Lessons From Dwayne: Caring Matters

February 26, 2020 / Category: Communication

Dwyane Wade’s retirement celebration was powerful. He is such a compelling athlete, teammate, husband, father – a true leader. He makes an impact in the community.

Pro sports can seem so cookie-cutter and impersonal. Contracts, endorsements, collective bargaining…

Business is often seen as less and less personal these days. Social media, AI, chatboxes, and the like make our business interactions increasingly digital and decreasingly human. Yes, the AI lets the world know what we are interested in, where we are looking, what we are doing, and what messages might work – sometimes frighteningly so. But businesses are built and run by people, serving people, and the ‘people stuff’ matters more than ever.

Some of the things that made us successful in the past still matter. They still work. As Dwyane’s documentary demonstrated, people, need to want to work with you – as your team or as your customer/fan. It’s emotional. Purpose and passion motivate better performance by every measure – more than pay; more than a title; more than anything.

When we talk about customer loyalty, the data shows it’s reflective of the customer experience being distinctive and positive. Not price. Not even the quality of the product. Experience. And the experience is emotional. Caring is emotional intelligence in action.

Years ago, Meg Wheatley crafted a model for organizational success that is simple and compelling. Simply:

We care for ourselves.

We care about each other.

We care about ‘this place.’

All of these need to be in balance.

When we talk about caring for ourselves, self-care matters. If we are not happy and healthy, we won’t produce, manage, or lead effectively. And if we are overly self-caring, we become selfish and perhaps narcissistic as a leader. Our job is to care for ourselves and to set an example. Dwayne Wade did that. He changed his diet. He changed his discipline. He got his life in order. It made him the man he is today.

Caring about each other is about ‘team.’ Great teams care about each other as people. They know the joys and rewards that matter to their teammates, as well as their fears, pains, and doubts. They know strengths and weaknesses, and they play as purposeful and passionately as successful teams.

The joy of the men from The Miami Heat in each other’s successes was palpable. And, the man who represented many of them, Henry Thomas, was featured as a man they all loved, as he cared for them. Truly cared. Pat Riley, his repeated adversary in negotiations, spoke of his love and respect for Mr. Thomas as well. They did good, tough business together.

We care about this place. This is where it all shows up. When we care about the environment in which we live and work; when we care about the purpose and mission of our organizations, we can tell. The Heat became family, and their success over the years includes 3 world championships and 5 NBA finals.

Look around your business. Are there signs of caring for the place? Do people care about your mission? How passionately involved are they?

How well do you care for yourself?

How well do your people care about each other?

How clearly does your organization care about ‘this place’?


Contact us at
US 561-752-5505/ UK +44 (0) 20 3885 0385
or visit us at