How did the underdogs get their bite in knocking off a stunning array of top-seeded teams in the NCAA college basketball championships? And what can aspiring business leaders learn from victories achieved against teams with far greater star power?
Jerry Rollins, CEO of Sage Executive Group in San Diego and a former professional hockey player, was struck by the initials “T.O.E.” imprinted on the jerseys of the little-known Manhattan College Jaspers when they almost defeated a nationally ranked University of Louisville team with several players bound for the NBA.
The initials stood for, “Team Over Everything.” In game after game, Mercer, North Dakota State, Dayton and Harvard “with less talented players beat much better athletes on the floor,” Rollins said.
It’s a lesson that can be applied to the business world.
“The best teams I ever had went up against bigger companies, had less capital, weren’t as highly educated or ‘articled,” but always seemed to win,” Rollins said.  “On a business team, checking egos at the door and playing a role rather than having five stars on the floor leads to better results.”
The smarts that a coach uses to win against seemingly stronger opponents can be used by a chief executive officer as well.
“Get a bunch of high-powered individuals to play well together and coexist in the sandbox,” Rollins said.
Sage Smart:  A blog of tips and lessons from Sage Executive Group