How Business (Still) Imitates Basketball

March Madness is winding down with the Final Four this weekend.

We are reminded how the remaining four teams began preparing for the season in autumn, with the first games being played in November.

Players spent their summer working on their fitness and developing their new moves.  Coaches mapped out their practices and training programs in order to begin the season well and to continue to improve throughout the season.

The season began with months of preparation.

From November until the end of March, NCAA teams performed several times a week, traveling to meet their opponents and entertaining their fans at home.

The most successful teams will end their season on the first Monday in April, a little under five months from their first regular season game.

And, they will have seven months to review and reflect on their successes and failures, on their accomplishments and on their shortcomings. Seven months before they play their next regular season game.

In business, some time is spent in preparing. Preparing to meet a new customer. Preparing for a new product launch. Preparing to open a new store. Preparing for the next project.

In business, most time is spent performing. Calling on customers. Selling the new product or service to a customer. Serving a customer by answering their questions or listening to their concerns. Completing the project on time and on budget and meeting the quality standard. Building the product to meet the plans and specifications.

And, in business, more time is spent preparing, most time is spent performing, and not as much time is spent reflecting. Reflecting on what went well and what might have gone better.

The best college basketball teams will have seven months to reflect on what went well in their games, what went well in their season.  Seven months to deconstruct their strengths and weaknesses. Seven months to reflect on what might have gone better. And, seven months to create their plan for the next season.

As the first quarter of 2018 comes to a close, will you take time with your team to reflect on the start of your year? Will you take time to make adjustments and improve your game plan for the next three quarters of 2018?

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