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Win with great team players

Win with great team players

The other day I clicked on the link to a video of a basketball game played 40 years ago – and had an epiphany - mostly the best teams win, not the team with the best player(s).   

The game was Iowa vs. Georgetown, with the winner going to the Final Four.  The Iowa team had no all-Big Ten players that year.  Of their five leading scores that game, four never played a minute in the NBA, and the one that did was a freshman bench-warmer with a 5 point scoring average that year. They did have a star player, but he suffered an injury earlier that year and was not a great player that season, but still a great leader.  What they had were role players who were team players.  People who put the good of the team above their own interests and stats.  People who worked hard and worked together.  And great leadership from coaches and players. Their opponents in that game had three all-conference players, all of whom would go on to play in the NBA, much more individual talent than the Iowa team and a hall-of-fame coach.  Yet Iowa prevailed. 

The Hawkeyes have had many great players in the intervening forty years, including 63 all-conference selections. But they have never returned to the Final Four.  Superstars stand out in headlines and on Instagram.  But more often than not, the best teams win, not necessarily the team with the best player(s).  True in sports; true in business.  To build a winning team, focus on the great team players

2 comments

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Corey Clark | Sep 22nd 2020 @ 12:32 PM

Well said, Mike. I had the privilege of working with Kevin Boyle at Lincoln Savings Bank (another ESOP company) for many years. He carried that team spirit to the financial services world and was a great teammate in business because of it. I think he's still there and I reflect fondly. My best to you and your team.

Mike Mallaro | Sep 28th 2020 @ 3:37 PM

Kevin Boyle was one of the stars of that game and one of the great team players in Iowa basketball history.

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