I love fantasy football.
I started playing almost 15 years ago. I loved how I could select various players from different teams to generate a starting lineup. I loved that scores are based on the REAL stats produced by my lineup, and you win if your score is higher than your opponents for that week. I was immediately hooked. I loved tracking the statistics, and within a very short period of time I had a strong understanding of who were the high performing players in the NFL. Today, fantasy football is a multi-billion dollar industry.
But what would have happened if there were no statistics? What if no one kept track of receptions or yards gained. What if there were no touchdowns? What if there was no score? Would football exist? Would it still be fun to watch? Would the fantasy football industry even exist?
Sports are a great analogy to explain accountability in business. At my company, our culture defines accountability as being responsible for results. In sports, accountability starts with keeping score. How do you know who wins if no one is keeping score? Using football, as an example, the score determines who wins and who loses, and eventually, whoever wins the Super Bowl is deemed CHAMPION for the season.
Years ago, when football was first established, records or statistics weren’t as relevant. Today, statistics are such an important aspect to the sport that other industries have been created as a result of them. But why did the statistics become relevant, and why do they matter?
While the ultimate accountability in football is who wins and who loses the game, coaches quickly realized that they could create a competitive advantage by understanding other statistics that helped drive the ultimate result: a WIN. By studying certain statistics, they could learn who their best players were on the team. They could study the average yards a running back ran for each time they touched the ball. They could do the same with a receiver. Initially, statistics helped track how each player performed in any given game. This allowed the coach to understand HOW to put the best players on the field and put the team in a situation where they could consistently compete for the victory.
Over the years statistics have evolved from an individual player focus, to leveraging statistics to create ratios that would help the coach make critical decisions throughout the game. For example, they could understand with some certainty, the opportunity for a play to be successful based on the how the opponent is lined up and what yard line they are currently on. The past often depicts the future, and if you can capture specifics of the past, you can use that information to determine the potential outcome of any given situation. As a result, you can position yourself to be more accountable for the ultimate result your team is looking to achieve…the WIN!
While sporting and athletic events are entertaining to watch, I am fascinated by the accountability that lives within the various professional sport organizations, and how that can apply to business. I look at what is being done in football and baseball, and I see how much opportunity there is to be better at what we do, just by learning to be more accountable. We should measure and study the past and identify what we can do to be a better predictor of the future. A culture of accountability is proven to drive results. In business, we win when we grow revenue, increase profitability, and enhance the lives of those on the journey with us. We can all win more consistently, with ACCOUNTABILITY.