Recently I watched LeBron James on the ESPN Sport Network. It was an interesting broadcast as he was talking about the strategies that lead to his success. I started thinking, ‘are those some of the same success strategies that high-achieving career and businesswomen can utilize to achieve their success.
One thing that was quite obvious, that is besides his great dunks, he has the ability to think differently and defy what is considered ‘the norm’.
When he moved back to Cleveland to implement a new business model – it was a short-term contract that gave him unprecedented leverage as a player.
He has built his own business empire with a group of trusted friends and advisors – shunning traditional agents and marketers.
He has spoken out on social issues, and has worked to improve conditions for his fellow players – pressing behind closed doors for a week-long break at the All-Star Game.
WOW! sounds just like what high-achieving career and businesswomen in leadership do well – especially for those who are building a brand, a success platform and have a defined career or business path that includes short- and long-term goals and objectives.
Here is James’ five success strategies that he has used to become the most influential player in the NBA.
1. Call your own shots.
One of the few times James took the traditional route was immediately when he became a professional and signed with an agent. He quickly realized that he wanted to call his own shots, and therefore left his agent to start his own firm, LRMR Marketing.
At the close of each season, James had a decision to make. The decision-making is not in the hands of Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert or prospective suitors — the decisions are up to James. This control and flexibility is possible because of the contracts that he and his team at LRMR have made. He has discovered the power of controlling your own destiny.
2. Build a close-knit team.
James has chosen to surround himself with trustworthy people. He did not search for marketing experts or Ivy League geniuses when building LRMR. Rather, he turned to friends, a trio he grew up with in Akron, Ohio.
People said that he was making the worst decision ever to turn his marketing over to three guys who didn’t finish college; who lacked education in sports marketing; or who didn’t know how to make money or build a brand? James understood that degrees and accolades are not always the most important attributes.
A loyal team can be most invaluable.
3. Take calculated risks.
James is known for changing the league by introducing a new way to think about free agency. Turning down a long-term contract to become an unrestricted free agent offers control, choice, and freedom – but it is risky business. The long-term contract guarantees money and security, which are highly valued in such a high-risk, physical sport where the average career usually last 4.8 years.
James indicated that he would rather have leverage and power, which is why he signed a two-year; $42.1 million contract in 2014. This contract was unprecedented in that it gave him the most power he could have asked for in the short term and the most money he could have gotten in the long term.
Smart risks can open up great opportunity.
4. Negotiate everything.
At age 16, James showed up at the prominent Adidas-sponsored ABCD basketball camp wearing Nike shoes. Later that summer, he was invited to participate in the Nike-sponsored All-American camp, and he showed up wearing a pair of Adidas.
He delayed committing to either brand long enough that Reebok also got into the mix, and the bidding for the future star began. This strategic move resulted in the negotiation of a record endorsement deal with Nike — six years, $90 million. This was even before his NBA debut.
He understands how to exercise leverage, as well as the importance of taking your time, weighing your options, and making a decision that you feel good about and will impact your career, business and life.
5. Question the norm and defy the conventional.
He defied ‘the conventional’ when he chose his close-knit team over the traditional agent, when he declared free agency over a long-term contract, and when he showed up at an Adidas-sponsored camp wearing Nike shoes.
James has chosen to march to his own beat, and as a result, players, fans, and entrepreneurs look to him for guidance. By doing this, he has not only established himself as the game’s best player, he has established himself as its most influential leader.
The correlation between his success strategies and the success strategies of high-achieving career and business women obviously parallel each other. Yes, high-achieving career and business women call their own shots, they have a trusted team of advisors, they take risks, negotiate everything and they defy the conventional. They have learned what it takes for their own definition of success.
WHAT I RECOMMEND:
- Continue to perfect your leadership skills!
- Activate your Growth, Success. Acceleration.
- Remember for career and businesswomen, it’s always about RUD –Results. Uniqueness. Differentiation.
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