Every March, millions of Americans ritualistically complete their NCAA Tournament brackets with hopes their favorite teams will go all the way -- or that they will win some extra spending cash via the office pool. As brackets are busted and hopes for all but the fans of a few schools remain intact, the focus during the Final Four shifts towards the penultimate, championship games.
Despite all the pageantry, at its core, the tournament is about one thing -- crowning a champion. If you stay tuned after the final buzzer goes off, the broadcast traditionally ends with a video montage showing highlights from the tournament accompanied by the fan-favorite song, "One Shining Moment."
While casual fans turn their attention to college basketball only in March, the diehard knows that the team that cuts down the net, signifying they've won it all, has been preparing for their shining moment long before the final buzzer. Here are four ways to start developing your championship team today.
1. Realize that it starts with the players.
If you want to build a championship-caliber business, you're going to need star players on your team. In basketball, that begins with the recruiting process. Coaches spend countless hours on the road, roaming the country, trying to attract the best quality talent to their schools. Even the most innovative game strategists and coaches have no chance to win it all without talent to work with.
Businesses should never forget that a key to growing is to have the right people on the roster. Strategy is always important, but winning players can help overcome a bad plan or make a good one look phenomenal. Don't take the recruiting process lightly, and never settle in this department.
2. Make the most out of your practice time.
A challenge all collegiate coaches face in NCAA basketball is limited time on the court, ensuring that the student / athlete has the opportunity to fulfill their academic requirements. As all teams have the same constraint, this pressures the coaches to utilize their time most effectively. A great coach doesn't waste a moment when it comes to developing their players through practice.
While companies don't have time constraints limiting the amount of training they can provide their workers, they do have the realities of productivity goals to meet. It can be difficult to carve out time for additional education when everyone on the team is generally busy. Dedicating time to training now is the ultimate lesson in delayed gratification. This usually won't result in an immediate payoff -- but it is a key component of winning over the long haul.
3. Develop a style of play.
Most championship basketball teams own a particular style of play they hang their hats on. For some, it's a fast-tempo, offense-oriented approach. For others, it's all about lock-down defense. Very few teams will have a winning style that completely morphs from game to game.
Your team must also identify a single style. In essence, this is their identity or culture. Perhaps you have a group of over-achievers who burn the midnight oil, grinding out wins by outworking the competition. Or alternatively, they may be all about pushing the innovation envelope. Whatever style emerges, make sure your team members all know and believe in it. Great organizations aren't born simply from a single vision, but by having leaders to show their teams how and why they will hit the target.
Learn from your mistakes. No NCAA Men's Championship Team has gone undefeated for an entire season since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers did so. Four decades have passed without a flawless record. The takeaway is simple - all teams will encounter losses or setbacks. The champions are able to re-calibrate after a defeat, learn from it and use it to push them forward. They turn setbacks into comebacks.
Each year, the tournament starts with a field of 64. In the end, only one team cuts down the net and marks its place in the history books. Building a successful company can be just as odds-defying. To ensure your team continues to advance in the tournament of business, learn from the NCAA's best.