The NBA Finals are coming to a close, quite possibly very soon, and it’s time for the inevitable “What HR Can Learn from The NBA Finals” rant. I’m starting to get the hang of these. While I’m not a huge NBA fan, I’ll catch a glimpse at the games, because it’s the finals and I love sports. I enjoy watching the best of the best compete and get the best out of each other. This particular finals features, for the third year in a row, the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. After losing to the Cavs, last year, the Warriors added one of the best players in the league in the off-season, Kevin Durant. Top organizations do this all of the time. They make recruiting their number one priority and will do what is needed to be the best.
After almost 10 seasons, and an MVP trophy, with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant decided to join forces with the Warriors to play with the best and put himself in the best position to win a championship. The NBA fandom outside of Golden State lost their collective minds and ripped KD for making this move. Many called him selfish and couldn’t believe he’d leave the team he started to chase a ring. The memes and insults coming out of Cleveland were hilarious. The short-term memories were fuzzy from those fans as their beloved King James took his talents to South Beach to join forces with the best to capture a couple of rings, just a few years ago.
Kevin Durant is at the prime of his career. He’s one of the best players in his profession and wants to get the top reward of his sport and get a ring. The chances of him getting that ring while remaining at Oklahoma with slim so he chose to go elsewhere. Now he is on the verge of getting that ring and, most likely, a finals MVP.
This is no different from any great employee at your organization. They want to be challenged, work with the best tools and technology, and be a part of a winning organization. For every fan that vilifies Durant, I ask them to look at their current situation. How many of you have left an organization for more money or to do something new or work with better tools?
The best organizations are constantly looking at other companies to find the best talent. The rich seem to get richer because they invest their time, money, and resources into getting the best talent, then investing in that talent with they are there. And your best talent just wants to learn, grow, and feel they are working with the best. Either you can provide that for them, or realize you cannot support them as they move on.
Look at your organization. Who are the Durants and Lebrons of your team and what are you doing to keep them engaged? How are you providing them the opportunity to learn more and work with the best? And are you having conversations about what they want to accomplish? When you find that out, you can help them get there, even if it’s not for your team.