Basketball fan or not, you’ve probably heard about the Golden State Warriors’ recent “slump.” After star-player Kevin Durant experienced a heart-breaking knee injury, the team has been left to rejigger its offensive lineup in its race to the NBA first-seed.
In its first game without Durant, the Warriors suffered their first consecutive loss in 146 regular-season games. And then, after inching forward with two wins, three consecutive losses again.
I’ll admit that as a fan, I was worried. Was this the end of an era? Was this where it all crumbled? According to NBA 2016 coach-of-the-year Steve Kerr, the answer is no. In fact, he says the struggle is a good thing.
“I think we need some adversity,” Kerr told reporters. “I think adversity can help. As I said it forces you to kind of examine what you’re doing, clean some things up. Get right. I think this is going to be good for us in the long run because we’re going to tighten up a lot of things.”
Though the Warriors had a fantastic run last season with a 73W-9L record, Kerr isn’t necessarily convinced that it was all good news. Some of the “slippage” late in the season went unaddressed because the team was still winning. Arguably, this may have led to their eventual unraveling during the NBA playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Since Kerr’s interview, the Warriors have won seven consecutive games.
Steve Kerr’s mentality isn’t reserved for NBA coaches. It is applicable to leaders in business, too–here are three ways any boss can channel their inner Steve Kerr, and help their team find the good in a losing streak.
1. Be optimistic
Rather than being hard on yourself or your team when things aren’t going the right way, think about the ways in which the struggle can help you improve. What can you learn from undesired failure? Do you have hypotheses around why things aren’t working? How might you experiment to make improvements?
2. Pause and reflect
Business, much like a basketball game, moves quickly. Even when things are going well, it’s worth taking time to analyze all the good — and any potential risks. Sometimes, the best time to make improvements is when processes are moving smoothly and you’re seeing success.
3. Embrace challenges
Fight the urge to ask “Why us?” when things go wrong. Instead, push yourself to face adversity with confidence. Remind yourself and your teams how you have succeeded previously and leverage challenge as a way to tighten your process and come back even stronger.
It’s never easy to get out of a slump, but with deliberate thought and mental toughness, facing any challenge will be a slam dunk.