Last night was a big evening for the Boston Celtics fans. The NBA team rallied and won in overtime, taking a two games to none lead in their current playoff series with the Washington Wizards. As I was watching the game I realized one trait about the players that relates to innovation - fearless.
While I obviously can't speak to the mindset of every player, it is amazing to me that so many of them are willing to have the ball in their hands during the most pressure filled moments. And, while most of the attention goes to the superstars (Jordan, Bird, LeBron, etc.) last night featured a play that defines what is needed in companies.
With only one minute and thirty eight seconds remaining in the game the Celtics were down by three points when Terry Rozier launched a three point shot to try and tie the game. Here are some stats to consider:
1. This is only his second season
2. He just turned 23
3. There were over 18,000+ screaming fans at the game and millions watching on TV
4. More experienced players were on the court
5. There are 10 players on the team who have higher salaries that he does
6. He had played limited minutes all season and in this series
But off the shot went. Poof. In it goes and tie game. The Celtics would go on to win in overtime.
What I take away from this is that he has NO FEAR. He was BOLD and was willing to take a RISK. More importantly his coach has created a CULTURE that encourages him to take such shots and Terry knows that the coach and his teammates will SUPPORT him - even if he misses.
What about your company, team, or organization? Would everyone be willing to shoot from 26 feet with the game on the line and everyone watching, or would they pass up the shot? Have leaders provided the needed environment for people to succeed and take risks, or are people working from a place of fear?
Want to test this out? If you have a big meeting or presentation coming up take one of the most junior people and ask them to deliver it. Are you scared? Is he or she scared? Terry Rozier wasn't scared - he had no reason to be. Hmmmm.