Thursday, April 10, 2014

NCAA Basketball & Business: A Relative Paradox

Here goes Dave again, using a current event to draw up a business comparison. I am so predictable!

At the conclusion of each College Basketball season, teams enter a single-elimination tournament. The goal: win six straight games and be crowned champion. After a long season the scoreboard is reset and any of the 68 teams in the bracket have an opportunity to raise the trophy. Winning the aforementioned tournament is one of the more difficult tasks in sports.

I won't wax poetic like a talk show host or quote statistics like a nerd. What I would like to do is point out a few critical elements of the NCAA tournament that parallel winning in business.

Good Guard Play
Every play is driven and developed by the smaller more agile dudes on the floor: the guards. Guards mirror sales people. Love them or hate them, your business cannot exist without your sales folk. Great guards are strategic in their aggression, uncompromising in their drive, and have the ability to read their competition.

Are your sales people knowledgeable of what your customers need?
Do your sales people talk about what they need or achieve based on what they have?
Do your sales people know how to read the defense?

Sales is no longer a slick talkers game...buyers are too smart for that. No one is impressed by fancy dress and well-groomed hair. People have unmet needs and/or business problems that require solutions. If your sales people are able to articulate what you have and why people need it (without a smoke screen), your business will thrive!

Make Free Throws
Dr. James Naismith created the game of basketball as a skill sport. The initial object of basketball was to shoot a ball from a substantial distance into a wicker basket. The easiest way to lose a basketball game is to neglect it's foundation. Teams who cannot make free throws... lose!

Do you understand the fundamentals of what differentiates your business from any other?
Are your employees aligned by a genuine purpose?

You cannot compete in business by playing into your competitors strengths. You have to be better by being different. Ingenuity has never been more important! There is a need to create something totally original, to exemplify why it matters, and to re-create it... every day.

Fundamentals matter: core strategy, a functional game plan, and the ability to predict the results you will produce. Mission, Vision and Values matter as well. A company whose every employee is unflappable in their commitment to their purpose will always win admiration.

One Man Does Not a Team Make
A man I used to work for once told me, "everyone is important, no one is irreplaceable". At the time, I resented the quote but he was right. No individual is bigger than the collective. One cannot implement ideas without support. Opinions must be challenged to become better formed. People are often astonished how quickly their organization forgets them when they leave.

If you have a defensible strategy, impassioned employees, great leaders and amazing products/services; every day will be a step into the future. It takes a village!

How do you cut down the nets?
1. Hire elite sales people.
2. Develop and instill a meaningful mission and supporting values.
3. Ensure the collective is bigger than the sum of it's parts.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Coach Dave    


  1. Ya in a team every one plays an important role....i accept your conversation..

  2. Andriana - Thank You for advertising on my blog...(where's my cut?)