March Sadness: Why focusing on just one area doesn’t work in Business or the NCAA Tournament

March Sadness: Why focusing on just one area doesn’t work in Business or the NCAA Tournament

I waited until the last minute to fill out my bracket last night and was convinced I stumbled onto a gold mine. By no means was it rocket science but it magically started to unfold in front of me. Below is a play-by-play of that experience and how my approach was ultimately in alignment with so many business owners and the issues that arise when you focus on just one area.

It’s 9:35pm on Wednesday the 16th and the 77th running of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is less than 12 hours away. I can honestly say I have not watched a single college basketball game in its entirety this season. Needless to say, I completely ignore these facts as I scramble to complete my bracket and place my bet before midnight. How hard can it be? I know the sport, will pick an educated strategy and roll the dice.

So what’s the strategy?


Bottom line you have to score to win. Sure they say defense wins championships, but players are getting bigger and the game is getting faster. The best players in the Nation play for the top schools and do for them what they do best; score. This makes filling out my bracket fairly easy. I simply need a snap shot of each matchup, which CBS Sports so generously provides, and one stat line, PPG (Points Per Game). Ignoring all tournament seeds and season rankings, I fill out my bracket in its entirety selecting the team who has averaged the most points per game during the regular season in every matchup.

I won’t bore you with the outcome of all 63 games, but will give you the Elite Eight down to the Championship. You will quickly see why I thought I had this figured out.

Elite Eight

#1 Kansas vs. #6 Arizona

#1 North Carolina vs. #2 Xavier

#4 Iowa State vs. #2 Michigan State

#4 Duke vs. #14 Green Bay

Final Four

#1 Kansas vs. #1 North Carolina

#4 Iowa State vs. #14 Green Bay


#4 North Carolina vs. #14 Green Bay


Drum roll please…Your 2016 NCAA March Madness Champion is…



I imagine you are asking yourself who the Green Bay Phoenix are. Yup, that’s the exact response I had as well. And just like that my house of cards came crumbling down. Time will only tell, and sure there is an outside chance that any team can win this tournament, but if we look back at history this just won’t happen.

The strategy I had chosen was simply that, just a strategy. Sure my thought process made sense and I was able to justify it, but at the end of the day scoring is just one part of a very complicated game. Some would argue it is the most important part, say like sales in a business, but if you focus on just sales, you won’t be successful.

My bracket was playing out in a way that had me believing in something that was not sustainable. It looked good, felt good and in the end had some of the best teams where they should be. But nobody remembers second place in the NCAA Tournament and certainly not the top 8. My strategy got the ball rolling, helped me to complete my bracket, but in the end I was only fooling myself.

And this is where it connects back to the business. Focusing on only one aspect of the business is something I see too often. People tend to be really good in one area and have trouble looking outside of it. Without a doubt we want to maximize our strengths, but to be good at one thing is just too dangerous. This is both relevant internally and also for those who depend on revenues from one major client.

There are no shortcuts to mastering this tournament and there are certainly no shortcuts in the game of business. While we can only focus on one area of a company at a time, it is imperative to look at every aspect and turn over all stones.

Being great in one are area of your business is no different then having one of the Nation’s top PPG averages in College Basketball. It looks great on paper but you’ll never take home the hardware.

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