Late on Tuesday evening, June 16, Golden State Warriors basketball coach Steve Kerr was handed the Larry O’Brien trophy for leading his team to the NBA championship. It was Kerr’s first year as a head coach.
Kerr’s success was not beginner’s luck. He played as a pro, then worked as a TV analyst before taking the job with Golden State. Two years ago while he was still calling games for TNT, he ran into former coach and current analyst Jeff Van Gundy. Van Gundy told him to write everything down: “everything you’ve learned, everything you want to do, everything you’d change. It’ll organize your thoughts. Develop your philosophy.”
“Kerr created a Word file on his laptop. Some days he added a few notes, other days he filled pages. During four years of college and 15 seasons in the NBA, Kerr had played for Lute Olson, Lenny Wilkens, Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich; his teammates had included Mark Price, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Tim Duncan. There was a lot to draw on. He jotted down offensive sets and defensive philosophies, but also minutiae like a policy for families traveling on the road. Kerr began collecting plays, too, pausing the flat-screen in his San Diego home whenever he saw an action he liked. . . .Week by week, Kerr’s file grew.”
When Kerr was asked to interview with Golden State, he took his Word file and turned it into a PowerPoint presentation, outlining his philosophy and strategy to the Warriors’ brass. He got the job and a year later brought Golden State its first championship since 1975.
If you want a particular job or role, start preparing now. Whether you’re a student or a seasoned leader, write everything down. Learn from those around you. Pick their brains. Observe what works and what doesn’t. Develop your ministry and leadership philosophies. Keep a collection of notes ranging from broad philosophy to your thoughts on how to run a meeting or how exactly you’ll continue to nurture your personal health. When the time comes, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running and put your learning into action.