While in Florida for the Chief Learning Officer Symposium last week I caught some of the women’s March Madness tournament. I watched the UConn – South Carolina game where UConn operated like a well oiled machine, winning 94 to 65.
Some quick facts about the lady huskies dynasty from their Wikipedia page:
- They’ve won 11 NCAA titles, including four in a row from 2013-2016
- They were 36-0 the season until they lost to Notre Dame last Friday.
- They’ve won 90 and 111 games in a row over two different winning streaks!
- Coach Geno Auriemma has won nearly 90% of his games (1027-136) since taking over the program in 1985.
The only other basketball program that comes close to UConn’s success are the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball teams under legendary coach John Wooden in the 1960s and 70s.
As I watched the game I was in awe of how well UConn played. I’m a casual basketball fan but it was apparent how much:
- More they hustled up and down the court
- More every player was fully engaged in the game, even when the action was away from them
- Better and crisper their passing was
- More confident they were in taking shots
I could go on and on but you get the picture. They were the epitome of team – together everyone accomplishes more. UConn didn’t appear to have a star player was overly dominant. Rather, it was how they were coached and how they responded to their coach. The players believe in Geno and his approach to the game and it shows in their actions. Even when they were up by 20 and 30 points you could see Geno’s displeasure when they made a mistake, especially mental mistakes.
While some coaches might blow it off if their team was hammering the opponent but not Geno. He knows the “little” things, like giving up an easy bucket, matter if they’re not addressed and corrected. Why? Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. He didn’t rant or rave but his displeasure was evident and you got the distinct impression his players didn’t like letting him down. The result of his approach is they never take their foot off the gas. It’s not about embarrassing the other team, it’s about playing to their capability at all times.
I encourage you to watch UConn play and keep an eye on Geno because there are lots of lessons to be learned about leadership, coaching, persuasion and teamwork. They may have come up short this year in the final four but with a 223-7 record and four national titles the last six years there’s no disputing UConn is the premier program in the country. Much like it was Tiger versus the field in golf tournaments when Tiger was at his peak; every year it’s all the women’s teams trying to knock off the UConn lady huskies.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at InfluencePEOPLE and Learning Director at State Auto Insurance. His Lynda.com course, Persuasive Selling, has been viewed more than 125,000 times! Have you seen it yet? Watch it and you’ll learn how to ethically engage the psychology of persuasion throughout the sales process.