Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks is the newest rags-to-riches story in sports. A twice-waived undrafted young kid of Chinese-Taiwanese descent playing his best basketball in the biggest United States market has captivated a sports-crazed nation. It’s almost too good to be true – the perfect storm of global fanfare, a huge sports market, and the sudden new-found success of one of the NBA’s most popular teams.
But was this surprise performance and subsequent “Linsanity” so unexpected?
He was a star high school player in Palo Alto, California before becoming a two-time All-Ivy League First Team at Harvard when he wasn’t given scholarships to UCLA, Stanford, and other schools.
After going undrafted he was signed and waived by the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets before being picked up earlier this season by the Knicks. He showed promise in his stints in the NBDL (the NBA’s minor leagues) until another player got injured on the big club and while he was expected to hang on the very end of the bench he received some Knicks playing time…and he has since shined.
He always had the knowledge and the talent…all he needed was a chance to show it. He proved again and again – no scholarships, undrafted, waived multiple times – that if he’s given an opportunity he will take full advantage.
Jeremy Lin is a phenomenal example of why digging deep for new ideas and creativity from all employees in a process to make things better can be extremely valuable.
Everyone might have different levels of experience and education, different reporting structures and points of participation within the process, but they’re all going to have improvement ideas to make things better and it’s important to consider all of them. Not every idea can be implemented, but giving even a little bit of consideration for each of them not only helps motivate employees to keep sharing ideas but you might also catch lightning in a bottle with a game-changer.
And how about finding highly-motivated employees that might become the next process superstar? Who on your team is bursting with potential but simply needs an opportunity to show it? How often are your employees blocked for promotions and have to leave the organization to move up the ladder?
You’ll be surprised at the improvements you can find if you just give ideas a chance.