Listening to some of the fallout from last night’s astonishing finish by the Dallas Mavericks, the point that hit home for me is that “old” athletes are actually still, oh so, young. The supposedly old players on the Dallas team (with the leaders being in their early 30s) relied on experience and perspective to push through to the win. On the other side, the younger Heat (mid-late 20s) seemed to revert to inexperience and play to not lose rather than play to win. They celebrated instead of playing hard the entire game. I am a heat fan, having grown up in Miami, and do feel that the Heat will learn from last night and end up winning the series, but it was still disappointing on many levels.
Throughout the season and even as recently as the game against the Bulls last week where the Heat superstars repeated the touch points that are so important – “From Buzzer to Buzzer”, “Have to fight through and keep the intensity up so the opponent cannot catch up”, “Maintain patience and composure,” and “Stay within the gameplan.” With the repetition of those mantras, how did someting like the comeback happen? I think back to buzzwords that have been thrown around over the years – paradigm shift, outside the box, push the envelope, innovation, best of breed, scalable, viral, social, relevance, omnimedia, targeted, optimization – you get the point. Many people know how to execute on them, but from most, it just feels like lip-service.
I was then reminded when a good friend, David Aaronson, was taunting me about the loss and how the Heat are the most hated team ever. And its all because of Lebron James’ show and the spectacle of the party in Miami after the announcement of “The Decision.” We all look up to athletes as if they are wise beyond their years, but again, they are relatively young. How many of us were making decisions like that in our 20s and trying to figure out how to announce those decisions? Guaranteed, its an extremely small percentage of us. Also guaranteed that Lebron has learned from that mistake, has become more humble (slightly?) and certainly gained perspective. Even without the support team and Network that Lebron had around him for that “Decision” Debacle, we have all made questionable decisions when we were that age – both personally and professionally.
With that, it all comes down to perspective. Certainly in the digital media and entertainment world, youth is held aloft as the key. Youth is certainly a plus when it means an openness to try things or look at things with an entirely new POV. But, that same youth can lead to bad business decisions when those decisions do not take into consideration what came before. There are certainly some amazing young leaders and thinkers in all industries, but much of that success is found in visionaries who rely on a whole perspective before executing. Alternatively, it is interesting or concerning to see “Strategists” in their early 20s. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve stated before that there are young visionaries, but I am concerned about the perspective coming from people who are so new out of college or have only been working in the digital space.
The quest for the shiny new thing even takes seasoned professionals under their spell when they jump without maintaining a view of the big picture. So, no matter how young or old, experience and perspective is key.
Perhaps if the Heat had made use of their experience and kept perspective, they might not have been celebrating at the 7 minute mark as if they had already won the championship. Hopefully, the loss was a lesson so that the Heat don’t have to learn a much harder lesson by losing the championship…