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Exit and Growth Strategies for Middle Market Businesses

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A Sense of Where You Are: Planning Your Business Future

By Sam Adams | Mar 12, 2013

basketballMarch Madness is upon us, and that means high-energy college basketball is everywhere.  The competition is fierce and features lots of rivalries. Games are intense: carefully-developed strategies and plays either unfold with precision or come flying apart on the court.  Players have to make split-second decisions and deal with how the set-up looks in the moment, not how it looked in practice.  If you are a business owner you have a good appreciation for that kind of competition and pressure—even if you’ve never picked up a basketball.  We can learn a thing or two from college ball if we think about the tension between planning and execution, between how we plan our business future and how we implement that plan on “game day”—which for most of us is every day.

One of the great books on college basketball is “A Sense of Where You Are” by John McPhee.  Published in 1965, it’s a profile of Bill Bradley and his incredible NCAA career at Princeton University.  It’s an in-depth look at Bradley, his gifts, his team and coaches, and their game style.  Bradley was a gold medalist in the ’64 Olympics and in his senior year led Princeton to Ivy and Eastern championships and a third-place finish in the NCAA.  His performance still shines in NCAA tournament history books, with a second in points-scored in 5 games (177) and a fifth in all-time points-per-game (35.4).  Did I forget to mention that he was also a Rhodes Scholar, played pro with the Knicks (including for 2 NBA championships), and was later a Senator and Presidential candidate?  Not bad.  Read more »