March Madness

6 Steps to add more Collegiate Pride into your Work Place

Why do we have nostalgia for our good ol’ collegiate days?   

Certainly we are familiar with those emotions that drive us to bumper sticker our car, throw on our old college sweatshirt, and unabashedly cheer for our team like we were 19 again. 

I don’t think it’s due to all those library hours during finals or our roommate’s questionable hygiene. Nor is it because our metabolisms could handle that 1 a.m. pepperoni pizza and high octane Mountain Dew. Oh, the stories we all could tell…

I recently spent a week looking for that college spirit as I was touring colleges with my high school junior. We, along with many other parents, have started the process of deciding how she will spend her post high school days, and where we will send our tuition checks.  Gulp.

Despite the Northeast’s balmy weather (sarcasm noted), the trip was inspiring on several levels, as I witnessed my daughter’s shift from big decision worry to the anticipated joy of independence. 

As a business leadership coach and motivational speaker, I commonly work with leaders and teams who fight unhealthy inter-office competitiveness and success- limiting doubt or worry.  Many believe these feelings are a natural part of corporate America.

But I don’t believe negative feelings need to be the norm at the workplace—or anywhere, for that matter. In fact, our college road trip reinforced this notion, and illustrated why so many of us long for college’s culture of possibility.

So, minus the 3 p.m. naps, beer pong, and wearing sweatpants to meetings, here are 6 ways you can bring some college spirit to your work place.


I asked each student ambassador: “With so much information online or through guide books, what do think prospective students need live to truly understand your school?”  Each one answered: the strength of community. 

They each spoke about a community that promotes collaboration and togetherness—one that is competitive, but not competitive against each other. They understand that the real competition is outside their university. Just like it should be at work. 


Presidents, professors, and administrators are the executives, directors, and managers at our colleges and universities.  They understand their success is driven by their students’ success.  They, along with the students we met, cited the value of open hours access to ask a question, work through a problem and/or be challenged.


I was pleasantly surprised with the philanthropic approach by the universities, clubs, and students. Whether locally or globally, giving back to communities provides students and employees a connection to their work.   


Campuses are fun places to be. Yes, there’s stress, especially during your first semester, exams, and final year campus recruiting.  But there’s also laughter and multiple ways to participate in shaping the culture.  Work doesn’t need to be all “nose to the grindstone” and absent of fun and laughter.  Well, unless you work at a gulag.


Every institution stressed their approach for developing the next generation of leaders who will inspire, motivate, and change lives.  I contrast that with a recent conversation with a fellow executive who worrisomely told me that her company only has time to teach their managers how to manage process.

Many companies want to be learning organizations; however, daily tasks present leaders with difficult choices. Focusing on the daily to-do list may be wise, but if there’s no time for leadership growth and development your competition will pass you by and/or your stars will seek excellence elsewhere. 


We are two weeks away from the greatest post-season sporting event of the year, March Madness.  Why do we spend so much energy analytically building our bracket(s), super gluing ourselves to the TV, and boastfully proclaiming our ability to predict upsets?  

Yes, March Madness is about sports. It’s about money. For some, it’s about a break from work.

 But it’s really about belief.  And that belief creates energy.   

  • Belief that we can predict the unpredictable
  • Belief that regardless of size, title, conference, or status that everyone has a shot
  • Belief that someone will beat Kentucky

What could happen at work if you and your team captured just 50% of that energy?

If you are looking for ways to weave more pride, engagement, and even a little Madness into your culture, I can help you build your bracket. 

But don’t sit back and hope.  Let’s Go!