Outside the world of business, it's NBA Finals time once more, a fact you might not think worth caring about. Think again. Because what's happening across many NBA franchises right now offers critical insight about what best sets a team up to win. Or to lose.

There's been a trend over the past decade in men's professional basketball. Think of it as a management movement toward the star player strategy. On any team, star players have always been attractive. An asset. Stars can be an ingredient of a larger recipe for success -- meaning an ingredient in a cherry-on-the-top way. Such assets can theoretically be incredibly valuable, but they are always additive. They're potential assets, not a strategy. And yet, on team after team, star players have eclipsed the idea of an additive asset and become the strategy.

Teams, not just sports teams, have long had stars. Broadly defined, a star is someone gifted with unique abilities -- athletic, leadership, or otherwise, that because of those abilities has the potential to deliver special moments. Delivered at the right time in just the right way, they can result in a win. Repeated consistently, such impactful performances can add up to a bigger win, like a championship, or a large market cap value. When that happens, stars get celebrated, often as though they alone delivered the win.

On the surface, all this focus on the stars can feel harmless, even fun. Who doesn't love a star, especially when he or she's on your team? Think of LeBron James or Kyrie Irving, but also of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or any leader we repeatedly give disproportionate attention and credit to, even hold up as a model of leadership. There's nothing wrong with celebrating such players. The trouble begins when we actually come to believe that the star alone will assure the victory. The real danger starts when we go further to make betting on the star our strategy in total.

That's precisely what's happening on more and more NBA teams. And remarkably, it appears as if everyone's buying in. Fans, supposedly wise and objective sports insiders, and even front offices and team owners are increasingly backing the strategy, and not just with their hearts, but with their wallets.

But take yourself outside this story for a moment. Ask yourself: In what team undertaking, in what sector or setting, does the star alone ever equal victory? If we just put LeBron or Elon out there to compete all on their own, could they deliver? You know the answer.

So, what does consistently raise the odds of success? The answer is actually pretty clear, and former college basketball head coach turned analyst Seth Greenberg knows it, as does any leader worth their salt and proven over the long haul. It's an insight Greenberg recently summed up in a maxim that if you want your team to succeed over the long haul, you need to make a mantra.

Early in this year's playoffs, a number of teams that had been talked about all season long as a lock to advance to the finals were losing. All were teams built around stars. A panel of experts was debating why they were coming up short. Greenberg, a 34-year veteran of coaching, was on the panel. The other experts -- past players and seasoned analysts --  were bought into the star strategy. They were fiercely debating one another, suggesting for example, that "if only player X could shoot at his peak every single game," or "if player Y could check his ego, then those teams built around those stars would surely deliver." Greenberg sat quietly listening, and smiling. Eventually the moderator turned to him for his take -- his take on what the stars needed to do. Instead, Greenberg uttered one sentence, one surprising sentence and no more: "If you want to win, you've got to guard your culture every single day."

Here's the irony. Most of us agree with Seth Greenberg, at least that culture is important. There's a mountain of data that say it's true. A Deloitte study, for example, found that both senior leaders and employees believed culture not just important, but vital, 94 and 88 percent respectively. And yet, as Deloitte put it, "There is a disconnect between organizations simply talking about their culture and those that are embedding their beliefs into their operations." That same disconnect found the moderator and all the other analysts on Greenberg's panel giving him a quick nod of approval ... and then jumping right back to star gazing.

It's so much sexier to talk about a slam dunk, to believe that victory is a simple thing, a one-person thing, a guaranteed thing. It isn't any of those things. Or as two-time NCAA champion women's basketball coach Dawn Staley put it, "Everybody sees a success; nobody sees what it took to be successful." Teams win, not individual players. And they win because they figure out how to come together, repeatedly, in the best and worst circumstances, and over long stretches of time. Culture is the lead we bury. Good culture isn't a hero's story, but it is absolutely the heart of the story.