The New York Knicks (who are first in their division with 21 wins and 8 losses) played the Los Angeles Lakers (who have 13 wins and 14 losses) on Christmas Day. The match promised to be a good one, despite the Lakers record, the New York Knicks were the clear favorites to win.

The Lakers won.

Yes, their two leading players scored 54 points each. Yes, the game was played at the Lakers’ home court. And still, the main reason the Lakers won the game was Steve Nash – the 38 year old point guard who has just returned after spending the last 19 games recovering from a broken leg.

Steve Nash is a guy who focuses the team and reminds them of their goal and purpose. He isn’t a huge scorer like Kobi Bryant, he isn’t a big guy in charge of rebounds and making points in the paint like Pau Gasol –Nash is in charge of the entire team’s agenda. He manages each offense and sets up the defense, it is his job to keep an eye on the game clock, and he is the one who communicates the coach’s instructions to the rest of the team.

So he is:

  • Making sure that everyone knows the agenda
  • Keeping an eye on the time
  • Making sure the team knows what management expects from them
  • Making sure that the meeting has action items
  • Following up the action items to review their success

Or in other words, he’s managing a team meeting.

Because without keeping an eye on the bigger picture – not the personal score, but the team score, not just what you’re going to do in to the basket but how you’ll set up for defense afterwards – you can’t win games (which is exactly what happened with the Lakers the first months of the season). Without clear communication between management and team players, the team doesn’t know if the coach wants them to play zone defense or one-on-one – the action items aren’t clear, the project isn’t clear, and the meeting doesn’t move the company forwards, or in this case, the meeting doesn’t win games.

It’s true that in this meeting you are running up and down a court, not sitting at a table, and your team only gets 24 seconds to state your side of the discussion, reach a decision and deliver on action items, but don’t tell me that you haven’t been to meetings that could actually be improved by conducting them that exact same way 🙂