The life of an entrepreneur is not always easy; it’s often difficult, challenging, and even frustrating. Learning to manage themselves is one thing, but learning to manage others can be even more trying.
Thus, entrepreneurs must look for lessons in unusual places, which enables them to enhance their efficiency and effectiveness on both a personal and professional level. The yearly March Madness tournament, held by the NCAA, is a great example of an overlooked source of great information. On the surface, there appears to be no connection between basketball and running a business. However, it doesn’t matter if you’re managing a basketball team or conducting a business deal, the path to success is always the same.
It’s common in sports for a team to fall behind but later come back and win the game. There is an important psychological factor at play here, but how does it apply to entrepreneurs and business? Well, entrepreneurs are often required to build and manage teams. As such, they must understand how to properly motivate and inspire those teams. When a team believes they are ahead, it’s easy for them to become complacent and let their guard down, but if they believe they are too far behind, they will likely become discouraged and give up. Therefore, it’s best to make a team feel they are only slightly behind reaching their goal, which inspires them to push themselves harder to overtake the competition.
The Benefit of Rivalry
Rivalries are a big part of basketball and sports in general. Any sports fan knows these rivalries make the game more interesting and inspires each player to push themselves harder. The value of rivalry is often overlooked in the business world, which is a mistake. Many business leaders view their competition in a negative light, which is evident when new entrepreneurs seek out markets with low competition. However, competition can benefit businesses, entrepreneurs, and consumers. Competition inspires each company to push themselves harder to avoid falling behind, which often enables them to shatter previously limiting beliefs.
The Downside of Success
Both businesses and sports teams strive for success. Each desires to outperform their competition and win the love and loyalty of their fans (or customers). In basketball, it’s common for the underdog to engage in risk taking. The more likely they are to lose, the more willing they are to take chances, which often propels them to success. However, as they improve, they take steps to stay on top, which often results in reduced risk-taking behavior. The same applies to aspiring entrepreneurs; in the beginning, they are willing to risk more because they have nothing to lose, but as their success grows, so does their level of fear. Success is not a bad thing, but it’s important to maintain willingness to take calculated risks.
Those are just three lessons entrepreneurs can take away from March Madness, but we want to know what you think. What are other lessons that you think can also be applied to business? Let us know in the comments below!