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STORY: Pat Riley And The Key To Unlocking Your Career-best Performances

Robert McGarvey in “Little Things Do Mean a Lot” from Reader’s Digest tells an interesting story about how coach Pat Riley helped the Lakers win 4 NBA championships.

It reveals the key to unlocking career-best performances

pat riley and coaching the lakers, pat riley success secrets

Success is often reached through the little stuff. When Pat Riley coached the Los Angeles Lakers from 1982 to 1990, the team won four NBA championships. In taking over the New York Knicks in 1991, Riley inherited a team with a losing record. But the Knicks seemed able to play above their abilities and even gave the eventual champions, the Chicago Bulls, their hardest competition in the play-offs last May.

How does Riley do it? He says his talent lies in attention to detail. For example, every NBA team studies videotapes and compiles statistics to evaluate players’ game performances. But Riley’s use of these tools is more comprehensive than that of his rivals. “We measure areas of performance that are often ignored: jumping in pursuit of every rebound even if you don’t get it, swatting at every pass, diving for loose balls, letting someone smash into you in order to draw a foul.”

After each game, these “effort” statistics are punched into a computer. “Effort,” Riley explains, “is what ultimately separates journeyman players from impact players. Knowing how well a player executes all these little things is the key to unlocking career-best performances.”


  • Have you been focusing on so many of the big things in your business that you’ve forgotten to focus on the little things?
  • What small improvements can you focus on that will add up to major improvements?
  • What details have you been ignoring because of your busyness? What can you do to change this?

Your success in business also depends on the “little stuff”.
Learn from Pat Riley and begin measuring and improving the little things.

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About Scott Aughtmon (1872 Articles)
I’m author of the book 51 Content Marketing Hacks. I am also a regular contributor to and I am the person behind the popular infographic 21 Types of Content We Crave. I’m a business strategist, consultant, content creation specialist, and speaker. I’ve been studying effective marketing and business methods (both online and offline) since 1999. ===> If you would like to see ways that we could work together, then please click here to learn more.