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From the Court to the Boardroom: Lessons in Leadership and Excellence for Reaching the Final Four

Reaching the Final Four in women's basketball isn't just a milestone; it's the pinnacle of a coach's and player's career. Having experienced this rare feat firsthand, I understand the relentless pursuit of excellence that is required for this journey. Watching the games this weekend brought me back to our Sweet 16 and Elite Eight wins that advanced us to the coveted Final Four in New Orleans.

As one of the select few women's basketball coaches to lead a team to the Final Four, I recognize its significance. For most coaches, it remains an elusive dream. Once tasted, its allure leaves everything else feeling inadequate. With only 50 women's basketball head coaches ever reaching this pinnacle, the journey instilled invaluable lessons when it comes to high performance and team dynamics, which now inform my work coaching individuals and teams in the business world. My clients want a successful coach and trusted partner in today's turbulent world, and people and cultures must evolve with the times. What worked just a few short years ago, does not work today.

Every individual, team, and organization has their own definition of a Final Four, but they all know it involves raising the bar and doing things they may have never done before. It personifies  the idea of “what got you here, won’t get you there.” If you’ve made the tournament for the first time, great! If this was your first year in the Sweet 16, fantastic! If you celebrated a win at the Elite Eight, congratulations! But, if you want one of the coveted spots in the Final Four, then this is when you need to dig deep, challenge yourself, intensify your focus and discipline, maybe swap out some teammates, and commit to the process like you have never committed before…because that’s what it takes.

Follow the ON Point Action Plan so this is the year you cut down the net at your own Final Four.

Here is to Unlocking Success:10 Non-Negotiable’s for High-Performing Teams

  1. Inspiring Vision: Aligning every action with a shared purpose and an aspiring future state.

  2. Clear Roles & Responsibilities: Three seconds to execute to perfection out of a timeout decides if you win or lose; know your role.

  3.  Goals & Strategies: A blueprint and roadmap with a yearly game plan, quarterly, monthly, and daily practice plans.

  4.  Effective Communication: Foster a safe environment with open and transparent dialogue and active listening.

  5.  Setting Expectations: Setting clear expectations and direction with setting the bar high will attract top talent.

  6. Real-Time Feedback: Celebrate wins of all sizes with praise and provide constructive feedback immediately.

  7. Culture of Accountability: Hold yourself and others to high standards consistently and without exception.

  8.  Resilience: Embrace setbacks, challenges, failures, and obstacles as opportunities for growth and development.

  9. Adaptability: Pivot and thrive in dynamic, unpredictable, ambiguous, uncertain, and unprecedented situations.

  10. Continuous Improvement: Pursue excellence with relentless determination 24/7/365.

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