With March Madness in full swing and the Elite 8 starting this weekend, we’ve got basketball on the brain here at Sparta Consulting Group! The reason we love sports and organized competitions like this is because of their striking similarities to business.
Many may not know that CEO, Niko, was a professional European basketball player and runs his business in a manner that’s similar to a sports team. He believes that we are only as strong as we practice and as smart as we study; and that our attitudes and mindsets above all separate us from the rest. Whether you are a huge college basketball fan or not, the lessons that can be learned from these 64 groups of exceptional athletes are everywhere.
As our team has been preparing their brackets and competing every day to see who will correctly name the winner, we’d like to share 5 take-aways we’ve found in watching the March Madness games that relate to having success in the workforce!
1. Don’t over-celebrate success
Successful business executives realize that “winning” can be short-lived, especially if the right habits aren’t practiced daily. Certainly, celebrating success in business is important and providing recognition is crucial; but resting on past achievements can lead to a quick shot back to reality. In sports, when a team wins a playoff or a championship game, they might take a day or a week to enjoy the moment — but then they’re instantly back in the weight room and at the 3 point line. They’re back to practicing relentlessly, as if that victory happened 5 years ago and not last week. “Repeat victors,” as we like to call them (Duke, Florida, North Carolina and Connecticut), have the mentality that all that matters for tomorrow is what you’re doing today. In business, the same exact mindset is needed to have multiple wins.
2. Number 1 seeds don’t always win
Everyone loves a Cinderella story, and this March Madness season is shaping up to be one! Two Fridays ago was the first time ever in NCAA Tournament History that a No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 seed lost first-round games on the same day to teams seeded No. 13 or worse! In the sports world, this upset was HUGE! Here at Sparta Consulting Group though, we think that’s half the fun in sports and in business. The big dogs and top performers don’t always come in clutch with the win. In fact, we find in our office that the individuals with the most drive and willingness to learn end up outperforming those with more experience and education ALL the time. If you ever feel like the underdog, remember, this is not a bad thing!
3) You have to do your homework
It is always apparent in collegiate and professional sports when you see teams and staff who’ve clearly studied and reviewed the other team’s footage for hours — versus those who haven’t. As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” We believe that winning is a compilation of multiple factors but it always starts with the level of preparation. I mean, should we even bring up the #15 Middle Tennessee State University upset against #2 Michigan State?! The same about doing your homework can be said in business and especially in marketing. If our client didn’t routinely research their competitors and relay to us the competitive advantages our products offer, we would not be able to demonstrate our strengths so effectively.
4) Competition is a good thing
Competition, both internally and externally, in business and sports is crucial to success. It exposes your strengths and weaknesses, helps you think creatively — and most importantly, it stops complacency! The sports industry would not be the multi-billion dollar grossing field it is if it were not for the rivalries that make it so entertaining. In business, we have an incredible free-market economy due to our belief system that competition is a good thing, both for companies and customers. There is a reason Sparta Consulting Group is going on 5 years of business; and that reason is we are constantly competing, both with ourselves and others!
5) Trust your team
The most apparent lesson that this March Madness has taught us is that at the end of the day, there is no successful sports team or company that does not have amazing camaraderie. We’re still replaying the video over and over of Northern Iowa’s victory over Texas, and the pure joy of the whole team as they took over the court to celebrate their last minute, 3 point winning shot! Every great entity that has walked away as the tournament champion has done so because of the sum total of efforts of the entire group. In basketball there are only 5 people on the court. The trust a team has to have when they work in a business of 50, 5,000 or 50,000 people has to be even greater, as there are more moving pieces and room for error.
Apply these 5 tips from Sparta Consulting Group to your very own team and you’ll be surprised by where your own organization is by March Madness 2017!