March Madness...

Who made a difference in your life (besides your parents)?  As a mother of an elementary school child it is so evident the effect that teachers, coaches, and instructors have on our children’s lives on a daily basis.  I had a recent experience that I would like to share.  It’s especially relevant because it is the season for the Final Four NCAA Basketball Championships. We just finished up our version of the “final four” at our house.  

My 9 year old daughter started her basketball season in October and it just ended late March – a long season – but typical these days.  This was a new team for her; so, new team members, coaches, and plays.  You get the picture.  But, it was also a step-up in level of play, complication of plays and expectancy of each team members’ contribution.  She was now in the big leagues (sorta); and it can be intimidating.  She started out slow and then started getting her bounce.  Primarily, because a coach saw her potential and started working specifically with her.  His philosophy “execute successfully one play at a time”.  From that point forward, my daughter’s confidence started building one play at a time.

This is a lesson that we need to be reminded of each and every day in our business lives.  Who are we helping?  Are we encouraging and recognizing potential in our colleagues, partners and employees?  Are we approaching the opportunity to help someone in a planned, deliberate way?  Here’s some quick tips to help challenge ourselves to contribute to others growth and opportunity:

  • Leave your biases behind – really look at each team player individually and then within context based on evaluating the most potential in a skill set level that is currently needed.
  • Evaluate what is lacking and what is needed to help that team member turn a weakness into a strength that can contribute to the overall team.
  • Challenge ourselves to do what is good for the team member above all – while it’s good for the company – the person should take priority.  The people first rule always has good long-term karma.
  • Be willing to correct and call the person out when they do something wrong but offer solutions to correct the error/problem.  

So, make a decision to deliberately make a difference in someone’s life by taking interest, actively managing, teaching and mentoring.

My daughter’s team finished with 2 championships and a quarter final finish among 20 teams. The season’s results were not a mishap – the coaches led the girls to a strong March Madness finish executing successfully one play at a time.  Enjoy the final four championships coming up!


Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and Founder of the eRetailer Summit. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges.  Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands. 

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.