What Managers Can Learn from March Madness

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This article originally appeared in Harvard Business Review on March 17, 2011

No matter how much you know about college basketball, filling out March Madness brackets is a challenging exercise. That’s because the key variable in a team’s prospects isn’t just its skill level, but its region and seeding — its position in the brackets — that determine its odds of advancing toward the championship.

Business leaders face a similar challenge: success isn’t just a function of the strength of your organization, but the competitors against whom you’re matched. Unfortunately, many managers misunderstand their competitive set, and that leads to strategic mistakes.


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