Every year when the NCAA Tournament rolls around, one thing becomes very clear: no matter what seed you are coming into the tournament, you can write your own story. That’s why they call it March Madness after all. And this year has been no exception. The first round was full of upsets the most drastic of which saw two #3 seeds taken out by their #14 seed competitors. And then there’s Michigan State, a #7 seed who made it all the way to the Final Four. They took down #2 Virginia, #3 Oklahoma and #4 Louisville on the way. Talk about an uphill battle. So what is it that gets these teams through those seemingly impossible games? Is it heart? Is it luck? Is it skill? Well, it certainly has a lot to do with skill, but I’d argue that it also has a lot to do with the coach.
A great coach knows who to put on the court, and when. They know their players like the back of their hand. They can see if someone is having an off day, they know what style of motivation works for each player, they can feel when the team is getting flustered. They know which players will best defend against their current opponents. It is the coach’s job to make sure that the best team is out there on that court at all times. And the same goes for the manager of a business. It’s the manager’s job to coach his employees and make sure that the right players are on the court at all times. They should know their employees strengths and weaknesses. They should know what their workload is like, what they’re doing on a daily basis and what their goals in life are, both personally and professionally. A manager should know exactly who he can call on for an upcoming project. Not just someone he likes, but someone who has the time available, the strengths needed and the drive necessary to complete it. Someone they know will perform. If you don’t know your employees that well, you’d better start learning, Coach.