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As you’re taking in the energy of the court, don’t forget you could be gaining wisdom to take to the office the next morning.


The buzz and excitement of March Madness can be invigorating. As you’re taking in the energy of the court, don’t forget you could be gaining wisdom to take to the office the next morning. Legendary Coach Dean Smith and Dr. Gerald Bell found that basketball and business have a lot in common when it comes to great leadership. Here are three key components of both: Winning, Losing, and Practice. These are just a few nuggets from The New York Times Bestseller, The Carolina Way that might provide some food for thought on how to take lessons from the hardwood and apply them to your business.

1. Winning.

“Teaching players to focus on the process is the most effective way to produce victory. Smart business leaders focus on factors that produce winning rather than on winning itself. They don’t put their chief emphasis on quarterly per share earnings because to do so hurts their business….Managers who focus entirely on winning neglect the processes for performing well and run over their people, thus usually end up losing. Companies that declare, “Winning is all that counts,” often ruin their businesses.”

2. Losing.

“It’s an absolute necessity for a leader to be able to handle losing. The bigger a person’s job, the more losses he or she will have, and the more costly they will be. All businesspeople know how it feels to lose, whether it comes in the form of poor quarterly sales, introduction of a bad product, poor operating performance, losing to a competitor’s good work, or just bad luck. Good leaders don’t want to lose, and they work hard to avoid it. However, they are not afraid to fail. It pays to know how to lose well and to find the opportunity in every loss.”

3. Practice.

“Most businesses just go to work and then “play the game.” There’s little time for practice. Unfortunately there’s a price to be paid for that process because practice is where employees and their leaders learn how to improve, to work hard, together, and smart. The best companies still believe in practice. They train and develop their people so their people can improve the business. If your company is in the slow lane and thinks practice is a waste of time, you will have to get used to seeing your competitors sprint past you.”

The Carolina Way has been influencing leaders of all kinds for nearly 20 years. The timeless principles contained within the New York Times bestseller have led to many winning basketball seasons, successful businesses, and the building of some of the best leaders across the world through the training and coaching of Bell Leadership Institute.



Together, Coach Smith and Dr. Bell compiled their invaluable teachings to present the proven philosophy used by Dean Smith to coach a famously successful team, time and time again. This same philosophy can be applied by readers to the leadership and team-building challenges in their own lives. With business and leadership insights from Dr. Bell as well as “Player Perspectives” from former North Carolina basketball stars, each story and aspect of Coach Smith’s successful program is illustrated as a formula for living a life and leading a business with excellence and integrity.