Finishing Strong

Duke Basketball has always had a tremendous place in my heart. I am a huge fan of Coach K and most all of the Duke players that have come...

Duke Basketball has always had a tremendous place in my heart. I am a huge fan of Coach K and most all of the Duke players that have come through his elite program. I hope that one day I will get the chance to go to Cameron Indoor and watch a Duke game. The past few years Duke has not been at the level they normally operate at. It has been weird almost expecting them to lose in certain games. Don’t get me wrong I still rooted for them and would watch as many games as I could. I also know there has been several times that they started out a season really strong and then as the year progresses they just get worse and worse to the point that when they get to the tournament they have been lucky to make it to the sweet 16.(3rd round)

Last year was kind of that situation. They played great first part of the year. I think at one point they were ranked number 1 in the nation? Then all the sudden everything just went down hill fast. Duke still finished ok and they made it the sweet 16 where Villanova dominated them. I remember watching at interview with a guy from espn not long after Duke got the crap kicked out of them by nova. The guy was asked why Duke had been struggling so bad in tournament since there last final 4 appearance.

He explained it in 2 ways. He said number 1. Not enough talent. Duke was a program where Coach K wanted players who would stay for 3 or 4 years. He was trying to build a program that year after year competed. Which he has, but in doing that some times you will have rough patches. Coach K has never been the kind of coach to go after the one and done kids. He wanted guys who wanted to stick around through thick and thin and build a program with him.

Number 2 he said was they had no depth in their team. They really only had about 7 player actually playing. That is not a lot of people. The sportscaster went on to simply explain that they were not able to sustain the pace for a full year of basketball. If you ever watch a Duke game you will notice how intense they are on both sides of the floor. No matter what you think they never say die and they refuse to give an inch. Playing at that kind of level for 35 games in somewhere around 17 weeks is impossible to do. The body can only take so much.

Duke has always managed to overcome talent with sheer determination, but at the end of the day there is only so much the body can take. They were running out of steam at the end of the year. This year Duke looks better than I have seem them at tournament time in years. Not to say I think they will win. They could lose this week, (I don’t think they will ;)) but they are playing at the high level I am use to seeing out of the Blue Devils. No matter whether they win or lose this year I feel like they will be finishing strong.

4 principles this reminded me of.

1. Finish Strong as much as possible. Work with the realization that there is only so much of you to go around. Life and Leadership is not a sprint, but a life long marathon. Do what you do with the end and mind and be disciplined in those principles. You will see the payoff. Do not let mild failures distract from the direction you feel God is leading you. There is a process between the promise (vision) and the Payoff. (victory) (for more on the payoff and the Process click HERE)

2. Be intentional about building a lasting team around you. Sometimes that may make some growing pains harder, but when you are consistent in expectation level and in your processes the leaders you are praying for and looking for will come.

3. Say no to the things that numbers do not allow for. Always push your team to new levels, but don’t be afraid to say no when there is not enough depth on your team. If you push them too hard and ask them to carry too much you will be setting them up for a failure. Sometimes a failure they may not recover from. Be intentional to protect your team from burn out and exhaustion.

4. Vision and Passion will overcome lack of talent. If you have someone on your team that you have to spend a little more time with, but if they have a vision and they are passionate about a project or their role in the orginazation they will succeed if you let them. You may have to hold their hand while they get their feet set, but that is God allowing you to be apart of a beautiful process. If they have no talent that could be a different story, but if is a matter of struggling through some a few things then let their passion prevail. They will succeed simply because they see it as too important no to.

What are some things that you need to stop doing for the health of your team?

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