Wearing The Stripes From Zebra To Pin

Basketball has always been a passion of mine and has always been good to me. When I transitioned from being a point guard to a basketball referee over 30 years ago, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the friendships, relationships, and opportunities that I would gain. But, more importantly, the lessons that I learned beyond the rule book, blowing the whistle, and making calls, especially at the collegiate level, were just incredible. What always intrigued me the most was how the most successful and elite coaches built quality, successful, and sustainable programs which always centered around a solid culture and good core values despite the many social, competitive, economic, and media pressures that they constantly faced . And, on top of that, dealing with the multiple attitudes, expectations, and transiency of today’s coaches and athletes was a major challenge in itself! So, I often wondered: “how do they do it.”

Through many years of observation, reading, and discussion, it became apparent to me that, beyond having a good culture, core values, and solid offensive and defensive schemes in place, the one key ingredient that was critical to their success was having a good succession plan in place. Huh? you may ask…It’s true. I found that they always tried to focus on five key principles that were “a must” to have quality coaches and players to sustain the ongoing success of their program:

– Know The Key Positions and Players
– Know The Required and Preferred Skills
– Know The Possible Successors
– Involve Key People
– Commit To The Development of Talent

During my reading, I found this article on succession planning in sports which, ironically, pretty much summarized and explained the same thing.

So, I began thinking, if I’m a CEO or management executive, how does this translate to the success of my business or organization? If you think about it, it’s not much different. You too need a good culture, core values, and a solid offensive and defensive scheme in place in the form of a solid strategic plan, processes, and procedures. But, just like any collegiate basketball coach, you also need good talent and people in both your management team as well as your skilled work force. You too will find it difficult to keep talented executives, managers, and skilled workers in your organization as well due to many social, competitive, economic, and other pressures. But, how do you mitigate those risks? Follow the five principles that most successful collegiate basket ball coaches use:

– Know The Key Positions and Players
– Know The Required and Preferred Skills
– Know The Possible Successors
– Involve Key People
– Commit To The Development of Talent

So, from my view wearing the stripes in either role, having a succession plan in place is best, my friends! It’s worth having in your strategic tool box!

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