We are deeply saddened about the death of one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time, Patricia Head Summitt.  As its head women’s basketball coach, Coach Summitt successfully led the University of Tennessee for 38 seasons..  During her tenure, her teams won 1,098 games (making her the winningest coach in college basketball history… yes more than John Wooden, yes, more the Coach K, yes, more than everybody).  She coached 8 national title teams, and her teams played in 22 Final Fours.  Coach Summitt was a 7 time NCAA Coach of the Year and a Presidential Medal of Freedom Honoree.  But these stats are not even her biggest accomplishment.  Coach Summitt graduated 100% of her athletes…now that’s more impressive than the 8 national titles.  If you talk with any of her former players, they will all say that under her guidance, not only did they grow as athletes but they also grew as people.  In an age when style gets more attention than substance, Coach Summitt shined.  The Lady Vols were known for their tenacious defense and rebounding.  Coach Summitt created leaders:  women who are self-confident, but not arrogant; women who are not afraid to put in the work to accomplish their goals; women who stick to the values no matter what.  These are traits that we can all use in life.  Coach Summitt famously said, “you may not always be the most talented player, but you can always be the most competitive,” this rings true for us is the corporate world as well.  Even though she was a basketball coach, we have learned things that we can do in business to bring a Pat Summitt type of tenaciousness each day in our corporate lives:

1.  Commit to the being the best

• Give 100% on each assignment—Hard work does not require skill or talent

• Be passionate about what you do…you must love your work, to give it your all.

2.      Be on the Ball

•Return emails and phone calls within 24 hours.  This sounds simple but is so hard to actually do so many people fall short of this goal

• Returning phone calls and being timely shows your internal and external clients that you care and that they are a priority

3.   Have a playbook

Develop a persistent business development calling plan

•  You cannot win in business if you do not have game plan.  Just as a team has plays, you need a plan

• Develop actionable, measurable, goals and tasks for yourself.  Know what a does a win look like for you.

4. Be a good teammate.

• Good manners never go out of style

• Volunteer to pitch in and help (even if it’s “not your job”)

• Provide praise in the same manner you provide constructive feedback

• Be firm but fair, one is useless without the other

5.  Cheer People On 

• Provide feedback when people get it right or do something great

• Give the praise publicly, not just privately

If you execute on these 5 things, dare we say that each of you can be the Pat Summitt of your industry

Rest in Heaven Coach Summitt and Hustle on, Homies!!