Financial Rumblings (Biz Case)-July 8, 2016

On July 4th, 2016, NBA Super Star Kevin Durant, after being courted/recruited by a handful of the premier NBA teams, decided that he would sign with the Golden State Warriors, a team that had eliminated his Oklahoma Thunder in the Western Conference Finals in seven games.  The decision to switch teams is one that he did not undertake lightly, but his reasoning at his introductory news conference is enlightening and is probably a good tack that companies should take when hiring employees-be they entry or executive level.

Workplace environment and chemistry is huge. You are going to be with your co-workers longer than you are with your family on any given weekday, so it might as well be enjoyable. Lorne Michaels, Saturday Night Live creator and producer, told Tina Fey, “Don’t hire anyone you wouldn’t want to run into in the hallway at three in the morning.” (The New Yorker, “Lessons From Late Night”, March 14, 2011).  Durant spoke of how Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green seemed to really like being teammates: “But to see them together, they all walked in, they looked like they were holding hands. It was a family. I can tell they enjoyed being around each other.” Durant elaborated further, “It felt like like those guys just played pickup every single day… That’s the kind of feel I wanted.”

You have to be wanted. Though, you might not have a NBA MVP in your company, every company has a MVP who is the face of the organization/company, and that person needs to be all in in wanting you to be part of the organization. Durant said of Curry’s involvement and impact on his decision:

“He’s a guy that’s on top of the world right now. He’s the face of the NBA in a lot of people’s eyes. I wanted to see if he really would embrace me as a player and as a person, and I had no doubts that he would. He showed that he was all in on this thing. He worked with his family to come to the meeting and be a part of the meeting, and then he showed me how much he cared and how much he wanted me to be part of it.”

Growth and learning opportunities must be there.  Though Durant is an accomplished player ( NBA All-Star 5 times; All-NBA First team 5 times; NBA scoring champion 4 times; and NBA MVP 1 time), he is joining a team which has been in the NBA finals for two straight years and has three current All-Stars in the team’s starting five. Durant said of these opportunities, “But I want to just continue to keep getting better, man. I want to learn from these guys. I want to come in here and lead as best as I can and just be myself.”

You have to trust your gut on deciding on whether to change organizations. After processing all the information, as trite as it sounds, it really comes down to what your gut/instinct says. Gut instincts are very valid, according to an article by Samantha Olsen in Medical Daily ,“Your Gut Feeling is Way More Than Just A Feeling: The Science of Intuition”, provided a person was not forced or denied certain feelings during his/her prime stages of mental, physical and above all emotional growth .  Durant said of his decision team (father Wayne Pratt, business manager Charlie Bell and agent Rich Kleiman) and process on choosing whether to stay with Oklahoma City or change to Golden State, San Antonio, Boston, Miami, or Los Angeles:

“We sat down and went through the pros and cons of every team, every situation. We looked at it all, and they were there to support me, to be there for me, and I trusted them. I think the third, the night before, Fourth of July… we were talking and I was just torn, and I told them I wanted to sleep on it. I woke up about 7 o’clock in the morning and I walked in the room – everyone was asleep – and I woke them up and I just said ‘I want to go to the Warriors,’ … and we all gave each other hugs and we moved on from there. We knew a lot of attention was gonna come. We just stuck to what I wanted to do, and we moved on. That call to Oklahoma City was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. Tears were shed, but like I said this is a new journey for me, testing the unknown. I trusted my gut, I trusted my instincts. It’s an unpopular decision, but I can live with it.”

Once you join the organization, the work has just begun. Once the new employee is on board, the recruitment never stops, as you must continue to create an environment for the employee to stay: those tangibles/intangibles that persuaded the employee to join your organization must continue to be there, otherwise, the person might just jump ship. Although, Durant signed a two-year contract with a player option in the second year, it’s expected to be a long term contract. “I don’t want to go through that again, so I plan on being here,” Durant said. “I’m committed.”

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