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Sweet 16 Cinderellas and Management

March 25, 2010

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What do Northern Iowa, St. Mary’s and Cornell have in common? They have all seen success when it matters most – the postseason. What’s more impressive is that they have done it with less firepower than many other teams.

Teams like Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse etc have seen a lot of success, although some have fallen victim to the lesser stags mentioned in the above paragraph (*cough* Kansas losing to Northern Iowa *cough*). However, success has been nothing unexpected being that teams like themselves are loaded with A-List level talent. Kansas has up to eight players that could seek employment from the NBA and Kentucky boasts two players that could very well go 1-2 in this summer’s draft.

Not to say that the Cinderella teams are less talented or just plain lucky (well in some cases maybe luck…) but if they had seen a lot of success and had consistent top tier talent year round, you wouldn’t see a double digit number seed next to their names when filling out your office bracket pool. However, whether or not you have future Wheaties spokesmen on your team or individuals that are pretty good but not “great,” the success doesnt rely on talent and ability alone.

It requires great management.

So what if you are an organization with some good talent but no real “rock stars?” A team like Northern Iowa has good players but no superstars. How is it they are able to take down a juggernaut like Kansas? A manager that keeps his team aligned on the goals of his company (layman’s terms, a coach that motivates to win). For success, the coach has to be able to get the most out of his players when it counts most.

The same can be said of managers. They have employees under them that may not be the best at what they do but have the potential to achieve great things. It’s up to that manager to communicate clearly the goals of the organization and find the proper motivational tools to achieve those goals. For basketball players, these motivational tools are trophies, cut-down nets and airtime on ESPN. For companies, these motivational tools take the shape of incentive programs, whether they be point programs, travel incentives or some other employee engagement program.

It’s all about finding the right motivational program that aligns with your team’s goals. It’s about getting that so-called “average” talent to achieve “rock star” results.

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