By no means is my business a finished product. Like most other companies, mine is a work in progress and probably always will be. And every day I wake up excited to work on the build.
The business world is something of a roller coaster, with wins and losses, disasters and triumphs, but building a team capable of doing great things has been one of the best rides of my life—and it’s something Kevin Durant, of the Golden State Warriors, has missed out on.
We’re not here to criticize Durant. In fact, as we’ve written before, we can learn a lot from Kevin Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to go to the Warriors. He exemplifies the power and responsibility we all have to steer our careers according to our own, personal judgment. He was a free agent and had earned the right to do what he wanted. I have no problem with that. When someone in my company leaves, I support their choice. But while Durant had every right to make the choice that he did, the choice came with a cost, and that cost is also part of the lesson Kevin Durant’s story can teach.
Durant, as we know, is a champion, fair and square, but he was not a part of the process that made the Warriors champions. He wasn’t part of the build.
Most of the other players and even the executives on the team were a part of a long, strategic process to build the Warriors into one of the top teams in basketball. That process must have been exhilarating for everyone involved, to work for years towards a goal and then to finally see all that work pay off in a championship win. Durant worked hard, too, but he wasn’t part of that process. He was a late addition. Did he help lead the Warriors to victory? Of course. As one of the most talented people in basketball today—and probably one of the top 20 players of all time—he definitely made the team more dominant than it would have been. And yet, it’s quite possible that the Warriors could have won without him. The whole reason he moved to Golden State was that they already had a championship-quality team. And he wasn’t there to help build that team. This win is not his baby.
Honestly, if I were in his position, I’d feel like something was missing. I’d feel a little sad. Does Kevin Durant feel that way? I have no idea. I’m not second-guessing his decision. I’m not criticizing him. All I know is that if I’d been in his shoes, I might have made a different choice—not to please the fans, and not to appease the haters, but simply for me. Because I love the build.
As an entrepreneur, you get to engage in the build. Success is far from certain. A lot of start-ups fail, or, if they don’t actually go out of business, fail to achieve the success their founders hoped for. Those are the breaks. If you’re offered a spot in an established company, I wouldn’t blame you for taking it. You have your own career to consider, and you get to decide what is best for you and where you can have the most impact.
But I would suggest you take a moment and think seriously about what you might be missing (building a business).