Disclosure – I am not a big Kobe Bryant basketball fan. I believe he could be doing so much more for the community and the world.
That being said, as a leader, it is my responsibility to find the contributions and value every individual brings to an organization and respect their efforts. I learned in a recent article by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, entitled “Scout’s eye helped Bryant focus on title drive,” exactly how much effort Mr. Bryant puts into mentally preparing and studying for every game. It seemed to be off the map compared to his peers.
The other very interesting thing about Bryant’s preparation is the fact that he is willing to accept insights and guidance from non-traditional sources. Kobe’s most insightful source in the current championship drive was a relatively unknown basketball scout with the nickname “Sweet Chuck.” Mike Procopio (his real name) came with facts and specific recommendations, not generalities. He gained Kobe’s respect and the rest is history.
Whether we call them mentors, coaches or just colleagues, we all need the advice and insights of others. Even more importantly, as our careers progress, we cannot forget that best leadership advice often comes from the most unlikely sources. My twenty-something coaches provide me insights a peer or boss could not. The 35-year shop guy knows more than anyone where the skeletons are hidden.
Do you have “Sweet Chucks” that tell you the facts? Have you found non-traditional mentors useful in your career?