How the Baylor Bears Won a National Championship With a Culture — and Coach — Committed to JOY

In the world of college men’s basketball, let alone any sport, players are in the game to win. The hours of practice, the dedication of skills, the coming together as a team — this is all to reach the pinnacle of success. This winning mindset is not unlike salespeople on a selling organization’s team looking to score deal after deal with buyers.

Yet, Scott Drew, the Baylor Bears men’s basketball coach, helped lead his team to the National Championship with a different focus and foundation: JOY.

As an alumnus of Baylor, a season-ticket holder and simply a fan of the program, I am wearing my green and gold glasses for sure, but I have also had an opportunity to witness the journey. So let’s take a closer look.

With a spirit of Seek to Serve, Not to Sell™, the Baylor Bears men’s basketball team focuses on serving others above the self, first and foremost. Not surprisingly with this commitment, heart and community, the team has realized success all the same — time after time.

‘Preparing Champions for Life’

When Drew came on as coach in 2003, like a good leader, he identified a need first and foremost for healing the program that had faced some past obstacles and failures. His introductory press conference set the tone and still permeates every message he shares today, all putting another stone in the foundation of an environment of optimism and cheerfulness with his team.

They put in the time together. They know each other’s pains, their strengths, their goals. Much as between salesperson and buyer, they build deep relationships of trust and interdependent value.

As guard Jared Butler says in the Baylor Magazine Spring 2021 Issue, “A culture of JOY is Jesus, Others and then Yourself. It’s a hierarchy of the way of thinking. For me, it’s the fact that I get to be here with this group of guys. It’s joy; it’s fun.”

Since Drew took leadership of the program in 2003, the team has secured a 21-9 postseason record, an NIT Tournament title, eight NCAA Tournament appearances, four Sweet 16 invites, two Elite Eight appearances, one Final Four appearance, the first No. 1 national ranking, a Big 12 conference title and now – the ultimate measure of excellence in the game – the first National Championship.

For not focusing on winning, Coach Drew and this team sure have been doing a lot of it.

In the Game of Selling

What does basketball have to do with sales? Quite a bit actually. Drew and the Baylor Bears men’s basketball team embody a culture all selling organizations can learn from and aspire to. The time and dedication they show each other off the court is just as important as their plays on the court. And their others-focused culture engineers an environment that does not force winning but rather nurtures it.

Like sports culture, the selling world gets bogged down in me-focused goals and short-term thinking. “We need to land that deal now.” “We need to sell our solution and meet this quota.” “We need to win, win, win.”

Yet, at the heart of selling pumps a buyer with a problem and the lifeblood of a seller who is dedicated to helping them overcome that problem to reach a goal. When you help your salespeople realize a deeper purpose, they in turn put in more heart, more time, more commitment to serve your buyers. And when you help your buyers win, you in turn win.

Monday night, my son and I got to share in the JOY as fans in the stands for the victory in the title game in Indianapolis. But I take much more than a trophy from the season and the game itself. The real lesson it teaches is that a culture of JOY personifies Seek to Serve by embracing the creation of value for others more than the value for oneself – and that is a victory for everyone!

Congratulations to Coach Drew and the entire Baylor Bears men’s basketball program for establishing the right foundation, having the right purpose and achieving the penultimate prize along the journey! Sic ’em Bears.

To learn more about the art and science of a Seek to Serve, Not to Sell culture, download our free eBook.

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