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Kevin Eastman's Championship Equation

Former Boston Celtics assistant coach and Los Angeles Clippers front office executive Kevin Eastman has been listening with great interest in recent weeks to the 33rd Team Call discussions about leadership and building team culture in the NFL. It’s a subject near and dear to Eastman, who currently is a motivational speaker and author of the book Why the Best Are the Best.

Eastman joined last week’s 33rd Team Call to discuss what makes a champion – whether that’s winning an NBA title, a Super Bowl or just succeeding in business.

What are the critical ingredients of a championship organization? Eastman simplified it to what he calls “the Championship Equation” --

Values + People + Culture = Championship

“To us, a core value was something that we are willing to be fired over,” said Eastman. “Values were important because they provided us with the lens through which we would do our hiring.”

As for people, Eastman said it is crucial in terms of who is hired or brought into an organization. “Everyone we allow into our locker room, they make a statement to everyone that’s in that room, to everyone that’s in our organization.”

Culture, Eastman said, is the key to organizational success. And when thinking about success, he said the most important word is “truth.”

“The truth needs three things,” he said. “And we believe if you don’t have these three things present, we’re not sure you can get to that championship level.

“Number one, you have to be able to live it. Number two, you have to be able to tell it. And number three, you have to be able to take it. If we can get these three things right, we have a shot.”

Eastman was asked, once a core group of leaders is established on the coaching staff, how do they get players to buy in? He laid out four key attributes for coaches:

“Number one is competence,” he said. “Know your stuff. Know it so well that you have the answers before they ask the question. Number two is trustworthiness. Can I trust what you’re telling me will work? The third is work ethic. Across the board, no matter the sport, they ask their players to work hard. And the fourth one is sincerity. Who are you in this for? I think we all know if a player senses we’re in it for ourselves, it ain’t gonna work.”

Information about Eastman's book and speaking engagements can be found at

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