Angel Reese set social media afire, as well as the regular media, as well as most fans who watched the NCAA women’s national championship game, which Reese’s LSU Tigers won over the Iowa Hawkeyes, 102-85.

Reese taunted her opponent, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, as the clock wound down on LSU’s victory. With a 17-point lead, Reese followed Clark around the court as the seconds ticked down, showing Clark her ring finger where her national championship ring would go, and doing the John Cena, “You Can’t See Me,” gesture.

No, this isn’t going to rehash who was right or wrong, and who did what to who. This is about how you want your customers to think about you, and how those thoughts influence whether or not they’re going to do business with you.

When customers leave your establishment, what’s the one impression you want them to leave with? When a customer has an interaction with someone on your team, how do you want that customer to think about your colleague?

As the leader of your enterprise, whatever you’re producing, selling, or offering, have you given any thought to those two questions? OR….do you think they’ll take care of themselves, whatever the outcome may be?

Back to the basketball game. Let’s start with the fact that the LSU team, intentionally, did not come out of the locker room until after the National Anthem had been played. Their coach, Kim Mulkey, was actively instigating the officials most of the game, at one point literally grabbing and detaining a referee as action sprinted to the opposite end of the court. After the game, Mulkey justified Reese’s poor sportsmanship, and created some false justifications.

If you’re a recruit for the LSU women’s basketball program, how do you view those scenarios, and how does that influence your decision-making about where you might want to take your basketball skills and study for the next four years?

I’ve been coaching young ladies for 27 years, the last nine as the freshmen girls’ basketball coach at one of the most successful programs in the state of Pennsylvania. I talk to my players about how I expect our program to be thought of and how I want observers to think of them. And I talk about it often.

I talk to my players about, “this is how we behave, and this is what we WON’T do.” There’s a Sportsmanship Award given out every year to a boys’ team and to a girls’ team in our county. It’s worth thousands of dollars in scholarship money to the senior players on the winning team. It’s awarded from an endowed fund created by the family of a deceased referee from our league. At the end of the season, the referees in our league vote for one boys’ program and one girls’ program to earn the county sportsmanship award.

The key is ALL the referees vote on the award. Not just varsity referees. I coach Freshmen girls, and, over the years, I’ve had referees tell me that they’ve voted for our program specifically because of MY team.

I consistently talk to my team about how we’re going to act, win or lose.

  • I demand that my players compete harder than anyone they play against.
  • I demand that my players play together; selfish players sit next to me until they “figure it out.”
  • My players do not talk to referees in a derogatory manner, ever.
  • My players do not trash talk our opponents, even though our opponents often don’t hold to that standard.
  • We do not intentionally run up the score on anyone, even if it’s warranted.
  • We help our opponent up off the floor when they get knocked to the hardwood. This doesn’t mean we’re ‘soft.’ I repeatedly remind my players that basketball is a contact sport. Sometimes your opponent needs to be knocked on her butt. Help her up, anyway. Knock her down, again, if need be, and help her up again.

So, as the leader of my program, I am intentional about how I want my players (and myself) to conduct our business and how I want people to view our program.

Are you thoughtful and intentional about how you want customers to think about your enterprise? How are you implementing those thoughts? Do you have conversations with your team about the standards that you expect them to achieve, every day, in the operation of the business. Do you have your goals and objectives written down and displayed anywhere for colleagues to see daily? Do you talk about company culture, and how you expect your colleagues to treat each other?

The way that customers or clients think about your enterprise does not happen organically. It comes from leadership, and it must be intentional and thoughtful. The way your customers or clients think about your enterprise, and talk to others about it, ultimately will determine your success or failure. One bad review on social media can undermine all the hard work you’ve done to create a successful endeavor.

The Wizards of Ads, Rx team can guide you on your journey to a thriving company culture.

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