Rob Pelinka, L.A. Lakers’ GM and Vice-President of Basketball Operations, talks about the challenges and strategies involved in helping the Lakers move from the worst in franchise history to World Champions in three years, how he manages players like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, the keys to great negotiation, and why Kobe Bryant invited him to swim with great white sharks to study their movements and habits.

Welcome to Episode 393 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey talks about the qualities and characteristics of highly effective leaders.

Guest Links

Episode Links

Pro Media Fire

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ServeHQ

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CONVERSATION LINKS

CNLP 374: Anne Graham Lotz on Growing up in Billy Graham’s Home, How Culture is Changing, and Why Many Leaders Struggle with Prayer

CNLP 284: Marc Serrao on How to Break All the Rules and Create a New Business Model, Starting One of America’s Most Successful Bakeries and How to Create Food So Good the Lines Create Traffic Jams

CNLP 294: Dee Ann Turner on How Chick-fil-A Created Amazing Customer Service and Created a Culture That Replicated it Among Tens of Thousands of Employees and Customers

CLNP 346: Mark Miller on Winning the Talent War, How to Develop Leaders, and How Execution Can Turn a Stuck Organization into a Thriving Organization

CNLP 380: Beth Moore on How to Handle the Train Wreck of Social Media, How She Handles Her Critics and How to Stay Resilient Over the Long Run

Paul: A Biography by N. T. Wright

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Books by Philip Yancey

Books by Tim Keller

Books by C.S. Lewis

Books by George MacDonald

Books by Thomas Merton

Books by Dallas Willard

Books by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Brothers K by David James Duncan

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Born Again by Charles W. Colson

Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi

7 Surprising and Endearing Characteristics of Highly Effective Leaders by Carey Nieuwhof

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

INSIGHTS FROM ROB

1. No matter your industry, a serve-first mindset pays off

So many leaders overlook their most important asset—people. When Rob became the general manager of the Lakers, he’d been a players’ agent for decades. As a result, he knew what players wanted and needed. So, when he became GM, he kept the same focus of making sure their players’ needs were met. As a result, they were able to build a championship-winning team.

2. How you spend your time “off” heavily affects your time “on”

For the entire 100-day 2021 basketball season, Rob, and everyone else in the NBA, was locked in a bubble. They couldn’t see their families, their friends or go anywhere outside of their permitted zones. Since he was staying in a hotel with teams and coaches, he needed to be “on” for work 24/7. In this time, Rob learned that having the ability to spend time “off” work is key to performing well while he’s “on.”

3. If you truly want to be great, make every habit count

When you study the lives of the top .001% of leaders, you notice there’s no detail of their lives or their days that haven’t been thoughtfully unpacked. They construct their habits to revolve around building a life that produces top results both at work and, often, at home. If you want to become a top performer, take a more intentional approach to your daily habits.

Quotes from Episode 393

Basketball players know when they feel cared for just like customers of a business know when they feel cared for. - Rob Pelinka Click To Tweet Building up that social capital and that relationship capital ultimately helps negotiations in the end. - Rob Pelinka Click To Tweet A transparency lens leads to more productive deals and partnerships. - Rob Pelinka Click To Tweet If you go into a negotiation with a scorched earth mentality of, 'I need to get everything and the other person needs to get on their knees,' that's not likely to lead to the best result. - Rob Pelinka Click To Tweet God's faithfulness seems to be most clear when you look through the rear view mirror of life, and you can see how he pieces your story together. - Rob Pelinka Click To Tweet There's so much comfort in that figuring out God's will for your life is not your responsibility. - Rob Pelinka Click To Tweet So much of our day is how we are managing our thought life and making sure that we're holding our thought life accountable to the principles we want to live by. - Rob Pelinka Click To Tweet Look at life through the lens of, 'I have the privilege of being an instrument in God's hands, and how am I going to use this day?' - Rob Pelinka Click To Tweet Passion and leadership and learning can come from so many things in life. - Rob Pelinka Click To Tweet Punctuality is a feature of great leaders. Click To Tweet Great leaders take their work, not themselves, seriously. Click To Tweet Leaders who go the furthest are often the most humble. Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 393

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Watch Back Episodes of The Podcast on YouTube

Select episodes of this podcast are now on YouTube. Our YouTube Channel gives you a chance to watch some episodes, not just listen.

So you want change? Here’s your step-by-step plan to follow through.

Do you ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels when you bring something new to the table? In my early days in leadership, I’d constantly ask myself:
  • Why aren’t people buying in?
  • How come I keep carrying the weight of this alone?
  • How can I create a plan and actually hold people accountable to it? 
After years of doing this over and over again, I realized there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. That’s why I created The 30-Day Pivot. If you want change, and want to do it quickly, this is your step-by-step plan to follow through.

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Hopefully, this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

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Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Hannah Brencher

Hannah Brencher’s first public speaking event was a TED Talk in NYC when she was 24. Fast forward a few years, and Hannah reflects on what she’s learned as a communicator, Millennials and their addiction to platform, and the future of what her generation wants in digital and physical interaction.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 394.

CNLP 393: Rob Pelinka, L.A. Lakers’ GM on Swimming with Great White Sharks with Kobe Bryant, Building a World Championship Team, and How Humility Can Transform Egos and Talent

3 Comments

  1. Rich A on January 28, 2021 at 11:33 am

    Don’t worry Carey, those of us who follow sports definitely know who Rob is and what he does even if you don’t!
    This was a fantastic episode, really well spoken and really well done, a great example of helping us understand not just something a great leader does, but HOW THEY THINK about what they do. You keep me listening and sharing with content this good!

  2. Steve Creel on January 26, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    I enjoy your thoughts and insights the majority of the time. I am saddened that you have chosen to use Kobe Bryant as a role model in your work. He was a rapist and he was a bully. He is notorious for being cruel. I don’t care to follow his example. I don’t know his spiritual estate. I hope that he repented and that he found humility. Either way… there are literally millions of others who are striving to serve Christ in ways that are worth writing about.
    Hero worship and especially hero worship of this type are unhealthy. I don’t want to be like Kobe Bryant. I don’t want to be a winner if he is the bench mark.
    I will continue to enjoy and gain from the vast majority of what you do. Thank you for considering this opinion.

  3. alice conole on January 26, 2021 at 11:32 am

    Thank you for such an uplifting interview. I think Rob Pelinka demonstrates what it looks like to love God with all heart, soul, mind and strength and I want to do the same!
    It was honoring to Kobe as well, on the first anniversary of his death. It was inspiring to learn more about who he was as a person and what made him such a force.

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