“The only constant is change.”

― Heraclitus, Greek philosopher

The San Antonio Spurs miraculously landed the No. 1 pick in the draft lottery of 1997. David Robinson, an eight-year veteran had every reason to feel threatened when the team selected Tim Duncan with that magical first pick. In a superstar-driven league with relatively few 7-footers, San Antonio already had one and had just drafted another.

Not surprising to those who knew David, but very uncharacteristic to most other teams and players, David welcomed him with open arms. He was recently asked about that in an interview:

“I never felt threatened. When you have confidence in yourself, you just do what you know how to do and don’t worry about that stuff. I think time has really proven that my thought process was correct: When somebody like that comes in [to your organization], they can only enhance what you’re doing. They can only hurt you [if there’s resistance or tension]. It’s sort of like swimming. If you jump in the water and try to fight the water, you’re going to drown. The water needs to be your friend. That was how I felt with Tim coming in, that playing together was the best thing for both of us. I think we both understood that. It’s like any business: If you help the young guys who come in become better leaders, it’s only going to help your business. That’s what happened in San Antonio.
Tim was maybe the best thing that happened to me in my whole career. ..He helped me as an individual to grow up and be a better a player. He helped us achieve the long-term goals that we set, winning championships. And he helped us become the model franchise over a 25-year period. He was kind of that last piece of the puzzle. It’s honestly a no-brainer when you think about the synergy between the two of us and what it allowed us to accomplish.”

A few ingredients of this successful transaction:

  • the existing talent had to be mature and confident in their own ability
  • they had to be open to what they could gain and learn from a new team member of another generation
  • since everyone was focused on long-term team goals (and not themselves) the new talent was welcomed with open arms

We love helping teams transition from owner-led to team-led…

  • It is the path to better solutions, more ownership by the team, and freedom for the owner or executive leadership.
  • It is the path to scalability and organizational sustainability beyond the owner.
  • It is the only way a leader can truly find the margin to work on the business and not merely in it every day.

We have seen it happen successfully so many times now that we know how possible it is for every organization. We also know that if the existing leadership doesn’t embrace newcomers and change with maturity and confidence in themselves and their ability, it may not work.

What should be a beautiful and invigorating transition becomes a war.

And there are always casualties in war.


  • Are you ready to do an owner-to-team transition?
  • Are your leaders confident and secure enough to invite others into the organization or leadership? Are you?
  • Is your desire for freedom and margin great enough to undertake this incredibly transformative journey?