March Madness is upon us. Employers look upon the NCAA® Tournament with mixed emotions. Some companies do not mind and even encourage office basketball pools. Other companies look to squash it, fearing productivity drains as employees focus on the game feeds streaming through their computers rather than on their work.
At Select International, we tend to embrace it. We show the games live on our big screen, projection HD TV in our comfy lounge during the day. And, we mark the occasion with some madness of our own. March Madness brings Cornhole Madness at Select International. Cornhole Madness is Select’s annual cornhole tournament.
Of course, being the conscientious, compliant-minded (and competitive) individuals we are, the official rules of the American Cornhole Association apply, which can be found here http://www.playcornhole.org
Further, being the test-minded, Industrial/Organizational Psychologists that we are, the NCAA® Basketball Tournament parallels with something near and dear to our heart. That is selection. See, it is work-related!
Selecting your bracket winners is akin to selecting successful employees. Relying upon the best gauge of success, that being past performance, you try to predict future performance. Thankfully, for the stat geeks among us, we have whole season of performance indicators to sift through.
Like all good selection processes, start with a Job Analysis. When you put together your winning bracket, do you look for a hot-shooting guard to drain three-point buckets? Do you seek out a team with a big man to dominant inside? How much does experience play a factor? Do you prefer a team laden with upperclassmen or is prior tournament experience more important? What about the experience of the coach? Has he led a team to the Final Four before? Is he the kind of transformational leader who can push the right buttons in a frenetic period of time to get the team to play at a championship level?
Similar to employee selection, no one will get it 100% correct. To pick the outcome of every game correctly is astronomically hard. And, if you could, you should be Las Vegas and not reading this I suspect. However, like with any employee selection process, there are things you can do reduce your risk of making a wrong selection.
To score, you need to possess the ball – preferably much more often than your opponent. So, you’ll want to select a team who takes care of the ball and creates turnovers. There is probably a good reason 88% of the teams invited to the “Big Dance” are in the top 16 in Assist to Turnover Ratio, and 75% are in the top 32. Next, once you have the ball, you obviously need to score. Offensive efficiency and good shot selection are critical. It also helps a lot if the team is adept at stopping the other team from scoring (defensive efficiency). Rebound margin is an important predictor too, because, again, it relates to ball possession. Retain the ball and create second chance scoring opportunities and keep your opponent from doing the same.
The strongest teams will be ranked near the top in all of the performance categories above. So, who fits that picture this year? Only 4 teams do: Michigan State, Kentucky, Wichita State, and Kansas. A close second are: North Carolina, Creighton, Ohio State, St. Mary’s, New Mexico, and Memphis.
Looking for a sleeper? Consider Belmont and California.
I’m not saying my bracket will look like this. But, I’m not saying it won’t.
In sum, proper selection demands that you choose your predictors wisely.
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