The college basketball season is coming to a close and Selection Sunday is just a few days away. Many departments across the country will have brackets being filled out and team members watching ESPN on their phones instead of working. The wonder that is March Madness isn’t just a fantastic sporting event – it also holds some valuable lessons that can be applied directly to your service department.
1. Teamwork Wins and Depth Matters
Every few years there is a player who puts a team on his back and carries them deep into the tourney – UConn’s Shabazz Napier did it last year, Steph Curry a few years back and Glen Rice took Michigan to the top in ‘89 (my personal favorite). While this is exciting to watch, it is the exception rather than the rule. Just as in service, the best overall team generally comes away victorious. It takes more than one or two superstars on the lane or in the shop at most stores to be successful in the long run.
Building your team is one of the key pieces and always needs to be a focus. Just as the best college coaches are always looking to the next season within days of wrapping up the current one, the best service managers should always be planning ahead. Hire the right people. Avoid getting caught in a bad place when someone leaves. Invest in training your technicians and cross training your front line customer facing personnel. Have a succession plan in place for the different areas under your control.
2. Don’t Hope to be the Cinderella Story
Almost every year a highly seeded underdog will slide into the Sweet Sixteen. But zero teams with a seed of 12 or higher has ever made it to the Final Four and an 8 seed is the highest to ever play in the Championship game. If you want to be profitable, it takes consistency and excellence game after game all season. The best teams have good coaches and excellent game plans. The same goes for “winning” service departments – they have good managers and execute processes designed to promote repeatable results consistently.
3. Make Use of the Bracket
The Bracket is my favorite part of March Madness. It is simple to understand and draws in people who otherwise never watch the sport. It gets filled out by the President and Warren Buffet will pay you a cool billion if you have a perfect one (good luck – you are 500 times more likely to win the lottery). So what lesson can we take from the Bracket? It brings in focus. Why not take a little time this month and draw up a short contest with a bracket format? What area of your department could benefit from a short term competition? Cranking up production of hours? CSI? Sales of certain maintenance items?
The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.