Oregon Basketball Can Teach You a Thing or Two About Business


Although Sunday’s 65-72 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers ended the Oregon Ducks post-season run, Mighty Oregon still took it to the hoop this year. 2015 marked the team’s third consecutive March Madness appearance. In addition to making it to post-season play for three years in a row, Oregon also made back-to-back appearances in the Big Dance in 2007-08 and 2002-03.

The Central Oregon business community could learn a thing or two from our beloved Ducks. Take a look:

Be Resilient
Head coach Dana Altman and his roster of 16 certainly know about working under pressure. No. 8 Oregon was slotted to finish eighth in the PAC-12 this season. That record certainly would not have clinched a spot in the NCAA tournament. The Ducks concluded the regular season winning nine out of 10 of their final matchups, and finished No. 2 in the PAC-12 behind Sean Miller’s Wildcats.

Despite predictions of a losing season, Oregon powered through the regular season to nab a spot in the NCAA tournament. If at times it’s seems like the odds are stacked against you and your business — or if you’ve recently experienced a PR nightmare — be resilient and persevere.

Paul LeBuffe, director Devereux Center for Resilient Children, told Fast Company that resilient people have a sense of purpose that helps them to analyze their current situations and plot out the next steps, rather than crumbling under the pressure. Successfully bouncing back from failure develops the ability to be optimistic about the future.

Be Eye-Catching
Oregon’s Matthew Knight Arena is home to one of the most unique courts in the NCAA. Tinker Hatfield, vice president of design and special projects for Nike, said, “We wanted to design the most iconic television presence possible for the University of Oregon by conjuring up a highly unique and visible basketball floor design,” and that’s exactly what they did. The court’s design, with its border of stenciled fir trees, was unveiled in 2010. The court garners attention from college basketball fans and represents the Oregon brand.

The court is eye-catching; let it be an example to you and your business. According to Skyword, online content that includes compelling images averages 94 percent more views than content without supplemental photos. Your business blog, website and social channels should all include compelling photos and images that correspond with your brand’s message. Online stock image resources can provide you with clear, compelling photos as well as videos to supplement your content.

Be Humble
Unfortunately, Oregon didn’t finish the season with a storybook ending. Although the Ducks won’t be able to cut down the net this year, the team showed grace and poise after their loss to Wisconsin. This is especially true for the recently crowned PAC-12 player of the year, Joseph Young. Last year Young returned to campus to lead the Ducks instead of declaring to play in the NBA. His leadership on and off the court inspired, and his teammates and coaches took note.

Assistant head coach Kevin McKenna told GoDucks.com, “In practice he’d huddle the guys up — ‘come on guys, let’s go,’ that type of thing. And to be honest, it wasn’t his nature going into the season.” Young’s leadership development throughout the 2014-2015 season can serve as a lesson to business leaders everywhere.

Generally, when we think about leaders, we think about character traits like charisma, strength and enthusiasm.

Young exhibited these traits on the court and backed it up by tying Terrell Brandon’s single season record with 745 points.

But despite holding the general characteristics of a good leader, Young also showed humility. He wasn’t a one-man show. Research published in Administrative Science Quarterly showed that managers and business leaders who demonstrated humility, like seeking feedback and focusing on the needs of others, had better job performance and better employee engagement. Be humble. It’s that simple.


About Author

Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. CascadeBusNews.com • CBN@CascadeBusNews.com

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