Month Of March Madness At Sunstone Comes Down To The Final Four

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Welcome back to The Sunstone Way.

Now it’s down to four. The Final Four.

For the last three weeks, I’ve chronicled the phenomenon we call March Madness. It’s been fun pointing out the parallels between the national college basketball tournament and our efforts here at Sunstone Management Inc.

I was able to talk about one of my all-time heroes, John Wooden, who coached UCLA to 10 titles with a life approach second to none, and still admired and followed today.

Drama ruled as we talked about Selection Sunday, when the “bubble” teams found out if they were dancing or not. It was clear that the hard work and preparation we try to emulate was the key to who was in, and who was out.

And who doesn’t love to root for the underdog? As the saying goes, it’s not the size of the dog that matters, but the size of the heart. We’re living proof that good things can come in small packages.

Talent Surfaces

One reason March Madness is so much fun is that it gives us a chance to root for the underdogs. Last year, Florida Atlantic’s run to the men’s Final Four kept basketball fans riveted to their television screens.

North Carolina State normally is overshadowed by its two high-flying neighbors, the Duke Blue Devils and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, who both have multiple NCAA titles. But this year, it’s N.C. State in the Final Four (as an 11 seed), after overcoming nemesis Duke in the Elite Eight.

All of the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds were still playing when the Sweet Sixteen started last weekend, and it’s no surprise that the University of Connecticut (UConn to fans) and Purdue are two of the Final Four. But there also is a No. 4, Alabama, and North Carolina State on the card in Phoenix.

This weekend, UConn will be gunning for back-to-back titles. All the “smart” money has them playing Purdue in the final, but first they have to get by Alabama and N.C. State, respectively, and both the Crimson Tide and the Wolfpack have shown their metal.

All four of these teams have histories of excellence. The players on all four teams have learned what it takes to win – talent and teamwork.

Now it’s time to see who’s the best at executing their plan for two more games.

Sustained Excellence

It is supremely difficult to win one national championship, so you can imagine how rare it is to win two in a row. Only seven teams have managed it in the 80 years the tournament has been played. Only one, UCLA under the legendary John Wooden, has done it more than once – the second time an amazing seven times in a row.

How do you sustain that level of excellence? Coach Wooden had a systematic approach, then adjusted that system to fit the talents he had.

That’s exactly what we are trying to do here at Sunstone. We believe we have what it takes to be a winner, we have coalesced into a team and we are developing an approach to reach our goals.

In The Moment

When you watch the Final Four games this weekend, and the championship game Monday (the women’s championship is Sunday), pay attention to how the coaches and teams adjust. Watch the changes in what they are trying to do on offense in response to the other team’s defense, and vice versa.

More often than not, the ultimate winner will be the one who makes the best adjustments – and is able to execute them. That is absolutely no different than the business world – heck, it’s no different than the world in general.

It’s my job here at Sunstone to watch for the trends and prepare my team to make the necessary adjustments. We’re facing some exciting challenges this month. We want to hoist our own version of the championship trophy, and we’re doing the work to make that happen, just as these amazing college athletes have done.

Because that’s The Sunstone Way.

And as always, be a Sunstone!

John Keisler

CEO & Managing Partner

Sunstone Management, Inc.

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©Sunstone Management, Inc. 2024

More About Sunstone Management
Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital sponsor firm headquartered in Southern California. Identified by Financial Times as one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row. In the latest Pitchbook rankings, Sunstone Management was #15 in the third quarter of 2023 nationally, and #18 in the fourth quarter.1

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