What can managers learn from Duke and Wisconsin’s basketball teams? Duke and Wisconsin are in the college basketball championship game tonight. They reached this stage through a great deal of hard work, skill, training and coaching.
Raw talent matters to mangers and even more to college basketball coaches. But raw talent alone won’t succeed (for college basketball teams a great system starved of raw talent would also fail).
The lesson many people miss is that college teams are mostly about developing a team that wins. Developing individual players is a part of that, but it is subordinate to developing a team. I think college coaches understand this reality much more than most managers do. But a management system that develops a team that succeeds is also critical to the success of business.
Managers can learn from successful college basketball programs the importance of creating a successful team. Part of doing that is developing individual skills of players. A huge part of it is developing an understanding of the system within which those players must operate.
Recruiting is an important part of developing an elite college basketball team. And it is critical to developing a world class business organization (though recruiting is less important to business, in my opinion). Recruiting is important in business, but it is easier to be very successful with good people, the skills needed in business are not often so rare as those needed in high level basketball.