Lessons from 2016 NCAA Tournament

Much like a Kris Jenkins jump shot, the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament provided examples in leadership that can help carry an organization to championship levels. The first item that struck me was the power of counseling as a committee. Sally Helgesen noted in her leadership book, “Web of Inclusion,” that an organization can become stronger by including multiple view points and the web of inclusion provides a means for individuals to affect their organizations, even transforming them when circumstances demand it. According to NCAA.com “each member of the Division I men’s basketball committee evaluates a vast amount of information during selection process. Their opinions — developed through observations, discussions with coaches, directors of athletics and commissioners, and review and comparison of data — ultimately determine selections, seeding and bracketing.”

Terry Cooper suggested in his book “The Responsible Administrator” that looking beyond the obvious choices and challenging ourselves to look more thoroughly through all options. These challenges keep us from limiting ourselves and overlooking the best options. As a committee, the selectors poured through all available information to make the best decisions on what teams should make the tournament and what their seeds should be. By providing a wealth of information to virtually anyone who knows how to use it, this serves to redistribute mastery in an organization.

Another lesson that can be taken from the tournament is the power of sharing the load. Ryan Arcidiacono was named the tournament’s most outstanding player, but his most important decision was to pass the ball. With time-winding down, “Arch” found Jenkins for a three point shot that will go down in tournament lore. Jenkins’s shot as time expired was the first buzzer-beating, three-point, championship shot in the history of the NCAA tournament
history. It also displayed how teamwork and sharing responsibilities as a team can lead to crowning achievements.

Speaking to the media about the game-winning play set up by Arcidiacono, Jenkins said, “for him to be so unselfish and give up the ball, you know, it just shows what type of teammate he is, what type of person he is.” In any organization, you are all teammates and unselfishness will take you to championship heights as well. Selfishness has derailed many an organization, but the selflessness displayed by the Villanova Wildats is something that all organizations can learn from. As Jenkins told the New York Times, “Arch was supposed to shoot it because he’s a senior and that’s what seniors do when the final game’s on the line,” Jenkins said. “But he gave it to me, and I really can’t believe it. It just shows what kind of person he is. All my teammates do a great job in giving me confidence. We don’t care who gets the credit, don’t care who shines. We all just want to win.” It is not always about the top leadership taking all of the shots. If you have placed your group in their best positions then the desired results will materialize and it will not truly matter who gets credit. Sometimes you have to hand the ball off to give the person with the better angle a shot and meeting your goals.

Stylish Leadership

Sports are about more than just wins and losses. Athletic competition can bring out the best in people beyond physical accomplishment. The World of Sports provides some great examples of leadership. This blog is dedicated to showcasing more than just the x’s and o’s of sports. We will take a look at how coaches, captains and other organizational leaders go about motivating, encouraging, and leading their teams because great leadership is always in style.