I hope you spent at least some of the weekend watching the NCAA Men’s or Women’s Basketball Tournament. The country seems to have a national obsession with brackets and as it turns out there was a lot of pretty compelling basketball behind the pools. By the way – I find it kind of amazing that as the sports leagues and organizations – MLB, NFL, and NCAA among others – got comfortable with the fan-generated activities such as fantasy and bracket pools the viewership and engagement of the public grew. The organizing entities spent a lot of time telling broadcasters and others to ignore those activities (heaven forbid we actually encourage engagement!) because they were gambling or worse. Good lesson on listening and not getting in the way of people who want to love your brand!
In any event, one thing I took away from this weekend was the power of positioning and how it can affect performance. What I mean by that is the “upsets” we saw as low seeded teams – presumably weaker squads – beat high seeds – top teams from big conferences. Then again, Gonzaga was a number 1 seed but came from a weaker conference and barely won their first game before getting “upset” by a #9 seed. A few of the other #1 seeds barely got by. Which is the business lesson.
So often we believe the seedings. We’re told our company isn’t good enough or we don’t have enough experience. The people who hire people or firms on that basis are believing the seedings that they divine from resumes or capabilities presentations. Too bad. Given the way business works these days there have been a lot more upsets than there have been results in line with the seedings. There is a lot more parity.
More importantly, not one of the teams that upset a top seed felt as if they had lost before the game started. Just the opposite. Every one of them knew there were in the tournament because they had won a lot more than they had lost. They believed in themselves and played as a team and not as the function of some mystical RPI equation. In their minds the seeding was going to be done by the final score.
Don’t believe the seeding. Sure, you or your firm might be the underdog, but you’re in the game for a reason. You with me?