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Basketball and Perfection: Managing a Successful Team

Wildcat Basketball

Louisville, Kentucky and really the Kentuckiana area, which includes all of my Hoosier brethren, is a basketball mecca.

That’s right. We do football too, but this is basketball country. The hardwood and the net are the Holy Grail.

We’re neck deep in March Madness. Productivity in Louisville and Kentucky is at an all-time low. And, the bosses don’t care. They’re watching too.

My University of Kentucky Wildcat men finished the 2015 season with an undefeated record of 34-0, and won the NCAA Southeastern Conference Tournament in Nashville over the weekend. The last team to go to the tournament undefeated was Indiana in 1976.

Kentucky is one of 4 number 1 seeds in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, and the #1 overall seed.

The University of Louisville, my alma mater, finished the season with a 24-8 record, and is seeded 4th in the tournament. They won the NCAA tournament in 2013, but Coach Cal was victorious, topping them in 2012, when we played each other in the Final Four.

There is a lot of talk of perfection, all over the ethos right now. That’s what strikes me most.

Both coach are great coaches. Their records are testament to that. I’d say they are pretty equal in a lot of ways.

So then, how does one coach a team to a perfect season, when the other does not?

From my perspective, as it relates to field service, there are a couple of reasons:


  • Just like being consistent in coaching a team to perform to a certain level, field service organizations must also be consistent both in managing staff, as well as executing services for customers. Lack of consistency contributes to miscommunications, under-developed skills and spotty delivery.

    Kentucky consistently delivered this season, and focused on delivering every game. One of Coach Calipari’s players, Willie Cauley-Stein, talking about this weekend’s tourney, was quoted as saying "Those aren't the nets we're really looking to cut down. It's just a milestone. It's just part of the process for us winning and everything, but we're looking for something bigger.” We're looking to cut down a couple more nets in the tournament." I think that’s a perfect depiction of the attitude every player in your field service organization must have to ensure consistency.


  • Coach Calipari was also quoted as saying "We kinda did our thing," after the Wildcats beat the Razorbacks 78-63 to win the SEC Championship. I think that perfectly sums up adaptability. To beat 11 teams in 13 games in the NCAA Tournament, Kentucky had to adapt to each opponent. Field service organizations have to adapt too. They must adapt to new technologies, new business models, changing vendor landscapes and changing customer demands and preferences.


  • Transparency is one that I have to use U of L as an example of. A recent student athlete issue escalated before the public’s eyes, right before the tournament. Aside from the obvious issues with recruiting a player that had been tagged as a potential risk to start with, perhaps, if Coach Pitino had been more transparent - swifter to action both with the player and the public - a destroyed career, a victim of crime and bad PR for the University could have been diverted.

    I think it’s the same in field service. You must be transparent with your techs, whether they are employees or 3rd party contractors. They need to understand the expectations in order to succeed. You must be transparent with your customers. Customers expect to know when you’re coming and what you’re going to do. They expect a professionally attired, appropriately trained and equipped technician to show up. They expect he or she to have the parts and access to help required to get the job done on the spot. Lack of transparency translates to your brand being flamed on social networks.

So, let’s all aspire to perfection, like my Cats, this season. Let’s be consistent in our delivery of goals and service. Let’s adapt to all of the new things that come at each field service organization every day, that force you to evolve your operation. Let’s be transparent so every member of the value chain are aware of the expectations and expected outcomes.

Enjoy March Madness! Everyone here in Kentuckiana will be glued to the big screen once Thursday rolls around again!


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