What I Learned About Business Playing Fantasy Football

by Sharlyn Lauby on February 4, 2010

I’m a big football fan.  My father taught me the rules of the game when I was a teenager.  He said that knowing football was a great way to meet guys.  (Thanks Dad!)

Over time, I’ve resisted the Fantasy Football craze but this year, I got sucked into signed up and played.  I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but surprisingly I did.  Not just because I like football and I’m extremely competitive, but Sundays became this ritual – Mr. Bartender and I would make something in the slow cooker and spend the afternoon watching football.  It was relaxing, fun and we were spending time together.

But some interesting things happened during the season, which reminded me that football is about business.  And as the season comes to a close, I wanted to share my learnings with you.

Know the goalVince Lombardi once said, “If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?”  The goal of football is to win.  Just like businesses have goals to help them win in the marketplace.  In football, if you win then you move on to the playoffs and (hopefully) Super Bowl.  In business, if you accomplish your goals then you “win” with profits/market share/customer satisfaction/etc.  It’s important to know your goals and stay focused on them.

Talent matters – Prior to Fantasy Football, I’ve never been one to follow player stats.  I always just enjoyed the game and that was it.  Well, when your points are awarded by the results of a player…all of a sudden, outcomes matter.  And since the goal in Fantasy Football is to win (see above), player performance became important.  Just like employee performance is important to the overall success of the team and company.

Assess Performance – Each week, I had to evaluate the performance of players and decide who would play for the following week.  I had to decide if I wanted to drop, add or trade players.  It’s similar to the daily interactions we have with employees.  Who’s doing great?  Who had an off week but we’re gonna give them another chance?  And, who needs to go?  We have to be constantly assessing the performance of our team to ensure we can meet our goals.

Think both short-term and long-term – Lucky for me, I didn’t have to make this call on my fantasy team but there was a week late in the season where the Indianapolis Colts rested some of their key players.  They were undefeated but they lost their game that week.  Their thought was, it would be better to lose a game, keep players healthy and ultimately end up in the Super Bowl than push for the perfect season.  In business, we have to keep this perspective as well and constantly monitor our risk.  Sometimes it’s better to pass on something for a greater gain in the long run.

Focus on the positive – Football players have to play when they’re injured.  They are away from their families. Sometimes the weather is crappy.  They knew when they signed on to be a professional football player this was the job.  And they do it because they like their job.  My guess is that most of us have parts of our job we don’t like.  The important thing is to focus on the parts we enjoy.

Whether you’re a huge fan of sports or not, there are some takeaways that activities like Fantasy Football can teach us.  Know the plan, work the plan, constantly evaluate the plan and focus on the positives.

P.S.  For those of you who might be wondering how I did in my first attempt at Fantasy Football…well, I lost a spot in the playoffs by one point.  Yes, one miserable rotten stinkin’ point.  So I will be doing this again next year.

Image courtesy of Photo Denbow

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Shennee February 4, 2010 at 6:29 am

Great HR comparisons within Football!
Love it!
Shennee

hr bartender February 4, 2010 at 7:31 am

Thanks for the kind words Shennee!

Joan Ginsberg February 4, 2010 at 8:41 am

I love that you mentioned your slow cooker (boomers – that’s me! – still call it a crock pot) and then link to an article that features an All-Clad, which is one of the four slow cookers that I own. DH and I are empty nesters, but I use a slow cooker now more than ever.

Congrats on your FOT placement, too!

hr bartender February 4, 2010 at 10:02 am

Thanks for the comment Joan! I use the terms slow cooker and crock pot interchangeably. We should find time to chat. It would be great to connect via phone. And, I’m in the market for a new crock pot. Need your advice! ;-)

Connie Costigan February 4, 2010 at 11:04 am

Sharlyn – great analogies in this post. Sorry about the one point loss in your pool, but congrats on your placement in the FOT blog ranks.

hr bartender February 4, 2010 at 11:42 am

Thanks Connie! It’s interesting the places you can gain business knowledge.

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