68 teams enter, one emerges victorious. 

March Madness is one of the most exciting times of the year.  Rivalries are renewed, friendships are (temporarily) destroyed, vicious competition ensues, and then in April – it’s all over.

Having been a basketball fan my whole life (Go Kentucky Wildcats!) and a business owner for several years, I see many parallels and lessons that can be learned from March Madness as it pertains to business success.

Strategy – Teams don’t win by luck.  It’s the hard work and dedication to preparing for each game that sets a foundation for a well-planned game.  A good strategic plan helps the players think about the entire game instead of being drawn in to only thinking about “the now”.

Offense – As part of a good game plan, the coach will develop a strategy for running a solid offense.  The plan will be built around getting the right players open that are ready to step up and hit big shots.

Defense –The flip side of a good offense is a strong defense.  The ability to predict and guard against the opposing team’s offensive strategy can sometimes be enough to win a game – even if your offense isn’t performing well that day.

Talent – What’s all this without talent?  Usually it’s all for naught.  The right strategy is great but the best plan doesn’t always translate into a win.  You need to carry enough talent on your team to execute on the strategy.  This tends to be why the more popular teams (Kentucky, UNC, Duke, Kansas, UCLA) consistently win – they get the right talent.

Teamwork – Is a must!  If you don’t work well with and communicate well with your team, you’ll turn the ball over, miss shots, guard the wrong player, etc.  So many things can go wrong if you don’t have the right people that make a cohesive unit.  Sidenote:  If you need a good book on teamwork, read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Being able to abide by and execute on the above strategies will win you games, make your business successful, and ultimately help you emerge as the victor.

– BJ Caldwell