Moving Through First Due Conflict

Trust me on this and watch at least the first 3:30 (all is better) of this video from the 1994 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 3; then hear me out for a little First Due Tackle babble.

So, Scottie Pippen was frustrated by coach Phil Jackson’s decision to give Tony Kukoc the ball in the final 1.8 seconds of a tied game.  Pippen’s mentality was that he was the teams number-one go-to guy with Michael Jordan’s first retirement a year prior and wanted the ball in the clutch.

Where things went bad were when Pippen basically pulled himself out of the game, Kukoc hit a buzzer beater, Jackson walked off the court frustrated instead of showing celebratory emotion, and the locker room had a tense feeling about it.


Can you think of a firehouse or fireground conflict that creates conflict with your team like the video showed.  How do we get through it?  The leader has a couple of options: fly off the handle, ignore it and see what happens, or place the burden of fixing it on the team.  Phil Jackson did the later and walked into the locker room, looked at everyone, and said “That was bad for us.  Now you have to fix it.”  He put the work on the shoulders of the team.  Overreaction would have been bad and no action would have simmered until the next game.

To often the small issues build to bigger issues.  Sometimes it’s good to put the work on the team to fix the conflict or challenge, but leaders have to empower those under their command to do so.

Pass it on!

The Chip Site