Secrets to Maintaining Focus and Productivity During March Madness

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Ideas and tips for helping employees maintain focus, productivity, and engagement at work, even in the midst of the hoops and hoopla of the NCAA tournament from the Kevin Eikenberry Group. Use March Madness as an opportunity to build rapport with team members.

Increased absenteeism due to Bracket Fever?

Is the office empty because team members are extending their lunches to watch games, or skipping out to watch their favorite teams?

With the NCAA tournament beginning this week, leadership and learning expert and author Kevin Eikenberry ( has some helpful suggestions warding off March Madness and positively channeling your employees’ enthusiasm for the NCAA tournament (
He recommends getting in the “GAME” with a four step approach to leading during March madness.

First, gauge the real level of interest. “Don’t assume that everyone is interested or distracted by March Madness,” Eikenberry notes. “Don’t overreact.” While some people may be interested in the tournament, many will not be. Allow this to help put any concerns into perspective.

Acknowledge the potential distraction. Eikenberry recommends sharing concerns about March Madness with staff. During the early years of Eikenberry’s career, his boss suggested/demanded that he stay away from work to watch his beloved Boilermakers in a first round NCAA Tournament Game. The game was in the morning so Eikenberry’s boss gave him a free pass to stay home until after the game. He also requested that Kevin keep him up-to-date with the score by calling in to the office at half-time and with the final scores. Eikenberry remembers being highly motivated to work after the freedom to enjoy the game.

Motivate employees by maintaining high expectations through this time. Help employees stay focused on work by being clear about (high) expectations despite March Madness. Consider creative approaches to keep the team motivated, including offering rewards (time off or long lunch) for meeting deadlines.

Enjoy the opportunity to connect with employees. The NCAA tournament creates the opportunity for leaders to connect with team members personally, Eikenberry says. Leaders can build rapport with their teams by allowing fun opportunities to watch tournament games together, compare brackets, or even have a friendly competition. This, of course, works best for basketball fans, also, but Eikenberry encourages even non-sports enthusiasts to look for ways to infuse fun into the workplace during March Madness.

Kevin Eikenberry is available for interviews about the topics of productivity, time management, and employee engagement during the NCAA Tournament. To schedule interviews, contact Becky Robinson via email (becky(at)kevineikenberry(dot)com) or by phone (773)401-5436. Read Kevin’s article on this topic here:

Kevin Eikenberry is world renowned leadership expert, a two-time bestselling author, speaker, consultant, trainer, coach, leader, and learner. He is the Chief Potential Officer of the Kevin Eikenberry Group.

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