While basket ball is counting assists, companies favor individualism


Sometimes our favorite sports inspire us about our day to day job. In fact I often think than business and sport have many things to learn the ones from the others. And since Andrew McAfee wrote about baseball this summer, let me say a few words about basketball.

In brief it’s a sport which is played by two teams of 5 people and which purpose is to score more point than the oponent. And points are score by throwing a big orange ball through a circle located 3 meters above the ground.

Individually talking it’s simple : you get the ball, you shoot, you score.

In fact it’s much more difficult.

Sometimes you’re not in the best position although one of you team mate is at the perfect place, or one of theim is more skilful in such of such situation so…you give them the ball. They score, thanks to you, and it’s a good thing because if you always shoot when you get the ball you’ll have a big waste rate and, be trying to score too much, you’ll arm the collective result of your team. Many coaches think it’s better to have many players that scores equally than one or two that scores 80% of the points because this second situation would mean two things : either the team is weak either some players only play for themselves and don’t care about the rest of the team.

But at the end of the gam, if you only focus on points you’d think that some players are useless because their specality is to help others socre. Fortunately, statistics take “assists” (ie passes that help another player to score) into account for players and teams evaluations and they’re as important as points to measure player’s performance. It’s logical : the player who gives the ball makes his partners succeed and without him no point would have been score. More, a pass becomes an assist when and only when points are scored so it force people to make the right choices and not only pass the ball hoping others will do some positive things with.

So basket ball knows how to evaluate the poeople who make other’s succeed. If this wasn’t measured I’m sure many players would focus on their own points without paying any attention the the team’s points. When such behaviors happen, you often have a team with two main players (according to the points they score) but that losts all of its games.

How are people evaluated at work ? The answer will surely help you to understand why effective collaboration seldom happen.