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Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland’

What does Online Trust & Lebron James' Free Agency Have In Common?

Friday, July 9th, 2010

I am still frankly in some ways recovering from what I knew was going to happen all along.  Lebron James was going to leave Cleveland. I actually predicted it in this post about lessons small businesses and startups can learn from Lebron James after his flame out in Game 5 of the Celtics/Cavs series earlier this year.

So his departure got me thinking about a few things.  As we all know, his departure was a complete PR spectacle.  But there are some serious lessons learned.  Even strangely  I see some commonalities between how we all viewed Lebron James (especially Cavs fans) and how we decide whether we should trust someone online.

1.   People Change – Cavs fans, and frankly many in the media, thought they knew Lebron. Heck there was probably good reason for the belief, they watched him grow up in my hometown of Akron, watched him get drafted and become a global icon in Cleveland.  Many people thought that they knew Lebron to be “one of us” because he was from Ohio and knew the long frustration of Cleveland sports fans.  Boy were they (we?) wrong. Many people say something changed with Lebron in the last few months, even reporters that have covered Lebron since he was 16 and back in high school. It started with the complete collapse in Game 5 against the Celtics where he looked clueless and uninterested in playing in front of 20,000 crazed fans in a series that they should have won. And it continued to this summer where Lebron blew off the owner of the Cavs not responding to one of the owner’s calls or voicemails.  Wow, did he indeed change and change at that very quickly!

Lesson Learned: You may think you know someone online (and maybe even offline), but you need to be prepared for the unexpected. The only thing you can do to protect yourself is a) get as much information as possible about a person and business and b) always be cautious for the unexpected to happen because it will.  Also the person or business you know one day may be very different a few months or years later.  So always keep your information gathering up to date before you decide to do business online.

2. Do Not Trust Labels, Trust Actions – Lebron repeatedly said so many times he puts a premium on loyalty.  He said he is a loyal guy and that he will always be that kid from Akron.  The fans, media and even his teammates bought into that card.  Heck, I even bought into it.  You have to kind of grow up in Akron to understand it but there generally is a common bond of many people from NE Ohio that ties us together for some of the events, sports nightmares and generally ribbing we have endured.  Again, we were so wrong. You can literally have the word “Loyalty” printed on your chest like Lebron does, but it means ZERO if you do not live up to your word.

Lesson Learned: When you are online, people and businesses will say all sorts of things to get your business. They will say that they guarantee certain things, that you can trust them, that their website is safe.  Make them prove it to you by having them show you their trackrecord of reliability, trustworthiness and success.  Heck, that is what the KikScore seal allows you to do as a small business.

3. Look for Hints of Information to be Wary:  So in some ways I can say myself and the rest of the city of Cleveland/Akron feel blindsided.  But that would be naive.  There were many hints of information and actions, though small and isolated instances, that should have made people wary of what Lebron was going to do.  There was the lack of commitment to the team last year when he had the opportunity to resign, there was his space cadet look and play in game 5 of the Celtics game, there was the lack of engagement with the team after the season and then maybe the most glaring one is when Lebron constantly referred to the fact that he needed to consult “his team” for the decision.  No that would not be his Cavs teammates, that was his marketing team and his bunch of his fellow St. Vincent, St. Mary high school friends and agents. I should have known, I went to Walsh Jesuit the arch rival of St. V’s. We could never trust those guys……but that goes back nearly 20 years now.

Lesson Learned: Transparency is key.  If a person or business is transparent and gives you information about themselves and their actions, first that is a good sign because they are comfortable enough to give you that information.  But more importantly, in order for you to make that online trust decision you need to analyze that information in way that allows you to feel comfortable.  To help, here are 7 items to look for from in stores that sell online to make sure they are legitimate,  5 safe online shopping tips and some help with finding contractors you can trust online.

There probably are many more.  Please let us know which ones you think there are.  I am sure you probably heard that the Cavs owner last night had a nuclear response to Lebron breaking his trust and the city of Cleveland’s trust.  We all should learn a few things from this free agency experience so that we do not end up having to send a letter like that to a person or company you do business with online because you did not take the steps to protect yourself.

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Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland’

Cleveland Cavs Killer Lebron James Gives Small Business & Startups A Few Lessons

Friday, May 14th, 2010

As many in the sports world today are talking about, last night’s Boston Celtics victory over the Cleveland Cavs to eliminate the #1 seeded Cavs from the playoffs was a real shocker.  It was made worse by the fact that it accelerated the summer of Lebron James’ free agency.  For the city of Cleveland and Cavs fans (like me), this was as close to a sporting apocalypse as they have seen since Cleveland’s past sporting meltdowns that are so famous, they have one word names attached to them: the Drive, the Fumble, the Shot and  the Wedge.  So from this debacle…actually they are calling it LeBacle in some circles, there has to be a few lessons learned for us small businesses and startups.  Here are a few quick ones that come to mind:

1. One Star Teams Often Fail– the ongoing critique of the Cavs is that they only have one star on their team, Lebron James.  In the NBA its generally known, that you need to have a team made up of at least two stars and several excellent roll players to win in the playoffs. The Cavs have failed for years to get multiple stars on the team to play next to Lebron.  They have tried, but each time the players have massively underperformed like Mo Williams the last two years. So lesson learned for us businesses is to make sure your team has multiple stars and if you have roll players that may be your contractors/vendors, ensure you have folks that can deliver in the clutch.

2. One Person Should Not Hold A Team Hostage – the Cavs have let Lebron James hold the team, the city and frankly Cleveland sports to some extent hostage.  Everything he wants, he gets.  New players, new coaches, new lineups, even new travel plans like when the team is playing in Miami because Lebron wants to stay out and party instead of returning home, guess what the coach orders – the team to stay an extra night in Miami (well who would blame him for that one – I would take an extra day in Miami too!).  That need to make one person hapy has lead the Cavs to make continual changes to their team to find just the right fit of players to Lebron’s liking.  This has had the effect of destroying any team chemistry. That was so evident in the series against the Celtics.  Cavs players that had succeed for the entire regular season (7 months!) found themselves on the bench. Suddenly the team that dominated the regular season, looked absolutely lost.  Startups and small business can learn from this and aim to have a consistent team, where folks play key roles, keep each other accountable and management makes every effort to not take people in and out of the lineup to match one “star’s” whims.

3. Play Your Heart Out & Show it – the now famous Game 5 where it looked like Lebron James wanted to be anywhere but in a sold out arena of Cavs fans (who absolutely adore and support him to no end) in one of the biggest games of his playoff career.  He played scared, he looked timid and in such a big game the star played so small that the whole world saw it.  This should be an easy lesson for us small businesses and startups.  Go 100% and go with passion and enthusiasm.  Even when you may get down, get back up and fight.  In the biggest “games” for your business, step up and seize control of the game.  Dont wait like Lebron did in Game 5 and let the “game” come to you.  Success will come to those that seek it out.

4. Do Not Ignore Your Fans – No one looks at it this way, but they really should.  The Cavs fans are Lebron’s customers.  If no one showed up to see him play, would he get those multi-million dollar contracts?  No! The Cavs fans have enthusiastically supported the Cavs and Lebron since he first put on that jersey.   There is simply no fan base in the US that will support Lebron the way he has been supported for years – even without the championships.  These fans are Lebron’s customers.  Can he get other fans/customers in multiple other cities?  Yes, or course he can but will they be as rabid, as passionate and will they literally make him the face of the entire city like they would in Cleveland if Lebron delivers that long lost championship that has eluded the city for over 40 years? Never.  So lesson learned for small business and startups, when you succeed and you start growing, do not be so easy to turn away from your bread and butter – the customers that got you to your success. That means be very careful because the grass is not always greener on the other side and be very careful in not serving and supporting your core customers.

5. Life/Business Goes On After A Loss – Ok, this lesson should actually be taken from the Cavs fans and less from Lebron.  Its maybe also a little self-healing from me.  After the loss and likely departure for Lebron from Cleveland, life goes on.  DO NOT LAUGH, but I will move on to the other team that I swore off a few years ago for their ineptitude, the Cleveland Browns.  As we likely close the chapter on Lebron in Cleveland and the chance of winning that elusive major sports championship that Cleveland fans so want, we just adjust and say well now our hopes are that Mike Holmgren can take the Browns to the promise land and end the 40 year drought.  So for your business, always be flexible and if someone/something or a major project is let down, bounce up and move on because that success will come.  It will come one day and it will feel so good…..just like I know I will feel when the Browns finally win the Super Bowl! (as my wife, the Steelers fan and Pittsburgh native, mocks me from across the room).

Tell us what you learned from Lebron’s and the Cavs collapse.

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