Are you Drafting Your Fantasy Business Team?

Photo by Jayel Aheram via Flickr

Photo by Jayel Aheram via Flickr

In the last week, approximately 40 Million Americans drafted their Fantasy Football Teams.  The craze has grown into an industry with annual spending revenue projected to approach $1.7 billion this year by the Fantasy Sports Trade Assoc. I think it is safe to say this idea was a hit!

What if you could draft a Fantasy Business Team?

A number of our clients have been adding employees recently, in some cases they are filling open positions, and in others they are creating new positions in their growing company.   With my own fantasy football draft still fresh in my mind, it got me to thinking about using a fantasy team approach to help figure out who should be hired for these key positions.

Fantasy is what it is, it’s pretend, and it’s not real.   Conversely, when it comes to your business, it is 100% reality.   In business your company is on the line.  You can’t swap employees back and forth on weekly basis (I guess if you used temp agencies as a regular practice you could).   Certainly for management roles you are going to be hiring with hopes of long-term tenures.   The bottom line is the business of drafting employees for your company is serious business.

But if you could “draft” any person you wanted for an open position in your business who would it be?  What qualities would you look for?  How much experience do you want them to have?  Do you want a rookie with less experience, a lower salary, and lots of potential?  Do you want a seasoned veteran with lots of experience and has a track record of winning?  Those questions are the ones worth asking so you aren’t just hiring the first person that applies for the job. It needs to be a good match.

Drafting Rookies vs. Experienced Players

Every season in Fantasy Football there is always a few rookies that get drafted early.  They have usually performed well in college, but they have no track record they will succeed in the NFL.   You draft them not because of what they know, but because of how well you think they are going to perform on the team they will be playing on.   The same is true with business.  There is nothing wrong with going with someone who may lack experience in your specific industry if they are a  good fit with the culture of your company, as long as they are eager to learn and there is time built into the position to learn your company’s “play book”.

Experienced players on the other hand are expected to start every game.  When you draft them in fantasy football you are expecting them to produce week after week.   One of the risks with veterans is during their career they often have played on several teams.  Depending on the makeup of those previous teams their performance often varies.    In business when you hire experience, make sure the person is going to be a good fit with your company.   Look deeper than just the resume and make certain they are truly bringing more than just the basic skills you are seeking for the position.

In business, experienced professionals are expected to bring a lot of leadership skills, knowledge, and wisdom.  They can also bring lots of habits that may not fit into your business model or company culture.   Every year in fantasy football there are a number of experienced players who were drafted early and end up not even starting just a few weeks into the season.  It makes the drafting of that veteran player a bust.   When hiring a rookie is not an option, please do your research on the candidate before you “draft” him or her.  You’ll be glad you did.

Don’t be afraid to go after other team’s best players

Finally – when you’re looking to add a key players to your business team, don’t be afraid to go directly after someone if you identify them as a good fit for your company.  There is nothing unethical about making an offer to someone on another team.  The most valuable employees are the ones that are already employed.  As business owners we develop leaders.  Think about it, if you have an employee that has the opportunity to take a step up and he/she is ready, wouldn’t you want them to have that opportunity even if it wasn’t with your company?

Has your business been hiring lately?  What do you do to help ensure your picks are good for your team?   As always we love to hear your comments in the space below.

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach