There are too many wonderful and interesting qualities to name here in a short essay, so I’ll focus on the cultural values that are undeniably part of their success. Those include teamwork and humility. The Spurs just refuse to draft or trade for players who are selfish, which, if you’ve watched the NBA during the past 10 years, limits the pool from which they choose. The team regularly finds players who are relatively unknown, simply because they play a selfless, fundamental style of basketball that other scouts don’t notice or value. Interestingly, the majority of the Spurs players were born outside of the U.S., and they seem to reject the flashy, highlight reel form of basketball that has come to dominate the NBA.
— Patrick Lencioni

I became increasingly disenchanted with my misguided allegiances.  If you looked at my life and leadership from the outside you might have thought that I really believed most in my college team, a professional sports franchise, a certain political party, or even a government.  I woke up to the reality that my sense of well being in the world and even my very joy was tied to the performance and success of teams and political parties.  As a leader, father, husband, and coach, I have repented and tried to focus my allegiance on a King and a Kingdom, first and only.

With only partial victory won, I have found immeasurable peace and joy.  My sense of well being, belief in God’s sovereignty, and my everyday contentment has increased.  I say that as an introduction to the fact that I am very likely the last person to reference as an example a professional sports franchise.  As much as I am delighted in my home team’s success, I am no “homer.”

Patrick Lencioni is an organizational theory giant. At least one of his books are on the shelf of almost every earnest leader that I know.  His “Table Group” has consulted with tens of thousands of companies and that is where he draws the incredible insight he offers. If you are a frequent reader here, you have seen him referenced and quoted many times.

He wrote about the Spurs in his most recent Table Group blog, "The Healthiest Organizations Win."  In a culture of superstars, Lencioni notes that the San Antonio Spurs are a unique beast among other professional franchises.  The hallmarks of the players they select (and their style of play) is:

  • selfless
  • humility
  • teamwork
  • boring

A fan video called “Tribute – The Beautiful Game” illustrates this well.

It is easy to believe that “superstars” are the answer.  The values that Lencioni points to, the model the Spurs have pursued, and even the knuckleheads that Jesus chose, seemed to point to something completely different.  Lencioni says that a group of average individuals, operating within a healthy organizational dynamic while pursuing a transcendent vision, will trump a team of superstars any day of the week.  The Spurs seem to understand that.  Jesus found the same.  So can you.

  • Does your hope and happiness rest, even a little bit, in something other than a King and His coming Kingdom?
  • Does your life, countenance, and decision making, reflect citizenry beyond this life?
  • Are you constantly looking for the “magic pill” of the next great hire, team member, superstar, or even political savior, to help you “win?”