NCAA Tournament Offers Leadership Lessons

People cheering at a basketball game.

The NCAA’s March Madness is one of SCI Development Director Zac West’s favorite events of the year. The excitement of the games, the anticipation of the competition, the thrill when your team wins, and even the letdown when they lose, keeps fans coming back for more every year.

Below, Zac shares some insight on the NCAA Tournament and leadership:

In a article, three leadership lessons gleaned from the NCAA Tournament relate to everyday work situations.

1. Underdogs can shine

The first one is my favorite; I love the underdogs. When I am watching sports, my kids always ask me who I am pulling for. Most of the time, my answer is the underdog. I like seeing the “little guys” win. This is true on the court and off the court.

Look at the NC State Wolfpack team. No one thought they had a chance of winning, but they won the ACC Tournament, and in the Final Four for the first time since 1983, beating longtime rival Duke University. Whether you’re a NC State fan or not, watching NC State right now makes you feel good.

The same can be said for any team member at Sanford Contractors; indeed, anyone can be a leader. With mental and physical readiness, any underdog can shine.

2. Be prepared for the unexpected

When you are filling out a bracket, it’s easy to pick a #1 or #2 seed to beat a #15 or #16 seed in the first round. But as we’re starting to see more frequently, it’s not always a given. Just ask UNC-Chapel Hill fans, they’re still feeling the burn.

Team members must be ready for the unexpected every day. Being ready means being prepared. Leaders have to communicate with their team members and be ready to make a quick change if things don’t go as planned. In this business, leaders must be flexible and adaptable problem solvers.

3. Master the fundamentals

Growing up playing sports, my coaches always said to master the fundamentals to be a stronger athlete. Those words didn’t always resonate with me then, but as I’ve gotten older, I catch myself telling my kids the same thing.

SCI leaders work just as hard as athletes to master the fundamentals, which helped turn them into the professionals they are today. Mastering fundamentals takes strong commitment and dedication to your trade as well as years of consistent practice and effort.

So, when you glance at your tournament bracket or watch a Final Four game on TV, think about how NCAA Tournament lessons can help make you a stronger leader.