Golden State Warrior’s Secret Sauce: A Culture of Safety

The stakes are high. In one hour, the 4th game of the NBA Finals will begin. The Golden State Warriors are ahead 3-0 in against the Cleveland Cavaliers. No one is sure of the outcome.

Whatever the outcome of tonight’s game, I am confident the Warriors will win the series, due, in large part, to the organizational culture of safety that transformational leader Steve Kerr has cultivated since his arrival in 2015. Simon Sinak provided this insight in his very famous TED talk, Why good leaders make you feel safe

Both teams reached  the 2017 Finals  with resounding victories in the NBA Playoff series–demolishing their respective opponents in each playoffs 7-game series ending in 4-0 or 4-1 in for the victor.

Without question, both teams have some of the very best players in the NBA today–LaBron James, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry,  Draymon Green, Kevin Love.  In addition to the well-known names, each team has other highly talented and experienced players who bring valuable skills and knowledge to the Finals.

Every player and coach is committed to winning this all important game, on the way to winning the 2017 NBA Finals, no matter the odds. No doubt it will be an ‘all-out game’.

From my perspective, what has been overlooked by all the analysis and speculation is that Steve Kerr understands what all authentic leaders facing profound challenges and uncertainty must do: . Create a climate where people are safe to fail, to try again, to improve themselves in a forgiving environment.

Even those at the ‘top of their game’ have off nights, go cold, feel fatigue, just can’t put it together. A culture of safety allows everyone to find a way out of discouragement. This is what transformational leaders understand.

A very important lesson for any leader seeking to bring out the best of their team/organization in challenging times.