Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Jayhawk Leadership

For those of you who aren’t college basketball fans, you missed a classic on Monday night. In the process of winning the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, the Kansas Jayhawks taught us plenty about leadership. Notwithstanding that it was an “Instant Classic,” here were some of the leadership gems from this great game:

-- Recruit well. Most of the champion Jayhawks’ roster was loaded with high-school All-Americans. Building a championship team begins with finding the best possible talent.

-- Coach ‘em up. Kansas’ Bill Self clearly outcoached his opposite number on the Memphis sideline. He seemed to know when to go fast, when to go slow, and who to have on the court. And when they had to do it, his team knew how to foul.

-- Cultivate a belief in the TEAM. Despite their National Championship, not one player on Kansas even made first-team in their conference. Remember, these were all high-school All-Americans. Somehow, they were able to subordinate their individual goals to the success of the TEAM. These are great players. Many of them will succeed as professionals. But they all bought in to the pursuit of the big prize.

-- Execute. Kansas never got down, even when trailing by 9 with just over 2 minutes remaining. They followed their game plan, listened to their coach, and made their shots, including an incredible 3-pointer that sent the game into overtime. Memphis, on the other hand, could not make free throws down the stretch, and were clearly fatigued when the game was on the line. The game was decided by the players and the coaches, on the court. And the better executing team – won.

What a game. The overtime thriller – and the National Championship – went to the better TEAM, 75-68. Memphis may have had the better players (to include two, 1st Team All-Americans), but they were left to agonize over what could have been.

It was the leadership. Recruit well. Coach ‘em up. Cultivate a belief in TEAM. Execute. That’s Jayhawk leadership. And that’s Leader Business.

No comments: