Friday, May 27, 2011


Two words that never seem to go together or work together are selfishness and winning.  On the other hand, when we study the key characteristics of winning organizations we find that unselfishness is of paramount importance.  It's a necessary ingredient that enhances other aspects of success in a team endeavor.

So why is unselfishness so important?  What does it do to teams?  It has been my experience with the Boston Celtics (and in particular, as a coach in our 2008 NBA World Championship run) that unselfishness alone was extremely important for us, but the ways this unselfish attitude created additional advantages for us was also very important to our success.

Below are some by-products of an unselfish approach:

    •    the sprit of our team was much greater
    •    the intensity of our play was much greater
    •    the willingness to move the ball created easier, high percentage shots for us
    •    it helped us plug holes in our defense; we covered for each other
    •    it created frustration in our opponents, as the power of the pass can never be underestimated
    •    it kept us juiced up for the next game (which is very important when you are playing over 100 games in a season); our guys 
wanted to come to work
    •    it gave us confidence knowing that we could survive a player's off night because the ball always found the open player (and therefore, the high percentage shot)
    •    it allowed us the feeling that one guy never had to carry the burden
    •    it gave us a sense that we could not be beaten because opponents had to beat all of us together -- not just one superstar on his own
    •    most of all, it gave us a feeling that we wanted to be out there on the floor every night and that we knew it was truly US against the opponent; we knew our backs were covered every minute of every game; simply put: we knew if we absorbed ourselves in the team that we would have a chance to succeed at the highest level!

Is unselfishness important? Yes -- important enough that every champion has it as a vital part of its DNA!

Kevin Eastman
Boston Celtics Assistant Coach 2008 NBA World Champions Corp. & Motivational Speaker Consultant to Coaches Worldwide 

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