Archive for June, 2016

Cleveland Rocks! Lessons learned from the 2016 Cavs

a cavSo they aren’t the ’97 Bulls, ’87 Lakers or ’86 Celtics.   But they are the world champions, knocking off the Golden State Warriors who own the distinction of having set the record for most regular season wins after going 73-9 this season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are something different than the great teams of the past, with an amazingly balanced offense and a stifling defense.   But this team is more than just finesse.  They are the grit that is Cleveland.   When they were in a 3-1 hole in the NBA championships, most were in doubt of their ability to recover.   Count me in that camp.   Why?  Because no other team had ever done so.   After all, we are talking about Cleveland.   Remember “The Drive”?  Remember “The Shot”?   The last championship the city had ever seen in any sport was the 1964 Browns, well before many of us were even born.

As a Cleveland native, and Cleveland fan, this was no lost on me, or countless other fans along the North Coast, across the country and even the world.    There is an old saying that you can take the boy out of Cleveland but you cannot take the Cleveland out of the boy.   While we all love the city for what it is, what we have longed for is validation in the form of a world championship; in any sport.   C’mon, just give us a little something instead of the tease of the ’97 Indians.

This year’s NBA championship will not be forgotten.   It was marked by stunning comebacks starting with the Dub’s going down 3-1 to the Spurs and then defying the odds to win the series.  Who would have ever thought the finals would turn out the same way, but this time the Warriors were the ones to lose on their own home court as King James and the Cavs finally brought victory and validation home.

In our own organizations, we should look to the leadership of this team, both on and off the field to better understand their success.  It was perseverance with a focus on winning that ultimately ruled the day in a society where marginality has become socially acceptable and everyone gets ribbons just for participating.  There would be no ribbons for losers here, only champagne for the champions as they raised the trophy in Oracle Arena.

While the NBA season is over, our season is not.  It is a perpetual game of continuous process improvement in an increasingly difficult marketplace.   Doing things “good” isn’t good enough for those who truly want to gain a competitive advantage.

True success comes from looking across the business landscape.   Who does things well, marginally well or not well at all.  The Cavs were a decent basketball team during the regular season.  They could have settled for the status quo and made the playoffs as a #2 or #3 seed.   But they didn’t.  They recognized that to attain success they would have to improve upon what they were already doing well.   They had to build upon last year’s season that almost was.

This is true in any industry.   Most companies stay in business by doing things pretty well, and many adopt the status quo mentality by doing things “the way it has always been done”.   The ones who succeed do so by being superior in quality and service.  They look beyond their own four walls across the industry to better understand the competition.

In some organizations there is a propensity to focus on internal improvement by measuring against oneself.  This would be like the 2016 Philadelphia 76’s, who owned the worst record in the NBA,  saying they want to double their results next year, which would mean going from 10 wins to 20 wins, which is still an abysmal failure by any stretch.     As a historically successful organization, they won’t do that because their culture and leadership has defined them as winners.  They recognize that to win the big prize, they must get back to winning at least 50-55 games per season.    Having a winning attitude is the mindset that will enable them to do just that.   This is also the paradigm that businesses striving for success should seize upon.

Changing your paradigm from “what we do right” to “where we can improve” is the foundation for long term success.   As discussed in the book Re-Adjusted, casting aside the mindset of “we’ve always done it this way” to “how can we do it better” becomes the springboard to take your organization from ordinary to extraordinary.   Looking at the best of breed rather than just one’s internal results, forces companies to change for the better.

Great leaders continually do this which brings about not only change in their own organizations, but the transformation of entire industries.   They force change internally and the ensuing ascent to success forces the competition to either change or falter.   As coaching legend John Wooden once said, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”   The Cavaliers recognized this at a crucial time and went on to be world champions.

Christopher Tidball is an executive claims consultant and the author of multiple books including Re-Adjusted: 20 Essential Rules To Take Your Claims Organization From Ordinary To Extraordinary and the recently released thriller Swoop & Squat.   He is an industry veteran who has served in various claims and leadership roles for multiple Top 10 P&C carriers.  To learn more please visit or e-mail



June 20, 2016 at 2:24 am Leave a comment

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Chris Tidball is a claims and revenue management consultant and author of the "20 Essential Rules" series of self and organizational improvement books. You can ask him a question at

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