Thoughts on Kobe Bryant's Passing2/4/2020
Gino Blefari, CEO of HomeServices of America (the company under which Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices operates), has written a very thoughtful piece about the passing of Kobe. Click to read the entire article, but here are some of the elements of leadership Blefari highlights with regards to Kobe Bryant.
- He was a fierce competitor. Even during Kobe’s high school years playing at Lower Merion in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, he would show up to practice at 5 a.m. and stay on the court for a solid two hours. He’d also play one-on-one games with his teammates … to 100 points. (During his worst match-up, Business Insider says he still won 100-12.)
- He never let anything—even injury—sideline him in the execution of his goals. During his years as a Lakers player, Kobe was always the first player in the gym, even when he was hurt. He once played left-handed because he had an injury to his right hand and was determined not to let it keep him off the court.
- He combined physical practice with mental motivation. He was a proponent of the mental aspect of the game; former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neill wrote in his book that Kobe would often practice dribbling and shooting without a ball and exhibit the same physical intensity as if he had a ball in his hands.
- He was a student of continuous improvement. According to Sports Illustrated, in 2008 he requested Nike shave a few millimeters off the soles of his sneakers to get “a hundredth of a second better reaction time.”
- He believed in authenticity and the power of personal storytelling. “Be yourself,” he once said to Bloomberg. “That’s it. Be you. There’s no gimmick. You don’t have to contrive anything. Who are you? Where are you today? What is your story? And all you’re doing is communicating that story to the public.”
- He was committed to accountability in leadership. Speaking with NBA TV, Kobe said in February of 2015: “There’s a big misconception where people [think] winning or success comes from everybody putting their arms around each other and singing ‘Kumbaya’ and patting them on the back when they mess up, and that’s just not the reality. If you are going to be a leader, you are not going to please everybody. You have to hold people accountable, even if you have that moment of being uncomfortable.”
- He programmed the non-conscious portion of his brain to reject failure. To Showtime, Kobe explained: “When we are saying, ‘This cannot be accomplished, this cannot be done,’ then we are short-changing ourselves. My brain, it cannot process failure. It will not process failure. Because if I have to sit there and face myself and tell myself, ‘You’re a failure,’ I think that is … almost worse than death.”