I've been mesmerized by March Madness since it began and analyzing the coaches and their leadership and motivational styles to see who does what and how he does it.
I researched the backgrounds of each and come up with lessons I've gleaned from each (that I think could help you be a better leader).
So, let's start with the opening tip-off:
1.) Frank Martin, USC Gamecocks. The Drill Sergeant. This Cuban-American success story worked at myriad jobs before landing his first head coaching position. One of those gigs was as a bouncer at a local bar. When I watch Martin coach and his team play, I think of bouncers.
He's a coach you don't want to mess with. He may not outsmart you. but, he'll outshout and outpunch you until his team simply wears down your squad. The Duke game was a classic example. Duke was the far superior team, but Martin's bouncers physically beat-up on the Duke All-Americans and won going away.
Jack Welch was that type of leader. He'd wouldn't hesitate to scream at his lieutenants as they presented their annual business plans.
And, Steve Jobs was notorious for screaming and humiliating his top people in public settings. Some took it and rose to a higher level. Others left.
I wouldn't play for Martin.
2.) Roy Williams, UNC Tar Heels. Mr. Consistency. Williams has managed some of the most talented teams in the nation in the exact same way for 28 years. His resistance to change has often led critics to blame him for only winning the "Big One" twice.
Williams creates a plan and sticks with it. Period. And, since he recruits for one of the best basketball programs in the country, Williams routinely attracts the best talent. So, he believes he can win with any assortment of players if they just follow his plan.
When the going gets tough, though, Williams will rely on his experienced players (rather than calling on a hot-shot freshmen who can drain three-pointers from 40 feet out).
While his style works well in college, Williams' approach doesn't prepare his players well for the free-wheeling ups-and-downs and individuality of professional basketball (which is why so many have flamed out).
I'd liken Williams to a CEO who's content to just be among the top performers in his sector but never deviate from what's worked in the past. Most of the time, those CEOs and their companies find themselves disrupted, displaced and, in some cases, relegated to the corporate graveyard. Yahoo's about to go that way, and Volkswagen just might be the UNC of the automotive industry.
I wouldn't play for Williams.
3.) Mark Few, Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Loyalist. Since 1990 Few's turned down countless offers from bigger name schools to stay at tiny Gonzaga. Since then, he's created an absolute juggernaut that routinely dominates its league, almost always earns an NCAA bid, and has made it as far as the Regional Finals and the Sweet Sixteen.
Few's success is based upon staying loyal to his school and his players. In an era when freshman and sophomore superstars routinely jump to the NBA for lucrative contracts, Few's players stay all four years. As a result, there's a consistency Few's teams bring to the Big Dance that no other school can emulate. And experience trumps talent, most of the time.
I'd liken Few to the great leaders who have found their home, put down roots, demonstrated a loyalty and commitment to people willing to do the same and, together, built a great organization. Like Tony Tsieh at Zappos. And that's what I've done during my 21 years at the helm of Peppercomm.
I'd play for Few.
4.) Dana Altman, Oregon Ducks. The Perfectionist. Altman's style and work ethic is to practice and practice and practice until his players have perfected a move, a play or a new defensive scheme.
He commands respect of his players by staying right alongside them as they rehearse a give-and-go hundreds of times. Players who miss class get extra sprints (nice to see a coach who also cares about his kids' academic performance).
Few turns his players loose- they have complete freedom to improvise and innovate when they are so inspired. He also happens to recruit extra tall players (AKA "Bigs" in the college basketball world.)
Altman is like the CEO who insists on his organization be driven by Six Sigma quality yet encourages an entrepreneurial mindset; such as Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg.
I'd play for Altman.
Based upon my profiles, I'm going with the underdog Oregon Ducks to win it all. That said, I also picked the Mets and Jets to win their respective championships this past year, so I wouldn't go to the bank with my predictions if I were you.