Sat 19 January 2019

What winners are made of — Peter Guber’s Championship philosophy

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Peter Guber might be best known as the co-owner of the Golden State Warriors but the multi-faceted man is also Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment and President of Columbia Pictures. Among his producing film credits include “Batman,” “Midnight Express” and the Academy award-winning “Rain Man” which starred Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. In addition, he owns the L.A. Dodgers baseball team and he is the executive chairman of the Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Football Club.

In other words, this guy wears many hats. Not many can claim to be involved–much less have an influence–in both entertainment and sports. Yet Mr. Guber wields his magic in movies, basketball, baseball and football. And he has been successful in doing so for decades now.

So when Mr. Guber makes a visit to Manila for a rare speaking engagement, one can’t help but drop everything to listen to what he has to say.

Here are some of the golden nuggets of wisdom that he shared at the recent ABS-CBN ANC Leadership series. These comprise Me. Guber’s winning leadership strategy.

Take that shot. Don’t be afraid to fail and take risks.

It’s hard to imagine the co-owner of the Dubs being a loser but Mr. Guber admitted that he’s had more than his share of missed baskets, so to speak. Major ones at that.

“As I failed in every adventure that I ever imagined”, said the UCLA Professor, “I had products from my companies that ended up in my garage than stores”, he continued.

He emphasized that failure is okay, what is not is being debilitated by defeat.

“Disruption is part of the business… Today, if you don’t fail enough and move on, you will really be a failure,” said Mr. Guber.

In fact, he believes that if one doesn’t fail, it means that the person is not taking risks. “If you don’t really have those failures, you’re not really risking enough, trying enough to be successful. The more you move away from that risk, you move away from your opportunity to succeed.”, said the sports mogul.

Involve the “sixth man.” The audience is the reason for being.

In basketball, the term “sixth man” has come to refer to the rabid fans whose cheering make an impact on the game. A team needs fans. A movie requires viewers.

Mr. Guber underscored the importance of the audience as the reason for being. What he described as “the innate human ability to narrate your offering to your ‘audience’, to one or many, to get them to act, to get them to work together, to get them to move forward” is the key to success.

Instead of using the word “customers” or “market” Mr. Guber prefers to use the term “audience.” He explained, “When I called my business associates ‘customers’, they tend to hold on to their groin and their wallets. But when I call them ‘audiences’, they open their hearts.”

Make a “home run” with person-to-person communication.

Athletes in group sports rely heavily on good communication to get the best results. A player calls a team mate’s attention when he wants to pass the ball. A player has to be alert for verbal and non-verbal cues so he can make an assist or properly execute the play. The same should be true in today’s high-tech world.

Mr. Guber talked about inspiring people in this digital era when face-to-face communication is slowly being thrown out the window. He reiterated the importance of proper motivation. In his own words he said, “You must move people to action as you want them to do– to buy your product, vote for you, join your company, stay with your company… whatever you want to do, individually or collectively, you must move them…”

Being human is the name of the game.

In a world where people are very dependent on technology and fall prey to its advancements, Mr. Guber said that being human is the key to success and that having that emotional connection plays a very big role not only in the workplace but also in the household.

The man is the real deal. In a few hours, Mr. Guber was able to establish a bond with the attendees, one that he carried even outside the ballroom of the Sofitel Plaza which was the venue of his talk.

Wearing an expensive suit and walking with bodyguards, Mr. Guber could strike most people as strong and intimidating. Yet there was something in his demeanor that still made him friendly and approachable.

So I mustered the guts to walk up to Mr. Guber and ask him to sign my Golden State Warriors cap when I saw him in the lobby of the hotel.

His bodyguard was about to block my way but Mr Guber raised his hand, signaling to his bodyguard to let me near. Mr Guber took the cap from my hand and said, “Sure! This cap of yours is the perfect cap to have.”

With simple gestures, a few words and a signature, Mr. Peter Guber perfectly demonstrated what true winners are made of.


Photo of Peter Guber courtesy of ABS-CBN PR

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