Every year around this time college basketball participates in what America has lovingly named “March Madness.” We are big basketball fans in my family. Not only do we cheer on the college players as they give their all in the tournaments, we support our local teams as well. It takes many things to make a successful team, both on the basketball court and in business.

First, to have a successful team you must have talented players.  It takes talent along with skill to win.  Each player must know their role and do what is required to win. Sometimes there are several skilled players but they don’t share the ball and play together.  In one game, with just a few seconds on the clock, I watched one eager player try to do it by himself as he took the ball all the way down the court to the basket and ran out of time.  If only he would have passed the ball to his teammate down court they could have made the basket. Individuals must be selfless and committed to team success.

In addition to talent, a team must have passion.  There must be passion for the game combined with zeal to win.  It is exciting to watch teams with passion and drive exuding from them as they play, and it makes you want to cheer them on.  The intensity flows into the stands and then back down to the court. The team can feed off the energy of the crowd to tip them over the top.

Talent does not shine without dedication and hard work. The team must be dedicated to one another and to constantly improving their own skills. You can tell a team that works together – a pass without looking, sprinting to take a charge, confidence to steal the ball knowing their teammate will have their back.  True teams work in unison.

Then of course, a team needs a leader. Not another player but someone offering direction from the sideline.  When watching the tournaments, you can’t help but notice the coaches and how they differ in approach.  You can have a great team, but without a great coach a team can only go so far. It is inspiring to see the top coaches leading their teams with honor and integrity.  Encouraging their players to stretch themselves, correcting mistakes without being demeaning, and patting their backs in accomplishment. I admire the ones that are examples of professionalism, dignity and great sportsmanship, versus the ones that scream at their teams, the refs, and aggravate the fans. Great teams have a leader that instills passion, promotes teamwork, teaches skills, and encourages dedication.  This type of leadership brings victory.

Though we are still in the throes of basketball tournaments all over the country, we proudly cheer on all our teams big and small. We remember the things that make a team work, on and off the court. Good luck to everyone out there, and GO TEAM!

By Janelle Bruland, Legacy Leader CEO