retail bank branches in the region were hit 17,106 times. 1992, the worst year of all, there was an almost unimaginable 2,641 heists, one every 45 minutes of each banking day.
Anyway, I won’t give away too much. Enjoy the article and feel free to get in touch to discuss more!
MoneyNeverSleeps podcast episode from this week:
Brian McDonald from Bay Advisory joins the show for Part 2 of a 2-part series on M&A and raising capital for entrepreneurs and talks through the logic of exit plans, focusing on outcomes rather than actions when taking money off the table, balancing your gut instinct with valuations, the tendencies of different kinds of buyers after the sale…and the potential for doing a deal in the Irish language!
Book Recommendation: Highly recommend checking out ‘Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It’ by Kamal Ravikant. This is a powerful story of Kamal’s radical self-growth journey and his specific practice for readers. I have found it incredibly helpful.
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