When you were filling out your bracket two weeks ago, it was probably one of the more intense processes of the week. I mean, it’s March Madness. Anything can, and always does, happen.

When I was filling out my brackets — for entertainment purposes only, of course — I gave extensive consideration to every team. I didn’t pick teams based on the color of their jerseys or how fierce their mascot was; no, I considered each team’s makeup, what made them who they are. Naturally, I picked my alma mater, Michigan State, to win the whole thing.

While pining over whether to pick the favorite or underdog, I had an epiphany: The NCAA Tournament is a little bit like the HVAC industry. OK, go ahead, finish your belly laugh, but don’t fold up the magazine. Stay with me here. I know this sounds a bit preposterous, but perhaps your team has something to gain from the efforts required to earn March Madness success.

Play Strong

One of the greatest college coaches of all time, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, is clutch — especially come March — because he develops a game plan on the fly better than most. He knows to utilize his team’s strengths in crunch time.

Does your company rise to the occasion? No matter how big or small your company is — whether you’re more like the top-ranked Florida Gators or the play-in Mount Saint Mary Knights — if you’re not playing to your strengths, you’re not going to have success. Specialty services can help you overcome any disadvantages. There’s nothing wrong with being the geothermal specialist, just like there is nothing wrong with being the 3-point specialist; fully rely on your strengths to beat the competition.

Never Give Up

Everyone loves an underdog. This year’s tournament was not without a few great upsets. Despite their deficiencies, these teams never gave up. Does this sound familiar? No matter how small your company is, if you have buy-in, anything is possible. Really, it is. I recently attended the 2014 ACCA Conference, where contractor after contractor talked about the importance of building a cohesive team. Once you’ve assembled a team built on trust and determination, everything comes easier.

Smaller HVAC contractors are often at a disadvantage when it comes to competing against bigger contractors. But, through hard work and determination, they can pull the upset in a customer’s home. Yes, some homeowners are going to go with the lower price. But, if they get in the house and rudely rush through their repair, they’ll likely not get a call back. Often times, personality and friendliness are the key to building a long-lasting personal relationship. Think of it as recruiting. The more you get to know that homeowner, the more time you put in, the more likely it is they’ll have a hard time saying no to you and your team.

No 'I' in Team

Michael Jordan was a great player, but under the leadership and coaching of Phil Jackson, the Bulls rose to a different level. Jordan is now considered one of the greatest players of all time, and Jackson is recognized among the coaching greats. Championship success never occurs without great coaching. It just doesn’t happen. A great coach remains composed in the face of adversity, is always teaching and improving his roster, and can bring his team together in an instant. Are you that type of boss? Are you getting the most out of your employees? The best coaches and leaders always raise their players up. I know I’d rather have a team of overachievers than a team of underachievers any day. Think about what you can do to help your team overachieve.

A week from now, we’ll have a national champion, and 67 teams will have failed to win the title. But guess what? It’s not over. It never is. Just like in sports, you can always get better in HVAC. Recruit better team players. Recruit more customers. Never give up on your dream or what you want to accomplish. If you have a setback, get right back up and try again. Don’t let anything stand in your way of getting what you want. Learn from the past, look to the future, and find ways to get better.

Publication date: 3/31/2014

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