My Leadership Lessons From Coaching in Sweet 16’s

Next Level Leadership

My Leadership Lessons From Coaching in Sweet 16’s

March Madness is the best time of year for anyone. Coaching college basketball for 27 years, allowed me to have multiple opportunities to coach my teams to Sweet 16’s. There is nothing better than preparing your team, celebrating with your fans, and traveling to the semi-final and regional games.

As an ICF senior executive coach, now my clients get to experience their own Sweet Sixteen with their teams and organization. My book, ON Point, includes best practices and lessons learned on getting your own career and teams to experience their own March Madness.

The Sweet 16 taught my teams and program so much. When you reach this level, on this platform and in the national spotlight, you’re ON Point. These experiences at the Sweet 16’s taught me a lot about leadership and to keep thriving and striving to be the best in everything we do. It’s the same now coaching top-producers and executives in business, supporting them to push their teams and business to that same level while performing with grace under fire.

First, it’s not easy getting to this level and it’s harder to sustain this level of success year after year. Fundamentally, it takes to good ole hard work. What is going to separate you from the rest? Your mindset is key, working harder than your competition, and an unwavering commitment is a start. Many say they want it, they talk about it, but they are unwilling to sacrifice what it takes to be extraordinary. I hear people daily say they want to be successful, but they are unwilling to make the sacrifices it takes.

In ON Point, Chapter 9, I share seven keys to building high performing teams. I used this model subconsciously in building my teams and experienced numerous NCAA tournaments and a Final 4. I use this model now when coaching my teams in business. If you have a team, these seven keys are a great place to start!

When you get to your own Sweet 16, there are 5 leadership lessons you will need in order to Survive and Advance. Once you get a taste of success at this level, anything less is a major disappointment.


1. Importance of Role Players

Who are your role players? The importance of role players is a big factor whether you win or lose. Your superstars produce every single day, that’s why you ‘ve made it this far. Your top talent needs to be consistent and produce results every game. You’re playing in the Sweet 16 because you have some top talent. Role players need to be able to step up and make the right plays at the right time.

2. Your Value Proposition

What separates you from others? How do you stand out? What makes you unique? Do you know your capabilities and strengths? What do you do better than anyone else? As the leader, you must understand your value proposition as a team and organization. How have you prepared to land the next deal, client or goal? People have many choices. As a team, coach, and business – leveraging your strengths will get you to the next level.

3. Attention to Details and Fundamentals

When you get to the next level, take time and look around. Pay attention to other coaches or business leaders in your circle. Top producers understand the details and the fundamentals of performing at this level. The details will make or break you. When playing against lesser performers you can overpower the other team, out-talent them, and maybe not as prepared – you already know you are going to win. However, at this level, you have to be sharp and crisp in order to come out on top.

4. Be Laser Focused

Are you laser focused as a coach or team leader? Do you thoroughly understand your game plan, team, goals, and how you’re going to get there? Being laser focused on your game plan before going into that meeting or landing that project is essential. You will be playing and competing against the best.

5. Execute Down the Stretch

Many games come down to the last 2 minutes. The precision of your execution is critical. What pass, shot and all options must be communicated and everyone on the same page. You have to be extremely precise and execute stronger than you ever have before. The ON Point leader must be clear, concise, and deliver a clear structured message. In businesses, know your game plan and execute your strategy until the final buzzer.

We all want to be competing in the Sweet 16 with our team on that stage. There’s nothing sweeter than competing with the best in the business. Now, I coach leaders to help them reach their own Sweet 16.



This business leadership book is a Game Plan for Life, Leadership, and Performing With Grace Under Fire. Each one will be autographed with a personal note and I will send it directly to you.