Lessons from March Madness

It’s that time of the year with March Madness office pools.  Games are often on mute in the office so the boss doesn’t know how many people are watching the games. It’s funny how you can get a feel for which team is doing better by the vigor, energy and chemistry of the play when the sound is not present. Some people think there is a loss of productivity during the tournament, but I think you can learn some lessons from the #1 seeds and the Cinderella teams alike.


It starts with recruiting talented people to fill each role on the team. They have to be motivated, with a positive attitude, and the drive to work hard. The same goes for business.  Employees are at the heart of every successful company and it all starts with recruiting.


Coaches have a solid game plan for each specific opponent. They have prepared the team to go through hours of training to have the necessary skills and endurance to help the players visualize successful outcomes. The training off the court gives the players the focus and confidence needed to work through difficult times on the court.

The same goes for employees as they need a clear vision and solid strategic plan from senior management to perform their best. They need leaders that inspire them and create an environment for success.


Teams score everywhere: layups, jump shots, free throws, three pointers. They have strong ball handling skills, they pass, set picks, and adjust as a team.

Your employees need fundamental skills like decision making, negotiating, problem solving, and project management. You expect high standards, accuracy, and attention to detail.


College players talk all the time on the court. They communicate as the point guard sets the play, as they inbound the ball, and even using nonverbal cues through eye contact and body language. Communication is not a one-way activity, they also have to listen. They listen to their coaches on the sideline, or as they huddle to set the play during a free throw.

Communication is at the core of what employees do during the work day.  An email sent in ALL CAPS, or a project manager who can’t make eye contact, are examples where communications training can make a big difference.


Winning teams have a chemistry and an energy that is exciting to watch. Everyone contributes from the player coming off the bench to play the game of their lives, or the Senior playing every game like it’s their last.

In business, a successful project team has their own chemistry and rhythm. When there is a spirit of collaboration, creativity, and accountability it is more likely that the project is completed on time and on budget.  


The funny thing is we have training on all this!  Going with ej4 for your training is a slam dunk! (Sorry, I had to!)  Check out a few of our courses on many of the topics mentioned in this post.

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