What professionals can learn from fantasy football

Tuesday, October 22 2013
What professionals can learn from fantasy football

It's almost impossible to walk into an office these days without hearing someone talk about fantasy football. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, there are 24.3 million fantasy football players in the United States. 

Additionally, many people participate in the activity at work. In 2012, the Denver Post reported that Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement company, estimated that fantasy football costs "employers $6.5 billion in lost productivity."

Workers should try to make up for those losses by improving their daily performance and becoming stronger contributors. In fact, the skills used in fantasy football can help professionals achieve those objectives. 

You have to talk
Fantasy football seasons aren't won or lost during the draft as trades can affect how successful teams are as the year unfolds. However, it can be difficult to get a deal done when you're just sending offers to someone with a short message. In some cases, you have to talk on the phone and explain why you think it's fair to exchange one player for another. 

The same holds true in the corporate world. Clients might not be receptive to a deal when you're just sending emails with the terms. In-person discussions are an essential part in business communications so you need to find a way to facilitate conversations with remote parties. Video conferencing technology is likely the best resource for this as it ensures that you can speak with almost anyone. 

Look beyond the hype
Drafting in fantasy football is difficult because of the hype surrounding superstar players. In the later rounds, it's important to find sleeper picks who will surprise the rest of the league and lead your team to victory. 

Forbes points out that Jim Collins, a best-selling author and business consultant, believes in the philosophy of having the right people on your staff. To that end, you should search for workers who might not have the flashiest resumes, but have a great deal of potential. These candidates can be strong additions to your team and may be ready to ascend to leadership positions some day. 

Numbers never lie
Fantasy football is all about numbers. Team owners focus on stats because they translate to points, which lead to victories. Intangibles like toughness and heart that are important in real life football don't mean anything in fantasy. All that matters is how well players do statistically. 

This is an approach that many professionals, especially upper-level managers, should take when it comes to business.

Most decision should be driven by metrics, specifically your finances. You should always be looking for ways to slash overhead and improve ROI to improve your company's fiscal health. 

There's always risks
You're always in danger of losing everything in fantasy football. Even if you had a great draft and made some solid trades, an injured player and a suspension could torpedo your whole season. 

There are external forces that can affect your business as well. Kanye West once rapped that "whatever comes first, I'm prepared for the worst," and that's the kind of attitude you need in the corporate realm.