Success is Always in the Details

For college basketball fans across the country, this season’s March Madness has not disappointed!  This year’s tournament has resulted in most top-seed upsets in tournament history.  You can see the score and bracket results here.

UConn (3rd seed) and Butler (8th seed) will play Monday, April 4th for the national championship.  Sports analysts say it’s the most unlikely match up in tournament history.

So as these two teams battle it out for 40 minutes on the basketball court, the team who emerges as the winner will be the one who demonstrates the best execution of the details of basketball.

So, what is the leadership lesson in this college sports analogy?  Here are 3 quick reminders.

Offense:  You have to score to win.
Points on the scoreboard are really all that matter when the buzzer sounds.  And the simple math is the team with the most points wins…period.  In the workplace, your scoreboard is important too.  So, what are you measuring?  And does your team know what those metrics are?  Sure, profits matter.  But have you stopped to help your team understand how profits are created throughout every part of the organization, including finances to customer relationships?

Defense:  You have to keep the other team from scoring.
In the give and take of basketball, the other team will have the ball.  They key is to reduce their opportunity to score.  That’s the role of good defense.  And in order to create good defense, you have to know the other team.  How do they play?  Who are the strongest players? Where are the greatest vulnerabilities?   It’s no different in the workplace.  Who is in your competitive set?  Why do customers choose them?   And what can you learn from them to make your organization stronger?  That’s good defense.

Game Stats: That’s where the difference is made.
Throughout the game, commentators will report how well the team is playing.  That progress is demonstrated in field goal percentage, number of turnovers, foul trouble and free throw percentage, to name a few.  The execution of these details can result in the loss or addition of points.  Throughout the tournament, many games have come down to the wire with a last second basket at the buzzer. The result:  A team narrowly escapes defeat by 1 or 2 points.

For the workplace, it’s those details that separate mediocre teams from the stellar ones.  High performing teams take the time to identify the minute details of the business that create its competitive advantage.  And then, they are relentless in the discipline to focus on those details.

Butler and Connecticut will have 40 minutes to prove to fans and spectators alike how well they understand these three principles.  And most importantly, how well they can execute them.

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