Building a winning team: the importance of recruitment


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The Golden State Warriors, an NBA basketball team based in Oakland, California, have proved that it is possible to shoot to the top of the game. How did they do it? With a bold, smart recruitment strategy.

Surround yourself with the best people and prove your humility

Knowing how to surround yourself with the best people is an art. The Golden State Warriors have shown how it’s done at every level of the club by adopting a long-term recruitment strategy. In 2010, the club’s new owner Joe Lacob recruited ex-Lakers player Jerry West to become the team’s General Manager. A legendary 1960s basketball player, he is known as “The Logo” because the NBA is believed to have used his silhouette to create its logo.

His arrival was decisive for the players, and tied in with their fierce determination to win the title. Recruiting this experienced manager (he won three titles with the Lakers in the 2000s) with insider knowledge of how the NBA works was a crucial step on the path to victory. Aware of his lack of experience, Joe Lacob consequently opted to work with a General Manager better placed to take strategic decisions than he was.

Partners you can trust

Former champions are perfect for leading teams to the top: not only do they have excellent knowledge of the game, but they have also shown that they are ready to make sacrifices. Steve Kerr, an inexperienced coach recruited by the Warriors in 2014, is a prime example.

As a former player and five-time NBA champion – three times with Michael Jordan’s Bulls – he wasn’t such a left-field choice. With little initial knowledge of coaching, over the years Kerr looked to the very top of the game for inspiration, emulating stars such as Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich (who, between them, hold 16 NBA Championship titles). Thanks to this expertise, the Warriors won the NBA Championship in May 2015. Clearly, placing your trust in talented colleagues can be an extremely effective approach!

The only star is the team

Being a good team player is vital. That may sound obvious, but it still bears repeating. The Warriors, for example, have developed a system of play that works for all the players on the court. Although Stephen Curry continues to spearhead the team, he has shown that he is a leader with the ability to delegate and share responsibility. In finals in particular, he steps back to let others take the lead: André Iguodala (who became MVP of the finals) in 2015 and Kevin Durant in 2018.

As a result, the Warriors have built a team that has gone from also-rans to championship contenders every season, and won three titles in four years (2015, 2017, and 2018).

With this method, no jealousy or unhealthy competition develops because the only star is the team.

Ultimately, putting together a winning puzzle is not about finding the best pieces, it’s more about making sure the pieces fit together well.

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