Building Culture with the Right Team Members recently wrote about the tremendous success of the San Antonio Spurs basketball team and its coach Gregg Popovich. The Spurs are on their way to a 19th straight playoff appearance; their consistent success under Popovich is impressive.

The article identifies the organization’s culture, possibly the best in all of sports, as one significant key to the team’s success.  The culture that has worked well for the Spurs is one of teamwork and unselfishness: “The Spurs are notorious for finding quality, worldly players who have fun on and off the court and are willing to sacrifice personal numbers for the success of the team.”

Coach Popovich understands that the players he brings into the organization are critical to the culture he is trying to create and perpetuate. So he looks for players who:

  1. have character;
  2. have gotten over themselves and understand they are just a piece of the puzzle;
  3. have a sense of humor;
  4. are comfortable in their own skin and with not having all the answers;
  5. are participatory; and,
  6. can handle feedback while not taking criticism personally.

These qualities will help build a positive and unselfish culture with any team, not just teams playing in the NBA. As leaders, if we can find these qualities in the team members we hire we have a good chance of building strong teams whose members care most about the team’s success. So when hiring, look for team members who have high character and know they are just a piece of the overall team puzzle. As you do this, you’ll find championship success as impressive as the San Antonio Spurs.

Thanks for reading,


P.S. – Follow me on Twitter, @jvearle and visit my website at




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