SHAQ SCHOOL: How to Build and Lead a Kickass Team

Basketball Player & Television Analyst

You know Shaquille O'Neal the basketball player. Do you know the Shaquille O'Neal who has both an MBA and an Ed.D?

In this video, Shaq details his philosophy on team-building. As Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, "The greatest of leaders are the ones smart enough to hire people smarter than them." Just like Ike, Shaq knows that it's vital for a leader to understand that he/she is not always going to be the smartest person in the room. And that's okay. The best leaders are not afraid of deferring to their teammates. The best leaders are the ones who are most successful and facilitating planning sessions. A good leader takes advantage of everyone's intelligence; not just their own.

  • Transcript


Shaquille O'Neal: Dwight Eisenhower said, "The greatest of leaders are the ones smart enough to hire people smarter than them." So that's the first thing you do. You've got to get four or five people that are smarter than you; you guys have to work together; you guys have to start from the bottom, think about all the good ideas and think about all the bad ideas. And if the good outweighs the bad, then you should go with it. If the bad outweighs the good, then you should probably think about something else. But that's always been my philosophy. And I have guys that are very intelligent, very smart work for me with my ideas, their intelligence, my intelligence. It's been working out pretty good so far.

It's not a dictatorship as a leader, but I take input from everybody. Like, "Hey I don't think we should do this," or, "Hey I think it's a good idea." So most of the time I am kind of voting without going through the voting process. So let's just say there's five of us and three says I don't think we should do it and two says we should do it, I probably won't do it. But when you're on a team you have to do everything collaboratively. And sometimes you're not going to get along and sometimes you're going to have an argument, but the respect factor is always there. And as long as you respect each other, you know, treat everyone with respect, and just listen to everybody's views, it's okay.

One of my favorite books is The One Minute Manager. So when I'm listening to my guys, first thing is I don't act like I know it all. So I hear suggestions. I put in my suggestions. We have a couple meetings and then we just iron it out and we just figure it out.

I learn every day. But the good thing that has brought me along the way is I know how to win championships, I know how to build teams so I have great teammates surrounding me. So any time I get into a venture, most of the time we know what we're doing and if there's a problem we figure it out as a team.