It was the end of the first quarter of Game 6; the Warriors were about 20 points behind the Cleveland CAVS. In a “WIRED” segment on ESPN, Golden State Coach Steve Kerr was interviewed live on the sidelines. Asked about the 20-point deficit, Steve Kerr said, “WE GOT IT.”
WE GOT IT. Really!!!! Got what? You are 20 points behind playing on the opponent’s home court, and you GOT WHAT? I thought that was so insulting to CAVS players and fans and the city. Just a presumptive WE GOT IT, as if coming back from a 20 point deficit is easy, a sure thing.
The next day I went to my Barre class. During an especially painful segment of the class, the instructor said, “YOU GOT IT.” It hit me, the difference between WE GOT IT and YOU GOT IT.
Every time the instructor says, YOU GOT THIS, I feel reassured. She is telling me that I CAN HANDLE this, I can overcome, and I can meet the challenge. That is a huge difference from WE GOT IT. WE GOT IT says I can’t do anything; I am powerless because you have all the capabilities and I have none.
WE GOT IT is three words. YOU GOT THIS is three words. Yet they come across to the audience as hugely different.
In communication and leadership audiences have a decision to make. Do they listen to the words or what the speaker looks like saying them?
Steve Kerr said, WE GOT IT. If you looked at the season MVP, he didn’t have it that night. If you looked at their shooting, their rebounding, their body language, they didn’t have it. When the two are incongruent, audiences go with what they see.
Steve Kerr could say all day that WE GOT IT. It doesn’t change the fact that they did not look like they had it.
Take the exchange between LeBron and Steph Curry in Game 6. We don’t know for sure, neither side is talking. After LBJ swatted away Steph’s ball, it appears LBJ said something like, Not in my house, man up. Although we don’t know for sure what was said, the body language of the King said it all. It said, WE GOT IT, and they did.
YOU GOT IT empowers your audience. WE GOT IT is patronizing and sometimes just not true.
What is true is that LBJ got it, and he gave it to a city and a region.