Lay-up Lines — Do they make you better?

Before every basketball game, be it a professional one or at the local high school, we’ll often see the players line-up and take their turns making lay-ups. These lay-up lines are done as a warm-up, a good practice considering the fact that lay-ups are one of the highest percentage shots hit during a game, but the question is, is this practice a little stale and dated? Think about this: every team does this. We see they have the same warm-ups, similar strategies, and yet, not all of these teams are performing at the same level. This same critical lens can be taken into the workforce to ask the question: are we just doing what everyone else is doing because it’s what we’re supposed to do?

We are all guilty of adopting processes and systems just for the sake of having them, for fitting the mold of what an organization should look like, but what we should really be doing is stepping back and asking “what about us makes us different? What gives us the edge?”

I’m not here to advocate for eliminating the lay-up line from the warm-up, or from your organization, but is this process something your organization is spending a lot of time on with little to no return? In terms of basketball, if your team is a really good three-point shooting team, should the majority of your warm-up be dedicated to practicing that instead?

What are stale processes in your organization that maybe don’t need to be eliminated, but reassessed? Do you regularly have group calls scheduled where no one phones in? Monday briefings where everyone just twiddles their thumbs? Maybe it’s time to step up and hold folks accountable to be on the call, or maybe calling essential personnel individually is the better move. Maybe the Monday briefings are better suited for the middle of the week so you can assess progress on what’s happened in the first half of the week and set a plan for what can be achieved by the end of the day on Friday.

The personality assessments we offer and the team-building work we do at Profile certainly serve as a means to shake up the old routines and add that extra innovation to find an edge within your organization. Your organization might even have something along the lines of DISC or other personality metrics, but all too often folks will just use these services once because other organizations use them, and give up on the growth these powerful tools can offer. A one and done deal is no way to hone that competitive edge.

All teams, both athletic and corporate, should constantly be evolving and growing their practices so that, in turn, their overall efficiency and output evolves and grows as well. The reasons why we love the teams we love in basketball is because they offer us some kind of distinct connection over the others. This principle applies to why people use certain organizations for their business or purchase certain products. If every company subscribed to the lay-up line mentality, then there would be no companies performing better than others. But we all know that’s not the case. It’s good to have practices in place that give us the fundamentals, but if we spend all our time trying to emulate the competition instead of overcome them, where does that leave us as leaders and organizations?