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Score a Business Victory During March Madness

Every spring, a curious malady spreads across the world. It is a condition called March Madness, and it afflicts millions. Since its invention in 1891, basketball has become one of the most popular sports in the world. “March Madness” was born in Illinois and grew from a small invitational affair in 1908 to a statewide institution with by the late 1930s. Originally a high school tournament, the popularity and timing of the event grew until it became a college level event.

Today,  we celebrate by filling in brackets, wearing face paint and spending extra time around the water cooler, recounting our favorite moments from the day before, or classics from the past.

A few moments I remember, that I couldn’t forget even if I wanted to, bring me back to a day gone by. Just a quick highlight of the Tyrus Edney from UCLA in 1995 when he had 4.8 seconds on the clock, his team trailing by one point, starts my heart pounding. His teammate, Ed O’Bannon, was pleading for the ball as Edney drove the length of the court, and scored, his attempt floating just above a defender’s outstretched arm.  No one remembers that UCLA sent six players from that team to the NBA. They remember Edney’s drive. (See it here)

In 1990, Duke’s Christian Laettner nailed a shot with 1.6 seconds to play, sending Duke to the Final Four. Plenty of time to catch an impeccably thrown 75-foot inbound pass from teammate Grant Hill. Everyone who ever picked up a basketball can identify with them from practice shots that count down the clock:  Three…..two……one (See the video here)

These moments, as exciting as they are, miss the big picture. Those last seconds as the clock comes bearing down on a game-winning season, glorious as they are, are made of players born from a union of planning, practice, and preparation. These moments are delivered by players, supported by their team, and taught by their coaches. People see the highlight reel, but don’t realize how much time and effort is put into making it work. This holds true in business as well. Years of preparation, developing and ideating on  infrastructure and goals, early morning and sleepless nights, and every day is a constant challenge. Whether the “victory” is determined by the scoreboard, a ticker symbol or your accountant’s Quickbook’s tally- the elements are the same. You need a good plan, a good coach and a good team.

3 Ways To Score A Victory:

With A Good Plan, A Good Coach, & A Good Team

A Good Plan

Research. Research. Research!!  All good planning involves research, and great planning involves more research. From watching footage of opponents game play to knowing how types of gym flooring effects a passing game, basketball involves more research than practice time (not really, but it should!) Before you started in your business, you probably started essentially the same way;  Analyzing your competition, discovering what market variables you will encounter, and creating a roadmap for your victory. In basketball, good planning will result in more points on the board. Are you starting to see why I love basketball so much? Its essentially parallel to everything I love about business.

A good game plan has the same basic principals of a good business plan. Take the estimated score (money) with planning, and then subtract the estimated score(money) without planning, and you have you determined your value.

Sadly, if you just drop your plan in a drawer and don’t use it, the plan isn’t a good plan. You have to bring your plan to the game with you, meaning regular review and course correction. If something doesn’t go right on the court ( like they are using a full-court press better than we thought, adjust the plan (or if you are Bobby Knight, throw a chair- but I don’t recommend that)

No business plan is good if it’s not implemented and not changeable. Planning isn’t about predicting the future and following your prediction no matter what. It takes a process of regular review and course correction. Planning is leadership and management.

A Good Coach

Who is the best coach in basketball? I couldn’t possibly name just one coach.  There are so many I admire, but even quantifying a good coach is difficult. Is the best coach one who wins more or maybe it is one who knows how to who maximize his situation better.  Is a systematic approach coach more successful than a coach who is constantly redefining his system?  How do you rank a coach’s ability to recruit the right team?

For me, a great coach, and for that matter, a great leader, must have a clear vision and have planned their pathway to get to their end goal. Also, staff may make hiring decisions, but the best coaches know how to play to an employees (I mean players) strengths, and fill-in their weakness with other players strengths. The best coach isn’t the one necessarily has the best basketball savvy, but rather the one who brings out the best in those under him or her.

Many great coaches have led their teams to the top of their divisions with determination, commitment, and integrity. But not all great coaches win championships. What great coaches have in common though is they develop their players into the best athlete that they can become, and their teams into cohesive units.

A Good Team

Every job has a person, and every person should have a job. You have to be able to identify the single person who will be responsible for every significant task and function within your vision and plan. A task that doesn’t have an owner isn’t likely implemented. Go through your business plan and look to see whether or not you can recognize a specific person responsible for implementation at every point.  Who is supposed to get the ball when the shot needs to be made?

A good team is more the just a collection of good players. History has shown us that teamwork has beaten talent. Each player should know their role and their responsibilities as an individual and as part of the team. In business, the team must understand and work towards a clear direction and a marked, achievable objective to aim for collectively. Teams are more productive, and willing to assist each other with harder goals when they can see exactly where their support fits into the big picture.

Each team member is unique and should be able to offer their own experiences and skillsets that others may not have. Diversity is key here. You don’t need five point guards on the court at one time, but a well balanced five players can move the ball quickly and defend agilely.

Bringing it all together now:

With a trusted and well-respected coach and leader, strong, well- rounded teams can win their own type of March Madness. Here too, it is about the process surrounding the plan, more than the just the plan itself. The plan has to have the specifics, but the management has to take them to the team and get buy-in from the team to have them commit.

Trust HH Staffing to help pull your award-winning team together, just in time for your bracket winning season.

Until Next Time,

Your Staffing Partner, Darrin Rohr-  President, CEO and Chief Servant

Darrin RohrCurrent owner of HH Staffing and Former Chief HR Officer for several successful Multinational Fortune 500 Companies. Brings fresh perspective from decades of experiences creating Great Workplace Cultures by building high performance teams while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. HH Staffing is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida and is uniquely positioned to serve both local and national clients.