The Villanova Wildcats just won the National Championship on a buzzer beater. If you haven’t seen the play yet, here it is.
How did they do it? Execution.
Execution means putting a plan or a process into action. Each step leads to the next and, hopefully on to success. But miss any step or aspect of the plan and the whole thing falls apart because it wasn’t executed properly. Three primary aspects of proper execution for any team are practice, belief, and calmness.
1) Practice, Practice
The final play that won the game for Villanova had been rehearsed over and over at practice. Yes, sometimes you improvise and change on the fly, but this wasn’t one of those times. Instead, Villanova worked hard, nailed down all the details, and when the moment came, they were ready. And they won.
In business, if you try talking with a prospect and telling your story without any practice, you’ll likely stumble all over your words. A good message takes time to develop. Trust me; my company, KazSource, did not jump fully-formed out of the box. The story, the message, the ideas have grown as I talked about the company with others and wrote about it in articles, websites, emails, and so on. That was—and still is—my practice.
You can practice talking to prospects, clients or to the public by rehearsing statements on your own or by role-playing with associates or colleagues. And every time you talk to a prospect, you can use the encounter as more practice. Every test is a class, and every class is a test.
2) Believe in Yourself and Your Team
Practicing your skills is a good start, but if you do not believe in the play or the story or the idea, then best of luck in making it happen. If the point guard for Villanova didn’t believe his teammate could make the shot (you have to watch it again from another angle!) then that play wouldn’t have stood a chance. If the coach didn’t believe his teammates could run that play, then he probably wouldn’t have called it.
If you don’t believe in your message, your prospect won’t believe it, either. And your work won’t be any fun. It won’t be fulfilling. And you won’t have success. Whether you’re the owner of an established company or a new entrepreneur with dreams and not much else, you must believe in what you are doing. Villanova sure did! Here watch it again from yet another angle! It is incredible!
3) Remain Calm
Moments before Villanova hit that buzzer beater, the team they beat, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, hit a miraculous game-tying shot. The Tar Heel fans went crazy. Michael Jordan, the former player for North Carolina and greatest player ever, was throwing his fist in the air. Villanova had to be thinking “we just blew the lead and maybe the championship.”
Except they weren’t thinking that way, or at least they didn’t show it. They stayed calm and stayed grounded and went on to win. Business is no different; get distracted by bad news and you might lose an important opportunity.
In our business, we deal with life insurance cases that could take months (sometimes years) to close. The ups and downs are a constant. I’ve seen agents not be able to handle this roller coaster ride, but for me the ride is part of the fun. You will not win every game. Think about North Carolina, for example—they gave it their all and lost. But they, too, handled the roller coaster ride well; they were down ten points with five minutes to go, the game seemed over, but they found a way to tie it up with 4.7 seconds left. They can build on that.
Practice, believe in what you are doing, remain calm and you will give yourself a chance to have proper execution.