March Madness in the NCAA basketball world is drawing to a close with teams in the Final Four playing their games this weekend and the championship game set for Monday, April 1.
As I put the finishing touches on the accountability workshop I’m conducting this Friday for 54 CEOs and their leadership teams, I’m reminded of a different type of Final Four that must be in place if you want to succeed.
Here are four key ingredients you need if you want to win – at work, at home and in life.
- Know what you stand for.
Your values provide a filter for decision-making. Who you hire. Which customers you agree to represent. How you reward. How you address under-performance. “I think I started learning lessons about being a good person long before I ever knew what basketball was,” says Julius “Doctor J” Erving. “And that starts in the home; it starts with parental influence.”
- Know where you’re going.
As a leader – of your organization, your department, a volunteer project or your life – you must be clear about what you want. It’s hard to be committed if you’re not passionate about what you’re trying to achieve. So dream big, and be specific about what success looks like. And get ready for setbacks along the way. “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career,” says Michael Jordan. “I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot…and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
- Execute your plan.
When most companies and people fail to fully realize their dreams, it’s not because the goal was unattainable or the approach to achieving it was flawed. Shortfalls generally occur because of the inability or unwillingness to maintain discipline and do the hard work that’s required. “A winner,” says Larry Bird, “is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.”
- Keep score.
Winners love being measured. Losers hate it. If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never find it. If you don’t keep score, you won’t improve. And if you don’t get the under-performers off your team, you’ll never build the credibility, chemistry and confidence that it takes to win. “Bad shooters,” said Princeton coach Pete Carril, “are always open.”
Here’s to you championship season.