What does PR have to do with fantasy football? Ha! I knew you would say “nothing.” But that’s not accurate. As I’m preparing for the fantasy draft, I realize there are key elements that apply to building both a great fantasy team and a real-life PR team.
Depth: Yes, of course we’re all excited about who our first-round pick will be. We love (or hate) our draft position and hope our player is available when we’re on the clock. But I’m much more interested in preparing for rounds 5-8. I look for players that can contribute a solid game week in, week out. Consistent performance across the whole team is where championships are won.
At Coyne we help build team depth through a number of initiatives, including Coyne College, a training program for all levels of the organization encompassing every aspect of our profession; by encouraging staff members to attend PR seminars and industry-specific conferences (paid for by Coyne); by offering a tuition reimbursement program for continuing education; and grooming future leaders through our annual Intern Challenge, a real-world PR assignment that produces outstanding work and valuable experiences.
Sleepers: We all love finding a hidden gem on draft day that winds up producing throughout the season. Sleepers have potential, or talent that just hasn’t been utilized.
We can identify sleepers on our real-life team by fostering an inclusive learning environment. Invite all account levels to a brainstorm (and encourage full participation) – you’ll be happily surprised with what you find. Give team members insight into how you developed a program rather than just what the program entails. Ask junior staff what they think rather than always feeling the need to simply tell them what to do. One-way, top-down-only communication leads to missed opportunities to discover and develop talent. And it’s okay to ask a team member to reach beyond what even they think they can accomplish. If you give a sleeper a challenging assignment, they will rise to the occasion.
Think of the time you’ve spent finding sleepers for your fantasy team. Ask yourself if you’re as dedicated to finding real-life sleepers. If the answer is no, it’s not too late to change!
Waiver wire: Who you pick up during the fantasy season is often as important as your draft. For your real-life team, that means looking beyond your existing team for help. People who don’t work on your business day-to-day see things through a different lens and usually provide invaluable insight. While some may look at asking for help as a sign of weakness, I look at it as a sign of strength and self-confidence in realizing you may not have all the answers, or at the very least, are open to different points of view.
League Camaraderie: Yes, everyone wants to win their league, but you also want to enjoy the experience. If you can’t get along with the people in your league, why play? I’ve been a fantasy football commissioner for several years and do simple things like making sure draft day takes place in person, giving out season-long prizes and writing (sometimes amusing) weekly recaps to keep people engaged and feel a part of a community.
Professionally, people do their best work when they like the experience. While that’s obvious, it’s amazing how many stories we’ve all heard (or experienced) about bad bosses, low morale or poor work environments. At our agency, we pride ourselves for being the best place to work. It’s not a slogan, it’s an approach to our policies, our work environment and how we treat others. It leads to increased job satisfaction, better quality of work and happy clients!
Here’s hoping you draft a great team in both fantasy and reality. I know who I want on both teams. Do you?