Part of being an old Gen X’er like me is helping the young ones understand how to carry themselves in the world.  Sometimes that means preaching to my boys (whom I can wax poetic to without time limit) but sometimes it’s a more limited engagement where I need to influence someone who’s not a captive audience—like a team member, a colleague or a candidate. You’ve got to pay the advice thing forward. I only hope that when I fall back down, you’re going to pick me up as well. Lord knows I’ve needed coaching in the past, and I could probably use some advice at some point this week… Two coaching snippets from my world last week:

-A young man, who may or may not live in my house, was convinced he was going to break a school record that had stood for 18 years and was randomly telling people his plan. A parental type, who may or may not be me, advised him “you better not run your mouth about records to other people until you’ve actually broken one. And even then, it’s a bad idea”. -A great candidate for a manager spot I was recruiting for blew the interview when she refused to talk about her track record of helping others raise their game professionally.  She was very, very talented—but all she wanted to do was talk about her accomplishments. Unfortunately, the role in question, as well as the last five years of her career, was all about helping others be successful.

Why’s this on my mind? Landon, a reader of the Capitalist from Seattle, recently emailed me the clip below featuring NBA player Andray Blatche (Washington Wizards) chasing a 10th rebound at the end of a meaningless game to score a “triple-double” (double figures in three stats, usually points, rebounds and assists).  Unfortunately for everyone involved, Blatche is so concerned about the personal accomplishment and the stat line that he proceeds to make a fool of himself, embarrass his family and possibly put a rex-hex on the Wizards franchise for the next decade. Watch the video below and track the center of the universe with the following rundown from Deadspin:

“0:23 seconds remaining: Blatche pulls one down, only to get whistled for a foul. Does not react well. •0:19 seconds remaining: Chris Douglas-Roberts puts up an airball that lands right in the hands of Cartier Martin, just as Blatche rushes over. Does not react well. •0:08 remaining: the Nets have a fast break. It occurs to Blatche that he will have to hustle to be in position for a potential rebound. He puts on the afterburners. •0:04 remaining: with the game essentially over, Blatche attempts to drive the length of the court and brick one to get his own rebound.”

Wow. Was that brutal or what? The message is pretty simple:

1. We all like talented people. 2. Talented people become lepers (no offense to lepers) when they chase stats and individual performance at the expense of meshing with the team. 3. Whatever industry you work in and company you work for, RESPECT THE GAME. Or it’s going to eat you up. When Blatche is waived by the Wizards, he just lowered the probability of another team picking him up by 50%. 4.  If you want to lead in the future, you have to act like you’ve been there before when you are successful. Even if you haven’t been.

Somewhere, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Joe Dumars (sorry Jordan fans, I’m a Pistons guy) just threw up in their mouth a little bit.  Chase performance. When you catch it, act like you’ve been there before and you’re part of a team.