The Triangle Offense

Published: October 20, 2020

As business owners, we strive to build and lead teams that can create results, take risks, be flexible, and compete at a high level. To build such teams, we seek out individuals who are drivers and competitive by nature. With such strong, competitive personalities all working together, it is common that selfishness, entitlement, or egotism can arise. That being said, it is vital that we, as leaders, implement a system to achieve optimal team performance and cohesiveness, without sacrificing team members’ ambitions. 

One of the best examples of this type of system is the Triangle Offense – an offense that utilizes strategic spacing, interchangeable positions, and constant movement with the goal of making the shot. The great NBA player and coach, Phil Jackson, utilized the Triangle Offense while leading some of the greatest basketball teams and players of all time.

In Jackson’s book, Eleven Rings, he shares:

“What attracted me to the triangle was the way it empowers the players, offering each one a vital role to play as well as a high level of creativity within a clear, well-defined structure. The key is to train each player to read the defense and react appropriately. This allows the team to move together in a coordinated manner — depending on the action at any given moment. With the triangle you can’t stand around and wait for the Michael Jordans and Kobe Bryants of the world to work their magic. All five players must be fully engaged every second — or the whole system will fail.”

When this concept is applied to business, it can be wildly powerful. Here is how the Triangle Offense can impact your organization as a whole:

Encourages Growth. 

With the fast-paced nature of the business world today, change happens quickly and can require on-the-spot solutions to be made. There will be instances when team members will be presented with new challenges without an opportunity (or time) to look to their leader for guidance. They may need to learn a completely new skill set or temporarily play a different role to ensure a decision is made in a timely manner. This will force team members to get out of their comfort zones and grow both personally and professionally. 

Stimulates Teamwork. 

When solving these new challenges, team members will likely look to their teammates for guidance and insight on best possible solutions. Instead of competing against one another, they will work together such that the entire organization succeeds at the highest possible level. When teammates come together to solve a problem in real time, this instills a deeper sense of cohesiveness within the team. 

Exposes Future Leaders.

While all team members are strongly encouraged to participate in your team’s ‘triangle’, there will be individuals that are more dedicated than others, and it will show. They will take more risks, they will do whatever it takes to come up with the best solutions, and they will be ready at all times to take on any new challenges that arise. They will begin to stand out even further as team members start to look to them for guidance. The triangle will expose these team members as the future leaders of your organization.

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