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What March Madness Teaches Us about Teamwork

Joe Ptak on Mar 24, 2016 10:36:35 AM

The sound of gym shoes squeaking on the court and the pandemonium of every buzzer beater, yep, it's that time of the year again where basketball is in the air. By now you've probably placed the bracket you filled out in a frame or, the fireplace. But no matter if your bracket is busted or even if you're not watching at all, March Madness can make us all winners by what it teaches us about teamwork. Take these principles into your next group project and you will all be celebrating when the buzzer sounds.

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Prepare like a champion

Your team's performance is a direct reflection of its preparation. Ample legwork and practice before the task lifts off will set you up for success and program you to make the right judgments on the fly. Know what you're up against, know what could go wrong, and have a contingency plan in place for whatever comes your way.

Spread the ball

True, too many cooks in the kitchen can ruin the meal and ultimately someone does need to make a decision. But the more perspectives you can get on an issue, the better chance you have of catching every possible angle for a solution. Keep everyone involved throughout the task for your best chance to smother the challenge.

Know your teammates' strengths

Each member of your team has his or her individual talents and of course, weaknesses. Similar to the concept of comparative advantage, the more you allow each individual entity to shine, the greater the output will be. Identify what competencies everyone is packing and delegate appropriately.

Make the necessary halftime adjustments

Is the strategy you deployed at the onset of the project not working in certain areas? Be fluid enough to change the game plan in the middle of the venture to capitalize on areas that are thriving and tweak the ones where you’re running into a wall.

Get back on defense

Every assignment has responsibilities you may be less than excited about completing. They might be small or annoying chores that seem beneath you, but to be a true team player, you need to see the greater good and get them done. Every team is as strong as its weakest link and giving your best to every task is the only way to keep the link you're in control of robust.

Control the tempo

Is your team behind on the project and in danger of missing the deadline? Or are you way ahead of schedule and able to go back and tighten up any aspects to improve your work? Keeping one eye on the clock will let you know if you need to speed up or slow down so you're able to produce the best product you can.

Never stop communicating on the court

Just because the preparation is over and you've already broken the huddle, that doesn't mean it's time to treat your assignment as a solo mission. Keep the dialogue open, play off of your teammates and adapt together as the project unfolds and you will be paving the way to victory.

Sports can teach us many great lessons for success in life. And none ringing truer than when it comes to reaching a common goal with others.

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Topics: Talent and Leadership

Joe Ptak

Posted by Joe Ptak

Joe Ptak is the Manager of Marketing Communications for Prime Advantage. Joe is a perception engineer who contemplates the meaning of life every time he stares at a spreadsheet for too long and has never, Ever, taken an elevator to the 2nd floor.

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