Building A Legacy

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With Miami and San Antonio locked in what projects to be a tight series, both teams are striving to move beyond simply winning the 2013 NBA Title.  All teams are trying to win, but only one is crowned the champion and only an elite few transcend beyond a championship to establishing a legacy.  The Spurs certainly have done that by winning multiple championships with a roster that has been turned over throughout the decade, while the Heat are still trying to make good on the public declaration of the Big Three to win multiple rings.  As we prepare for Game 4, let’s take a quick look at what it means to be a legacy team and how that relates to each of us in our families, businesses, and churches.

BASKETBALL – What makes a legacy team?

Brendan Suhr form CoachingULive.com has a terrific series of podcast interviews with many of the speakers who participate in the annual CoachingULive clinics.  Recently Tom Flick, a former college and professional quarterback and now a highly sought after leadership speaker, spoke with Coach Suhr about four types of teams :  Teams in Name Only, Good Teams, Great Teams, and Legacy Teams.  The determining factor in moving up the scale is the number of committed players to the organization.  Teams that are legacy teams also display eight unique traits:

1.  Forming of life-long friendships.

2.  A shared joy of the inner circle.  (It’s exclusive to the team only.)

3.  An unwritten expectation of accountability.

4.  A prevailing desire to never let teammates down.

5.  Good pride.  (See Flick’s explanation – bad pride destroys teams!)

6.  A display of quiet confidence.

7.  The team is built around the committed.

8.  All roles are honored equally.

Read Flick’s  Leading Legacy Teams for a more detailed explanation.

Let’s face it, most teams are at the first level.  Their players are united by the jerseys they wear and that’s about it.  With the changeover in rosters at almost every level, it becomes very difficult to move beyond this first stage, but when players and coaches work within a system and share a common belief in core principles, teams have a better chance to move to good and toward a legacy.  As the Finals finish out, which team do you think has the most of these traits?  Watch the players’ demeanors and actions and listen to their post-game comments and reflections between games.  It certainly seems that one of these teams, maybe even both, is rising to the level of legacy!

LIFE – Can you be a part of a legacy?

Any time you change jobs you most likely experience a culture change.  Most organizations and business can be grouped in the same way that Tom Flick groups teams.  The truly great organizations are those where the same eight traits exist. Sadly, I’ve been a part of more teams, faculties, and businesses where very few of those traits existed than in those that were  good, great, or legacy.  I realize now that I should have done more to make a difference.

Aren’t families the same?  My family growing up did not have many of those traits, but it sure motivates me to encourage my family to move toward a legacy.  I want my kids to share a unique joy within our family.  I want all of us to be accountable to each other and I want each in my family to have a quiet confidence to face fears and tackle problems outside our home.

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Legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson writes in his new book Eleven Rings about a similar view of teams identified as Tribal Leadership.  I’m not comfortable with all of Jackson’s spiritual perceptions, but the basic premise he references has merit.  As teams or groups strengthen and improve they basically move from a joint view of “life stinks” to “life is great.”  I can think of moments in several jobs and in my childhood when the perception was the first one.  I don’t want that for my family, my teams, or for my place of work.  I want to be part of a legacy.

FAITH –  The legacy of being a Christian.

Christian churches are no different.  The legacy churches would display several of Tom Flick’s principles, but again, many do not.  I’ve been involved with several churches in my life, but only one came close to being a legacy.  Isn’t that sad?  At a time in our society when Christians need to pull together, we have churches where accountability is rare, bad pride lurks, and social and economic cliques abound.  But once again, it starts with me.  Christ can strengthen the Church by strengthening me. That’s how the legacy will be built.  Paul simplified it very well when he signed off in his second letter to the church at Corinth.  To be a part of the legacy of being a follower of Christ follow his advice:

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.  (2 Corinthians 13:11)

Now that’s a legacy!

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