Those who discuss the subject of leadership spend a lot of time on next generation leadership. I have written several posts on the subject myself. However, I was struck by the poise and guile of the oldest starting point guard in NBA finals history, the 38-year old Jason Kidd.
Lee Jenkins wrote a great article about Kidd and the value of his experience in the June 6th edition of Sports Illustrated. The following were several key learnings from that piece that all leaders can apply.
Experienced leaders understand the following:
- The Most Valuable Commodity Is Time – Kidd understands how timeouts work. Each full timeout is 100 seconds but play doesn’t resume for 115 seconds. He stays on the bench conserving energy while other players are standing or walking around. While it may appear to be only 15 seconds, there are six full timeouts per game plus breaks. Added together, that is an extra four hours of rest Kidd gains per year over his opponents. “That’s four hours of energy you haven’t wasted standing around and waiting. Four hours of energy you may need coming down the stretch,” says Kidd.
- How To Leverage Trust – After a full season of scouting, teams are familiar with the Mavs’ offensive sets. Therefore, head coach Rick Carlisle trusts Kidd to call the team’s plays during the rhythm and flow of the game.
- The Need For Continual Learning – Even after 17 years, Kidd still tapes personal observations to his cellphone after each game.
- How To Reduce Mistakes – While not as athletic as the Miami Heat, the Mavs made much fewer mistakes.
- How To Bring Out The Best In Others – Kidd knows where each of his teammates likes to receive the ball so they can score easily.
- Their Career Is At Stake – At age 33, Kidd’s speed had diminished and he needed to become a perimeter threat. He began to exhaustively practice until he developed a quality jump shot. Now he is one of the best 3-point shooters in the league.
- They Need More Freedom – Experienced leaders know their jobs. They do not need to be tightly managed. Because of the team’s experience, Carlisle removed wake-up calls for the Mavs.
- They Need More Maintenance – Carlisle also built in more rest time and physical therapy. In a sign of self-leadership, Kidd continues to lift weights five days per week.
- Evaluated Experience Is The Best Teacher – “The older they (Kidd and Baltimore Ravens LB Ray Lewis) get, the smarter they get, so they still outplay everybody,” says teammate Tyson Chandler.
- The Need To Prepare The Next Generation – Kidd wants to help the next generation learn the full job description of playing point guard. “They’ll learn how much easier the game is when they involve their teammates and understand when to score. There’s a science behind it all.”
Often, we dismiss experience as outdated or unwilling to change. However, if opportunity presents itself, don’t miss the chance to add experienced leadership to your team.
If you are over 40 years old and agree with this post, please join the conversation and make your voice heard.
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