Taking the Madness out of March

Since I grew up in Spokane, Washington, my favorite pastime in March is watching the Gonzaga University basketball team advance in the NCAA tournament. Over the last decade or so, Gonzaga has earned a reputation as a small school that the traditional basketball powers fear.

Since Gonzaga University is a RightStar SDE customer, I visited the campus and caught up with an old high school friend, who is now Gonzaga’s director of public relations. He explained to me what it takes for a small Jesuit school to compete against perennial college powerhouses such as Duke, UNC, and UCLA. What can RightStar learn from a successful basketball program? Plenty. According to my friend, it’s all about the method and the mix. Below are several of Gonzaga’s keys to success and how we apply them at RightStar.

Continuity. Those close to the team point to continuity—Gonzaga’s coaches have been with the program for a combined 52 years—as the main reason for the Bulldogs’ run of twelve consecutive NCAA tournament berths. Continuity is also key to RightStar’s success, especially on the sales front. We have established customer relationships that go back many years. By contrast, other companies are constantly experiencing territory and sales rep turnover.

Mark Few, coach of the Gonzaga University basketball team


Methodology. It’s difficult for Gonzaga to attract the same caliber of recruits as other top basketball programs. As a result, it relies on a proven methodology to develop its players into something special. Gonzaga coach Mark Few depends on daily evaluations of the state of the program. Using statistical models, he posts grades for each player after every practice and for the team after every game.

Being the best company we can be starts with assessing where we are and what we need to modify to become even better. I plan to implement an After Action Review after every project RightStar completes, focusing on:

  1. What were our intended results?
  2. What were our actual results?
  3. What caused our results?
  4. What will we sustain or improve?

Family. One of Few’s methodologies is to make the team an extended family. Alumni are considered “guardians” of the program. Former players, like retired Utah Jazz guard John Stockton, remain close to the team as off-court supporters and on-court pickup game partners in the offseason.

My vision for RightStar is to treat employees with respect, fairness, kindness, and generosity. In that sense, I hope our staff members recognize each other as family and RightStar as a company that people like to work for. As I’ve said before, it’s okay to succeed alone, but never fail alone. We stand together as one united team.

Leon Rice, Gonzaga’s assistant coach summed it up this way: “We don’t go out and get thirteen all-Americans. We get the right guys for the right positions and the right mix for our team. And that’s what’s made us successful.”

At RightStar, we get the right consultants for the right projects with the right solutions. That’s what’s made RightStar successful on the IT Service Management court.

About dick1stark

I am the President and founder of RightStar, Inc, an XTIVIA company. RightStar is a leading ITSM and DevOps consultancy and BMC Software Elite Solution Provider and Atlassian Gold Partner. My passion is customer success—whether it’s reducing the cost of service management, improving overall efficiency, or increasing end-user or employee satisfaction. Since founding RightStar in 2003, RightStar has made the INC 5000 list four times. In 2011, RightStar was awarded the prestigious National Capital Business Ethics Award (NCBEA) by the Society of Financial Service Professionals based upon RightStar’s foundation of honesty, ethics, and integrity. And in 2014, RightStar was selected by Forrester Research as one of 13 North American companies profiled in its ITSM Consultancy Wave Report. In 2019, BMC selected RightStar as its DSM North American Partner of the Year for its sales and partnership excellence. Finally, in November 2020, RightStar was acquired by XTIVIA, an innovative IT Solutions Provider. Dick is a graduate of Stanford University and a Project Management Professional (PMP).
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