Last Sunday, Diane Stafford’s column in the Kansas City Star discussed the role of “Synergists,” as described by Lee McKeown, within teams. Synergists bring together team members with varied perspectives, pull the talents together collaboratively, and make things happen within business teams. Lee McKeown noted that from his experience, there are few natural synergists. Most people need to grow into the collaborative skills synergists employ.

March Madness Point GuardSince we’re in the midst of March Madness, Diane Stafford’s column about synergists made me think about basketball point guards. As with synergists, basketball point guards play vital roles in pulling basketball teams together and making things happen, especially during March Madness basketball games.

Across all the March Madness basketball games, there will be ample opportunities to see the best college point guards in action. As you watch March Madness basketball games, look for these comparisons between outstanding point guards and business team members who excel at making things happen within business teams.

Nine Common Characteristics Shared by Outstanding Point Guards and Business Team Leaders

These nine characteristics are important for both point guards and synergists to display:

1. An unselfish, team-oriented mentality requiring stepping back or stepping up (whichever is appropriate) to make the whole team most successful.

2. Multi-dimensional skills and versatility - not just being okay at several skills, but being an outstanding performer in multiple important areas for success.

3. Dependability and an ability to build trust among team members through consistent outstanding performance and a focus on making the whole team work well together.

4. Enabling teammates to be more productive by knowing how their individual and collective strengths will create wins.

5. Leadership among both peers and organizational leaders by being on strategy even while looking for new opportunities to exploit when modifying the strategy makes sense.

6. Efficiency and effectiveness as a communicator among the team and its leaders so there are no detrimental surprises.

7. Command of situations a team faces through understanding team member roles, emerging opportunities, environmental and resource variables, and the team’s past performance history.

8. A talent for real-time analysis and being a “scenario implementer,” creating success by connecting current activities to scenarios the team has rehearsed.

9. Poise and a tremendous work ethic to lead by example and help appropriately balance successes and failures the team will experience.

What do you think? Are you a point guard on your business teams? Do you work with an outstanding business point guard? What characteristics do they display that let them excel?

It's Not Just March Madness that Has Us Thinking About This

Beyond March Madness, we’ve been thinking about this a lot because these skills are absolutely vital in successfully implementing the type of collaborative, multi-functional strategic plans we help organizations develop. It’s becoming clearer that unless business leaders display these nine skills outstanding basketball point guards must possess, they are going to struggle in successfully implementing collaboratively, even with collaboratively-developed strategic plans.

Look for more on this topic here - well after March Madness is over - as we take on helping managers better learn and use these skills. - Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.