How Basketball Mindsets Translate to Business [Reintroducing Garett®]

Comparing the winning mindsets of basketball to business and a look into the new Garett®

Running a business is similar to running a professional basketball team in a lot of ways – especially when it comes to mindsets around growth and timing.

There are three basketball team mindsets

Some teams are in what you call a “win now” mindset. This is when their core players are in their prime, aging out of it, or fed up with not progressing year after year. The goal of a “win now” team is to, well, win a championship at all costs. The best prepared teams often get to the end or at least reasonably close, while others that rush the process crash and burn.

Meanwhile, some teams are in what you call a “rebuilding” mindset. This is where they know they’re not in the position to win (for a multitude of reasons), so they’re either starting from scratch or focusing on a few young players that could potentially lead the team to victory in the future. Oftentimes they could also be trying to implement new coaching or culture. Sometimes this works out well, while other times it doesn’t.

The rest of the teams float somewhere between the two, where there really isn’t much progress being made or they’re getting outplayed by better teams. They’re just busy existing and this rarely ever works out well.

Basketball Team Mindsets based on the 2020-2021 Season

Basketball Team Mindsets based on the 2020-2021 Season

To sum up an example of each mindset within basketball (for the recent completed 2020 – 2021 season):

  • The Brooklyn Nets with all of their aging All-Stars had pushed to “win now” before the big contracts weigh them down with little results
  • The New York Knicks had finally committed to a proper rebuild and have found young faces that could lead the league as they step into their primes
  • The Washington Wizards had two All-Stars and not much else with no real direction or results to show for their players

Businesses, too, can be summed up by one of these three mindsets

You’re either going hard pushing to reach your goals (whether financial or other), working to build a strong foundation for when your number is called, or you’re lost somewhere between the two places, just existing.

I think the most important thing to remember is that while there are certainly best practices, no one specific way is the bonafide path to winning the ‘chip. Just like in basketball, our businesses go through different seasons where anything and everything affects our outcome. Instead of trades and injuries, we have market climates, brand perception, product quality, and all the difficulties that go along with them.

Which is the right mindset for growing a business?

There is nothing wrong with taking a step back and reinforcing your foundation – whether that be with products, branding, content, employees, or other necessary elements. As long as there is a plan in place to make a run in a few seasons (and you’re still selling enough tickets to keep on the lights of course), your fans (read: customers) will still support you for the progress you’re making. I believe a lot of people thrive when playing the long game, when done correctly.

That’s not to say having a “win now” mindset doesn’t work in business as well. If you’re confident in the assets you’ve put together and are in the right headspace, you can definitely make a solid shot at the title (read: your goals). You may not end every season as a champion, but the journey of a hard fought season will turn your fans into diehards while attracting new ones, set new viewer ratings (exposure), and sell some jerseys and season tickets (products/services).

There’s no wrong choice when deciding if you’re going to set yourself up for the future, or take the ball and just run for it now. Just don’t coast in those blurred lines – that’s where teams (and businesses) and dreams go to dwindle into obscurity.

Business Mindsets & Characteristics

Business Mindsets & Characteristics

Making my splash in the league

When I launched Garett® Creative in 2018, I brought a new team to the playoffs with some success. After that initial season, a lot of things in my personal life got in the way. With the next few seasons now filled with coasting, I was uncertain whether I was rebuilding gradually towards that destined win, or going straight for the gold – I was between mindsets.

@Garett Instagram Story about going on Hiatus

My hiatus post in 2020 on my @Garett Instagram Story

Near the start of 2020 I consciously made the decision to step back from social media to focus on myself and working with the clients I’ve built a relationship with full time. I decided that going through a rebuild was what was best for me personally, and that it would shape the future of my business.

I’ve done soul searching, redefined my ideas of success, focused on my client journey and partnerships, and planned how I want to shape the world around me through my business. My comeback season has begun and it may not lead to a championship this year, but it’ll definitely set the tone for many years to come.

Garett Creative is now Garett®

No longer just a branding agency, I work under my own name. I work with clients to make an impact, especially on a personal level, as I’m out there advising and stepping on to the court myself.
Where a lot of branding agencies fail is through ineffective attempts of attracting everyone on a large scale with one-size-fits-all tactics and solutions.

Part of what I’ve discovered working with other businesses over the years is I don’t really enjoy tactics that leave you feeling dishonest or questionable. I believe it only leads to mediocrity and not working towards that “win now” mindset because instead of creating a solution for the business, agencies fit the business into their solution.

[insert ig back post]

It’s time for a fresh take on branding strategy along with the visuals and platforms behind it, and I’m on the court leading that charge. You’ll see that reflected in my content, social media, and even in my visual branding.

This is a reminder to anyone who needs to hear this – including myself: perfect timing doesn’t exist. As one season ends, there is still work to be done in the offseason. Strategize, train, make moves, and decide on a path.

Note: As I transitioned to the new domain, all of the existing shares and views have transitioned with them, so you will see that reflected on cornerstone articles I’ve written.


About The Author

Garett Southerton

Garett® is a creative brand strategist that has been in the design industry for over 17 years helping ambitious business owners connect with their customers through remarkable brand systems, intentional websites, and honest strategies.

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