8 Business and Life Lessons from NCAA Basketball

ncaa-tournamentTo me this is a great time of year. Tournament time for college basketball!

First, it’s the closing out of the season. Then come the conference tournaments, and finally March Madness and the NCAA Tournament.

Yes, I do a bracket each year, and yes, I watch way too many games (well, that’s what my wife would have you believe).

What I always see is not just great basketball, but also some amazing lessons for business and life.

Here are 8 lessons worthy of our attention:

1. What you believe about success impacts your success.

Each year there are teams and players who seem to achieve significant success at the end of the year, despite being picked at the beginning of the year to finish at the bottom of the pile.  To quote a famous line from the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” — “Who are those guys?”

These teams and players failed to get the memo that they were expected to be lousy.  They failed to pay attention to what others were saying and instead they chose to believe in themselves.

In the end, it was what they believed that matter.  Powerful lesson for business and life. Just because others say it can’t be done doesn’t actually mean that it can’t be done.  What matters is what we believe.

2. The unpredictable will occur just when you least expect it.

Always interesting to watch the upsets, and isn’t that why life is full of?  Unpredicatable outcomes occur each day in our lives, and often we don’t want them to occur, but they do.  Yet, despite the outcome, life goes on.

The sun still comes up the next day and there will always be more opporutnities.

3. Dwelling on the loss never helped anyone.

It’s always interesting to watch players sink to absolute lows when they lose a game.

To them in that moment, it’s all over. To them it’s a sense of failure to themselves, teammates, family and school.   Same thing in life when we face losses.  Some can and will be significant, yet as we have all heard time and time again, it’s not the loss — it’s how we recover from  it how we recover from the loss that marks the outcome.

Reflecting on a loss for a short time is appropriate, as it shows you care.  But then comes a time when we have to move on to be ready to climb the next mountain.

4. Leadership under fire reveals true leadership.

Anyone can lead when things are going well, but leadership is all about keeping your head on straight when everyone else around you is losing it.

Watch coaches and top players, and you will see the mark of leadership and the mark of stupidity.   In the end, I see those people who genuinely lead are those that who are putting their team ahead of themselves and realizing it does take a team to win.   Does that match up with how you deal with your team?

5. Off-the-court actions impact on-the-court actions.

It’s always interesting to see how players and teams handle themselves off the court.

Society is quick to say how people behave away from work is irrelevant and that all that matters is what they do at work.  I call a foul on that one.

It is impossible to separate the two. Sooner or later, they converge.  If things aren’t going well outside of work, it will eventually impact things at work.

6. Preparation matters.

In the end, the level of preparation a team has coming into a game will impact how a team does in a game.

No team goes into a game without having developed a game plan they believe will alow them to beat the opposing team. It’s amazing the number of times in business and life we go into things unprepared. No wonder we aren’t able to achieve a higher level of success.

7. Teams win because they are a team.

Yes individual players can and will drive a team and can and will create a win but overall success is not possible without the work of the team.  Being a lone ranger in the office might make you feel good but there is no way you will ever be able to achieve what is truly possible without a team around you.

8. Communication counts.

Notice the level of communication in a game.  Players and coaches don’t wait until half-time to share information.  No, they’re sharing it at every moment of the game.

This one sure gets me thinking about what is the right level of information that needs to be going on in a business.   I will admit this one is harder to determine, but what I do know is the larger the organization, the slower the flow of information.  Could you imagine a team only using timeouts to communicate?

When you look at the 8 lessons above, which stand out as the ones most needed in your organization?

Now it’s time for me to share with you who I believe is going to win it all in the NCAA Tournament:  Creighton.

Living in Omaha, Nebraska, how could I not pick anyone but the Creighton Bluejays?

Copyright 2014, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

Click on the below book cover for more info on boosting your profits!

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