It’s All About Strategy: Leadership Lessons from the Fantasy Football Draft

Every year a dozen of us from CCL meet at a local sports bar and hold our fantasy football draft. For those of you who don’t know what fantasy football is, you can go here to find out more. And if you think fantasy football (and fantasy sports in general) is a fad or that only a small group of men play, according to it is a billion dollar industry, and females make up 25% of the market. It’s not just a passing fancy (pun intended).

There’s a lot you can learn from a fantasy football draft when it comes to leadership. Last year I learned about organizational politics. This year, it was strategy. When we “draft” players onto our team, there is a strategy involved. Some have very simple strategies (just pick the best player on the board), others more complex (depth charts, projections, what specific position should I pick in what round, what area is thin that I might need to grab earlier than normal). In the video I talk about the importance of strategy in fantasy football drafts, and I make the connection to how strategy is hugely important for leaders today.

Strategy has been something that CCL has really been talking about lately. For instance:

  • The research that we’ve done at CCL shows that time and time again, no matter what country a leader lives in, a strategic perspective is one of the top two leadership competencies that is needed in order to be a successful leader.
  • A recent CCL newsletter talked about what it takes to lead strategically. It is a great read and can give you insight into how to lead strategically, through leveraging polarities, spanning boundaries and shaping culture, among other things.
  • CCL’s program Leading Strategically is specifically geared for managers to enhance their strategic mindset. In the program, they will learn to effectively and efficiently prioritize, influence and make productive connections to implement strategy by using skills that involve thinking, acting, listening and influencing effectively.

So, for all the leaders out there, I wish you luck in becoming more strategic and growing and enhancing your strategic mindset. Use our blog and other resources and programs to help build and enhance your strategic perspective and mindset so that you can be the best leader for your followers and organization.

And, for you fantasy football players out there, I wish you luck this year too. And think about the others in my league who will feel my wrath as I go for back-to-back fantasy football championships. Yes, I won last year, mainly due to the successful strategy in my draft. The trophy looks good in my office! I had the 6th pick of 12 teams this year, and the team I drafted is here:

Because of the importance of strategic perspective to effective leadership, would you please share your ideas and comments about how you have become more strategic in your leadership? Share your thoughts and start the discussion to help our community of leaders be the best they can be. You never know, your piece of advice or insight may help a leader become their very best.


About Bill Gentry

William (Bill) is currently a Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and also an adjunct assistant professor at several colleges and universities. In applying his research into practice, Bill’s current focus is on helping leaders who are managing for the first time in their life. His research interests are in multisource (360) research, survey development and analysis, leadership and leadership development across cultures, leader character and integrity, mentoring, managerial derailment, multilevel measurement, and in the area of organizational politics and political skill in the workplace. He received a BA from Emory University and an MS and PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University of Georgia. Follow Bill on Twitter: Lead_Better
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3 Responses to It’s All About Strategy: Leadership Lessons from the Fantasy Football Draft

  1. Bill, nice take on strategy and fantasy football. The real challenge is when you play fantasy football and have a co-manager!! It can become a lesson in a conflict of strategies! :)

  2. Thanks for the comment – my next draft is coming up soon. Maybe I can talk about conflict like you said – big lesson people can learn about when visions may be different.

  3. Pingback: Feelings of First-Timers at Fantasy Football Same as Leading Others #1stTimeMgr | Leading Effectively: Official Blog of the Center for Creative LeadershipLeading Effectively: Official Blog of the Center for Creative Leadership

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