Justin Caldbeck of Duke Basketball and Binary Capital: Teamwork as Evidenced Through Multiple Fields

Whatever your goal may be, eventually you are going to have to work cohesively with other people, and when that time comes, it helps to have some preparation and background knowledge to help guide your interactions. Every person is unique, but people as a whole are highly predictable; So, playing to the masses, casting a large net so to speak, will bring in the vast majority, even if a few lone swimmers fall through the cracks. Using broad, encompassing techniques throughout the business world is commonplace, and learning to speak the corporate lingua franca is simply a part of existing in the white-collar sphere.  Fitting in and coalescing to the natural rhythm of the corporate sector is the only the first challenge, but once this first hurdle is overcome, you’ll see that the rest of the pieces seem to fall better into place with your newfound perspective.

 Group sports demand a certain level of comradery and teamwork, so it can be helpful to view the dynamics of your business as just another group sport that applies to the same principles, rules, and patterns as basketball, football, or baseball. All systems move in similar, predictable ways, and the skills applicable to one team activity can easily transfer to any other team activity. Mastering the minutiae of interpersonal relations will give you the skills and confidence you need to then master the entirety of the business universe, or any other sphere you wish to conquer. Every small step counts, so remember to stay diligent in your quest for improvement, put in some work every day and before you know it you’ll be close enough to your dreams to simply reach out and grab them.

Justin Caldbeck Rule #1 Anticipate the Needs of Others

 One of the quickest ways to gain the favor of others is to recognize when they need help and apply yourself directly. Anticipating the needs of those around you will make you the most popular member of the group, sure, but it will also show your teammates that you are an intelligent and capable component of the team, working towards the common good. To be able to do what needs to be done, wordlessly and without having to be told, is a highly sought-after quality for one to have, and one that, ideally, every member of the group understands to some extent. When an entire team can operate from start to finish with little to no instruction, the members of that team feel like they are truly part of a highly-functioning efficient machine, able to complete any task thrown its way. Be wary, though, to always first complete the individual work and tasks that are explicitly your responsibility, or you’ll find that others are asking you why you are so involved in other tasks when your tasks are falling by the wayside. If your man isn’t covered, it makes no sense to help double-cover someone else’s assignment; always make sure your back is covered before you go to check on someone else’s.

Justin Caldbeck Rule #2 Have a Solid Plan and Stick To It

The best way to adequately prepare for a new or unique situation is to practice, practice, practice. No one gets anywhere without a map, and no one find success without a plan. But it’s not enough just to have a plan, you’ve got to know it like the back of your hand if you want to perform it with one hundred percent conviction. The more times you go over a plan beforehand, the less of a chance there is that challenges you haven’t foreseen will arise. Lastly, there’s something to be said for being able to pivot and make a quick decision on one’s feet to go in a different direction, but this skill should only rarely be implemented. Nine times out of ten your gut instinct is right, so even when things get chaotic and doubt creeps in, power through, have confidence in the original plan, and watch it succeed. Sometimes it just takes a little time, a little patience, and a little faith.

Justin Caldbeck Rule #3 Be the Go-To Guy

The Go-To Guy is the guy everyone comes to for help, the guy who can get the job done in the clutch, the guy who always gets the last shot of the game. The Go-To Guy is trustworthy and dependable, and always takes the heaviest load for themselves; they are a captain while also being a jack of all trades. Go-To Guys are a necessity for any operation, and being indispensable is a good way to never be left behind. Go-To Guys can become Leaders, too, and in fact these are the types of Leaders that find the must success among their peers and workforce. These types of Leaders always have their door open and are always willing to help out with a problem, no matter how minute or monotonous. There’s really no reason someone wouldn’t want to be the Go-To Guy. Being the Go-To Guy as a worker will surely grab the eye of management, and being the Go-To Guy as management will make you the type of Leader that is admired, trusted, and respected by their employees.

Justin Caldbeck Rule #4 Maintain a Positive Attitude (and Watch it Spread)

Just one negative attitude, even with only a single sentence or moment, can sometimes derail an entire operation and turn the members of a team against each other, making successful work nearly impossible. Quality products can only come from quality work, and quality work only comes from a person with a quality mindset; one of the reasons I believe positivity, encouragement, praise, and optimism are all essential to have in the workplace. A team with positive motivation will always put out a more quality product than a team without positive motivation, and the first place everyone always looks at is the boss, so it’s incredibly important, in this instance as in most, to set the example that you expect those around you to follow.

Give Yourself The Room To Grow

Often our ego can get in the way of truly giving ourselves room to grow. This robs us of progress, leaving us in the same vicious cycle of bringing things to the same fruition over and over again. Not only will this keep your life stagnant, but it can also bring others down around you as well. The last thing anyone wants is to have their team lose because they can’t grow themselves, which sometimes requires riding the bench.

Take the time to assess in life when it might be time to fall back and reassess the situation. A point guard on the bench can often point out the major flaw in the other team, reaching for things from an angle that others can’t quite see. Learn that being on a team means that the best place to be is always improving and giving your best self. Without that, people can’t rely on you for much of anything.

Learn To Admit Faults Quickly

The faster you can say you were wrong, the faster the healing process can start to begin. In sports, people often talk about a ‘short memory’, that is, you get over an interception or bad shot quickly and get back into the game. This isn’t just about focus, but in giving yourself the opportunity to get back on the team and giving them you’re all. Another important aspect about faults is also looking at things from the perspective that you don’t have to ‘overcompensate’ for mistakes, which will often lead you to making more problems than it’s worth. Instead, know when you were wrong, hold yourself accountable, and get back out there to giving everyone else your all.

Bring The Same Energy On Your First and Last Effort

If you remember back to gym class, there was always that anticipated on the last sprint, right? It didn’t matter how many people were tired, head down, there was always that spark of energy at the end to try your best. Well, the best athletes will tell you the biggest reason why you’re able to have that spark of energy is all mental. Quite simply, performance is all about how much intensity you’re able to bring from the first jump to that last, and if you’re working with a team, they need to see that same level of energy.

Mental sprints are all about the intensity you’re able to bring to your focus. It’s not enough to just say you’re going to do something, you need to have an action plan in place to get it right. For example, a classic way of this thinking is with making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, whereas you have to mentally go ‘grab a plate’, ‘grab a knife’, ‘unscrew the jar of peanut butter’, and so on and so forth on every single step to make the task achievable…otherwise we run the risk of procrastinating with a half-made sandwich in front of us. Think out the steps, and bring the same intensity to every single level along the way to ensure success.

Understand It’s About The Season, Not Just The Game

It’s easy to get wrapped up in one big loss. Sure, you prepared, you studied, you got in the game…and then everything fell apart. It’s sad, but it’s also a great learning experience. A big thing that people don’t get out of losing is that it’s one of the best teachers when you can set emotions aside. While that’s not to say you shouldn’t be passionate, understand that if you want to stay winning, you need to take what you can from every loss and apply it to not only your own shortcomings, but the whole season.

In looking at your weaknesses, improvements are all about what you can do in the now versus what you have to work on strategically into the future. For example, if your team has found that they aren’t as good physically against teams with strong big men, then trying to bulk up in the weight room quickly would be a moot point; however, knowing how to finesse around with speed over their size can help adapt quickly to their style of play. It’s okay to have weaknesses, as long as you know how to exploit where your strengths can help shine for the long-haul.

Study Across Different Genres

There’s a lot to learn about basketball from watching a game of soccer. In a beautiful game, passing and ball movement flow like rivers down field. With the right touch, the ball can fly up the field from player to player, with no ego or disruption getting in the way. Of course, a lot of it is finnesse, however, the other half is paying attention to details, as well as how they can translate into your sport as well…and with soccer, it’s all about the motions forward.

Take the time once a week to appreciate a new skill or how someone across the way does something differently than you. As inspiration can stem from anywhere, constantly finding new sources and use cases will not only get you ahead of the game in terms of your education, but make others have to study what you’re up to just to keep up. While we don’t stress overdoing it and trying to tie strings together from thin air, don’t be surprised at what you might find if you just let your guard down to learn.

Keep Your Work Ethic Consistent

One of the hardest parts about being the superstar athlete is often times they don’t feel like they need to do much. Things just come easy to them, and because of that, they don’t learn how to develop a work ethic. No matter how good you think you are, there’s not only going to be someone better, but someone right below looking to take your spot. It’s often the case that the hard part isn’t getting there, it’s staying up…and if you’re aiming to keep your spot rolling for a long-time, consistency in your day-in and day-out will ensure victory for a long, long time.


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