Embrace the Madness

marchmadnessIf you don’t know that this week is the start of March Madness, then you are either really unplugged (yea for you) or you live on another planet.  For a bonafide basketball junkie like me, March Madness is absolute heaven.  Great games, Cinderella stories, huge upsets, busted brackets…what is not to love?

I’m betting not a lot of bosses love March Madness because productivity in the office plummets on Thursday and Friday.  According to this article…it’s close to 1.9 billion in lost wages for the 60 million Americans who will watch the games from their offices.

Look, I get it, that’s a lot of wages lost but you can’t stop Americans from doing what they are going to do…watch basketball and try to beat their co-workers in the office bracket pool.  It’s not called March Madness for nothing.

So what is a boss to do? In my opinion…roll with it.  Know that Thursday and Friday your team might be a little distracted and plan ahead by getting the most out of them M-W.  Use the tournament as a morale builder and offer to show games at lunchtime in the boardroom.  Make sure to be there yourself, (Boss Lady/Man), so the team sees that you are caught up in the madness as well.  If there’s an office bracket pool, play along even if you don’t know basketball.  (You’d be surprised how many of my friends choose teams based on the color of their jerseys and win)

The tournament really only lasts 3 weeks…and by the second and third week there are less games during work hours.  So really, it’s only this Thursday and Friday that your team will be absolutely worthless…2 days. Surely, any great team can weather a little distraction for two days.

Speaking of brackets, I filled out two:  I’ve got Duke winning in one and Arizona in the other…because nobody is PERFECT.

Let’s Huddle



via Getty Images

Most every team sport huddles together several times in a game.  Players get in close, wrap their arms around each other and talk strategy, design a play or just take a breath.  It is one of the most important team actions in a game.  A player will tell you that a huddle is a moment away from the action, the cheering crowd and pressure of the game.  A coach will huddle up his players to give out accolades, criticism or to gauge how his players are doing.  A huddle is sacred, no one can break the huddle and the team bonds in a huddle.  Most every huddle has a leader whether it is the coach, quarterback, point guard, etc.  The leader who gives instruction, sets the tone for the game and also breaks the huddle.

At work, I would say the huddle has been replaced with the staff meeting. Co-workers sit around a table, exchange ideas, and discuss strategy.  The boss will use the staff meeting to execute plans, praise or criticize and get a read on their staff.  While a team will huddle 2-4 times a game, an office staff may only meet once a week.

What is said in a huddle or staff meeting can make the difference in the game or strategy.  A coach or boss who uses the huddle/meeting to praise and support their team will see positive results.  If the huddle/meeting talk is all negative, the team will respond negatively as well.

I think offices could use the ‘huddle’ more in their culture.  In addition to the weekly staff meeting, start a Friday ‘rah rah’ meeting where co-workers who can attend talk about what went well that week, celebrating the wins.  Throw in a few high fives or fist bumps and you have the making of great team bonding.

A huddle doesn’t have to be with a team of people it could be with only two people.  Managers should consider ‘huddling’ with their staff one on one more to get a genuine feel of how that person is doing.  Remember, not everyone can talk in a large huddle which means some folks don’t get a voice at all.  No matter how big or small your team is, don’t forget to huddle up once in a while and come up with new ideas or just take stock of how your team is doing.

Go Team! Break!