Words & Sports

3 Requirements for Making Adjustments in Your Business

The NBA Playoffs Prove Adjustments Are Critical for Success


In Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, “#AskGaryVee“, he uses a sports metaphor about how important it is to be a good halftime coach (page 7 of his book). Never are adjustments more important than during the playoffs. And with the NBA playoffs underway, we will get to see adjustments play out on a consistent basis. What an opportunity to learn from sports and apply to business.

In many of the great business clients we have at both KazSource Direct (insurance) and KazCM (content marketing), we see business owners making adjustments to better their business potential: from health insurance groups adjusting to new government laws to financial advisors adapting to the disruption of robo-advisors to other professional service businesses changing their marketing process. Small businesses have an advantage over large corporations as they have more ability to pivot their business model—which of course is necessary to make an in-game adjustment.

We must address the fact that making an adjustment just to change something is not the idea here. It’s about recognizing there are factors going against your business—perhaps your competition is winning or industry rules are impacting you (see the Department of Labor (DOL) in financial services) or a key employee of yours leaves unexpectedly. Whatever the situation is, like sports, you may need to make a quick decision. Make a good decision and you will give yourself a better chance for success. Make a bad decision and the issues you were having before may get even worse.

A good adjustment in your business requires the following:


1. Self-Awareness

What are your company’s strengths? Are you focused on doing what you do best? Understanding your positives and negatives is necessary to know which direction to go when adjustments are needed. If you try to adjust around skills your business does not possess, you are setting your business up for failure. However, if you have or can find a relationship with another business that can help with this area of need, then you are being self-aware. Self-awareness is a key ingredient in making proper adjustments in your business.


2. Decision Making

Making a change in your business can lead to even more failure. This is an issue we all struggle with. So the bottom line question is, are you willing to be wrong? Failing in business is inevitable. You cannot win them all, and as you know, the only way to completely avoid failure is to not even try. Good leaders know they will lose occasionally (or even frequently), but they don’t stop—they keep adjusting. They are motivated by the risk. They are willing to make a decision and go forward.


3. Education

Of course, leaders need a great understanding of their business and the market they are in. This aspect is a bit obvious, but it requires repeating; self-awareness and great decision-making cannot replace a great education of your business (the game). Do you understand what the government is doing to change your business and do you have people who can help you with tax law changes, social media, technology, among other things? You must be educated on this or surround yourself with people that can help you in these areas–if not, you will lack the ability to adjust in time.


As a leader in your business it is your job to understand what you (and your business) are and are not good at (that’s self-awareness). It’s also your role to make swift decisions based on your education and those critical people you surround yourself with. In the NBA playoffs, coaches have minutes and sometimes seconds to make a decision. Chances are in business you will have hours or days to make your adjustments. In the end, the principles are the same. You will face challenges and it is up to you to decide on the next steps.



Image of the Steve Kerr was taken by the Keith Allison under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license