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Take a Cue From a Successful NBA Coach. Say, 'We Have Enough to Win.'

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At what point is it logical to throw in the towel? At what point should an entrepreneur give in? 


After all, there’s always a reasonable excuse, an unexpected obstacle or something to point to as the rationale for failure. Perhaps the company grew faster than planned or did not grow as expected. Perhaps a key employee quit or became sick or a supplier did not come through. Or was it the economy, just plain bad luck or any number of challenges that the company faced, is facing or will face?

This approach of letting excuses come to mind has an antithesis: "We have enough to win" is a favorite phrase of Tom Thibodeauthe 2010-11 NBA Coach of the Year and expresses the fact that the team will find a way to win with what it has. 

Related: 10 Practical Ways to Promote a High-Performance Culture

Employees of my company, N2 Publishing, know this sentiment very well, as each new team member hears the organization's culture described as follows: "In times of rapid growth, challenges or unexpected obstacles, our team searches for and finds a way to get the job done rather than coming up with reasons why they can’t." 

It’s likely that Chicago Bulls fans first became familiar with the “We have enough to win” phrase in the wake of a decimating injury to its star player. While most fans were grieving over the player's tear to his anterior cruciate ligament and completely writing off the season, Thibodeau faced the media, saying unapologetically, “We have enough to win.”

Although the Chicago Bulls have yet to win the NBA championship under Thibodeau’s lead, the team is fiercely respected by fans for its competitive spirit and overachieving nature. 

Related: Are You Playing to Win?

What I’ve always loved about Thibodeau’s approach to leadership -- and what he was clearly saying to his team -- was that excuses will not be accepted. And his team has consistently responded, winning games and a playoff series it wasn’t supposed to win, at least according to fans or odds makers.

As you look back, has been a project perhaps abandoned a little too quickly? Did you allow an employee or co-worker to sell you on a no as opposed to a yes? 

Think about it: Your company is going to face an unpredictable challenge of some sort in the near future. How the leader responds and prepares the team to respond is critical to its likelihood of successfully navigating the challenge.

Imagine an entire team sharing the “we have enough to win” approach. What could it accomplish?  I’ve always been amazed by what can be surmounted with a no-excuses approach although it's not possible to conquer every obstacle in life or work.

Related: Billionaire Entrepreneur Mark Cuban: 'Failure is Part of the Success Equation'

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