Lessons from The Dream Team

Twenty years ago yesterday, the first ten players were chosen for the 1992 Men's Olympic Basketball Team.  Nicknamed "The Dream Team", this was the first team made up of mostly professionals after the collegians failed to bring home the gold in previous Olympic Games.

Dream Team
Dream Team

The initial ten included Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, John Stockton, David Robinson, Karl Malone, and Chris Mullin with Clyde Drexler and Christian Laettner added later.  The head coach was Chuck Daly and his assistants included Lenny Wilkens, Mike Krzyzewski, and PJ Carlesimo.  Eleven of the players and three of the coaches are now in the Hall of Fame.  Wow.

What I find interesting when looking back is the ability of these Hall of Famers and all time greats to check their egos at the door in favor of the common goal: a gold medal.  Michael Jordan was NOT the leading scorer, but was rather second on the team in assists. Charles Barkley was the team's leading scorer and five of the 12 players averaged more than ten points.  The team won by an average of 43 points while winning all eight games to claim the gold medal.

Real estate professionals can certainly learn a lesson from The Dream Team. Too many times in the course of a deal or negotiation, real estate or otherwise, someone's ego gets in the way.  When that happens, the other side has a distinct advantage because the individual interest is being put ahead of the common goal/goals: to get the best deal and to get the deal done. I am certainly not an advocate of rolling over for those on the other side of the table. The Dream Team didn’t. They dominated the opposition and they did so because of the team first approach.

In any transaction or negotiation, putting together the right team can be the most important decisions that are made.  The right client, the right broker, the right attorney, and the right architect (among others) can make all the difference in the world.  Each team member not only doing their part, but also providing assistance and feedback to ensure that everyone's work product is the best it can be and moving toward the common goal.  At the end of the day, if the deal suffers, no one will remember the individual performances.  They will simply remember the final result.  Similarly, basketball fans don't remember who was on the 2004 Olympic Team...just that they lost three games on their way to a bronze medal.

My business partner, Joe Sarno, has always preached the following as the keys for a good team: Communication, Roles and Responsibilities, and Process.  If everyone is doing their job, following a set process and communicating with the other team members, success is almost inevitable.  And remember, roles can change from day to day or project to project.  Sometimes, you have to be the scorer...and sometimes, the passer.