retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

There’s a good chance that it might be a highly overlooked moment, but for countless business reasons it’s worth giving a second look at Sunday night’s edition of “60 Minutes.”

No, not for that interview.

The other “60 Minutes” profile of the night focused on Giannis Antetokoumpo (best shot at this: YAHN-is anh-teh-toe-KUHN-po), a professional basketball player known widely as the Greek Freak for his incredible skills. The story focused on the player’s incredible story from poverty in Athens to superstardom in the National Basketball Association.

While not as well known as LeBron James or Steph Curry, Antetokoumpo possesses immense talent and combines the size of an NBA big man with the grace of a smaller player. Hence the sobriquet: Greek Freak.

To date his career with the Milwaukee Bucks is a tale of growth. Each year his statistics and play improve and in the process his team keeps getting stronger on the court and on the bottom line. As the “60 Minutes” story makes clear, Giannis is heavily responsible for both.

What stands out it in the story is Giannis’ (I can’t keep typing that last name) work ethic. As he tells the interviewer he needs to continually improve his strength, stamina and skills for a simple reason: he needs to get even better. “I am really scared of failure so I have to get better.”

With that simple phrase he captured the essence of competitive spirit. Here’s a young man whose story is almost a fairy tale of success. He now makes millions each year from his basketball skills and lives a life that was once beyond his imagination. And that one sentence shows he understands the challenge of maintaining such a lofty perch.

He needs to get better.

And he’s right because if he lets down it’s possible that his edge will disappear and with it all the riches and fame he now enjoys.

Every business should relate to this, especially the most successful. The key isn’t to maintain your current level of excellence, but to strive for something higher. We talk here constantly of how new competition, heightened consumer demands and endless technological improvements are raising the bar higher and higher. What was good enough yesterday is rarely if ever good enough tomorrow.

And that’s why that one moment in the interview is so important. It’s that recognition that good enough is never good enough. Somehow we have to get better.

In the movie Annie Hall, Woody Allen joked years ago, “A relationship, I think, is like a shark. It has to constantly move forward or it dies. I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.”

Success = in business or on the basketball court - is exactly the same. Move forward, work hard and find ways to improve. Otherwise, what you’ll have on your hands is a dead shark.

Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
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