Steve Kerr is the coach of the Golden State Warriors. He has five assistant coaches and a raft of other experts on hand. Yet during the 2015 playoffs, he took a suggestion from the guy who splices the highlight reels and the music playlist.
Nick U’Ren happened to be watching a tape of the 2014 playoffs. Noticing how another team had defended James, U’Ren suggested Kerr replace Bogut (a 2.13 metre Australian) in the lineup with the smaller but more athletic Andre (1.98 metre) Iguodala, to force James to work harder to get his shots. Now consider this: Iguodala hadn’t been picked in the starting lineup for the entire season. He’d spent most of the season on the bench.
Yet Kerr took the suggestion – and that one change is widely credited with holding off LeBron James and giving the Warriors the 2015 title.
Iguodala received Most Valuable Player for the finals series even though he only played three of the 6 games. In an interview for the New York Times, Warriors guard Shaun Livingston said, ‘I’ve played for nine different organisations, and I’ve never seen anything like that. This wasn’t even an assistant coach; it was a video coordinator. And Steve Kerr listened to him, and he did it. All the bridges are open here. There’s an open forum of ideas. A good idea really can come from anywhere. And that kind of thinking has to start at the top.’
That’s why I’m talking about an American basketball in a blog for local government professionals – game-changing ideas can come from anywhere. To top the story off, Kerr publicly gave U’Ren the credit. Great leadership!
Steve Kerr isn’t the only decision-maker with an open door policy at Golden State. The entire organisation is set up to encourage the free-flow of ideas. According to Joe Lacob, majority owner of the GSWs, before and after each game, he makes himself available to any part owners who want his ear. ‘It’s the atmosphere of knowing you have a voice – knowing you’re part of this. One thing I didn’t like when I owned part of the Celtics – was I really heard? I don’t know. I wanted to make sure that when I did this, everybody got heard.’
The question to consider now is what is your council doing to encourage everyone to share their ideas? A suggestion box? An open-door policy? A willingness to listen non-judgementally? Online forums? If you have any other ways of sharing ideas within your council or your community, let us know. We’re all ears!