Making A Difference

Leadership Lessons from the Basketball Court

Chrissie Gorman (MBA 2012)

Chrissie Gorman (MBA 2012) created PowerForward with Duke basketball legend Coach K. to bring leadership and team-development lessons from sports to the business world. In this video, she explains the ground rules of team play and lessons to be learned:

“I started a company called PowerForward with Coach K., the Duke basketball coach. What we saw was an opportunity to take a lot of what he's done with his team so successfully for four decades and create content to really help develop teams beyond basketball.

“A lot of people are emotionally connected to sports, and I think there's a lot of lessons from sports that really resonate with people across industries and backgrounds. And we saw an opportunity to take some of those lessons––but also, interview leaders across all walks of life who embody some of these traits––and bring them into organizations.

“I think sports-related lessons translate well to the business world because, when you strip out the ball and the rules, you're talking about people. You're talking about people coming together as one towards a common goal. And that's really what you do in business.

“In starting PowerForward, we looked at a lot of the off-the-shelf leadership and team-development programs and realized that a lot of them were built for another generation. Increasingly, younger employees are not going to stay in their company for 20 years. They're going to move from job to job if they're not satisfied. And that's not only in terms of providing a great salary and benefits, but also, feeling like you're invested in. And that's really why we saw an opportunity with PowerForward, to not only help organizations improve, but also help organizations invest in their people in a way that makes a meaningful difference to the company's bottom line.”

(Published December 2017)

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