"He's not throwing behind-the-back passes, he's not doing tomahawk jams, he's not doing anything that's very flashy. He's just a very unassuming guy who goes about his job, and the next thing you know he's got 23 points and 20 rebounds."          -Byron Scott

Most eulogies focus on the individual.  But for the truly great ones, they focus on something far more profound and enduring.  When really significant people move on, all the acknowledgement of their greatest tends to focus on the impact they had on others.

When it is all about you, it is all about you.  

Whether you are a father/mother, a pro athlete, or a businessman, your life will ultimately be measured by the impact you had on others.

When one of my spiritual fathers, Dallas Willard, died, I was astounded by how many people seemed to know him.  It felt like hundreds of eulogies were written online about the impact this man had on each of them.  Only the most selfless and simple a life, could have that deep an impact on so many.  Despite his profound writing, teaching, and speaking, Dallas lived a powerfully simple life full of margin and room… to invest in and change the lives of many.  He lived a Kingdom life where he reserved all his attention for the most precious of God’s creation… you and I.

Living in San Antonio, we have had a front row seat on a selfless life expression of another sort.  In an industry where arrogance, flash, and self-aggrandizement seems to be the barometer for success, Tim Duncan chose a different path.  His recent retirement prompted dozens of tributes including videos.

While they all mention his personal accomplishments:

  • 2 Time NBA Most Valuable Player
  • 15 Years all NBA Team
  • 15 Years all NBA Defensive Team
  • 13 Years NBA All-Star
  • 14th in all time scoring
  • 6th in all time rebounding
  • 5th in all time blocks

Most of the tributes focus on his selfless play, his unassuming manner, and how much better he made everyone around him.  They obviously point to the five NBA championships during his career, but the more astounding statistics are around the sustained excellence of the team through his career.

  • The year before he was drafted, they won 24% of their games
  • During his 19 seasons, they won 72% of their games
  • They made the playoffs all 19 years
  • They won over 60% of their games in every season
  • They had a winning road record in all 19 seasons

Those are the numbers that make the experts really shake their heads.

He took less money, fended off lucrative offers from other teams, played a diminishing role, and modeled what being a team player, and focused on the success of everyone.  His greatest honors are a result of how he honored all others above himself.

In Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team, the ultimate destination is found in shared results.  We coach our clients toward the rarely obtained organizational health because it is the greatest determinant of long term success.  It means they must establishe trust, engage in healthy conflict, find new levels of commitment, and institute accountability structures… so that the team can focus on, celebrate, and enjoy sustained success through shared results.

It is as rare in pro sports as it is in corporate America, but I can point to Tim Duncan’s career and a growing list of companies I know that are finding the same.

It’s all about the fundamentals.

  • Are you a selfless leader?
  • Is your entire focus on making other’s better?
  • Does your life look more like serving others or being served?
  • Are you ready to start the journey toward to organizational health that will ultimately be measured in your team’s success?