What a bizarre power this thing has over us.
Such a simple idea generates so much conversation.
The water cooler banter about the ideal selection slot prior to the draft. The subsequent strategery after you learn your draft location. The snake draft. The inevitability of some team drafting a player who tore his ACL the previous week… and then the endless ridicule and shame.
And, of course, the glory and frustration of rooting for a random sample of skill players irrespective of the actual game results for 16 weeks.
Why is this General Manager fantasy so popular?
It’s the illusion of control coupled with untrammeled (2 points for 11-letter word) competition that makes Fantasy Football so enjoyable. And with the NFL now firmly established as America’s Pastime, everyone is tuned in and turned on. The NFL is an instant conversation starter.
Most common question these days: “Who’s on yer team?”
Yer team? These guys don’t know you! You don’t talk to them. You may yell at the TV while they are playing, but that’s not a conversation. That’s annoying your wife.
Yer team? In years past you may have actively rooted for their demise.
Tom: I’m pumped. Rodgers fell to me at the 3rd pick.
Rob: I thought you hate the Packers?
Tom: Yeah, I hope GB gets swallowed by Lake Michigan.
Rob: Then why’d you pick their QB to root for all year?
Tom: Because he’ll give me 27.43 points each week.
Rob: Your league scores to the hundredth decimal?
Tom: I love Rodgers.
The illusion of love… and control.
The illusion of control exists on your job too. Consider it Fantasy Construction Management. It’s a lot like Fantasy Football.
In both you have the illusion of control. In football you pick your squad, determine starters, and keep an eye on the waiver wire. In Construction, you contract your subs, select the foremen (ideally) and make sure you have some bench strength in case the new roofing crew can’t deliver.
In neither case do you have much control. I mean, what percentage of the actual work do you witness in real-time?
You are relying on a relay-race of individuals to do the right thing. You hope your Superintendent is just that – Super. You hope he communicates well with the trade foremen. You hope the foreman is solely focused on your job and is communicating well with his crew. And then among that crew, you hope the true leader is keeping a watchful eye on the live action, making course-corrections in real-time and educating the individual workers.
If there is a break in that chain, it could be months before you recognize it.
Control… how much do you really have?
Sure, you can fire the sub and bring in a new team, but that power means little to the guy doing the actual work. You are too many levels removed. You are irrelevant to him.
The mason actually laying the brick, (say…. Pedro Hernandez) on your job is a lot like that QB you drafted (say… Aaron Rodgers).
You think you have control over both of them, but you’ve never spoken directly to either. Neither one really cares who you are. Other than performance, you don’t really care about them either.
If Rodgers or your mason Pedro got hit by a cement truck, you wouldn’t really care provided there was a reliable back-up who could perform at the same level or higher. These 2 humans, QB Rodgers and Mason Hernandez, are essentially Performance Commodities. You don’t care about them, you care about their performance. Other than that, they are replaceable.
And there’s the rub….
In Fantasy Football you have no control. You have the illusion of control. That’s why it’s called a Fantasy. You are fantasizing about being a GM of a fictional team with a clever pun of a name (Cassel Greyskull, Somewhere Over Dwayne Bowe, Forgetting Brandon Marshall), no salary cap concerns, and zero teamwork issues relating to chemistry and communication.
In Construction Management, the clever name is gone, the money concerns are real, and the chemistry and communication issues may be your biggest challenges to completing the job on-time and under-budget.
Whether you choose to play a real Construction Manager or a Fantasy Construction Manager is up to you.
How do you know if you are a Fantasy Construction Manager? Here are a few indicators….
If you don’t ever talk directly to the individuals actually doing the work, but are confident they know what you are looking for… you may be Fantasy Construction Manager.
If you are comfortable playing the professional game of Telephone (I tell the Superintendent, he tells the Concrete Foremen, the Foremen tells his 30 guys…. and it all gets done perfectly)…. you may be Fantasy Construction Manager.
If you lead Toolbox Talks (sign-ins required from everyone!) on critical Safety measures in English only, despite the obvious presence of individuals who do not speak English…. you may be Fantasy Construction Manager.
If you make every worker on the job watch a Safety Orientation video in English, despite the knowledge that many viewers do not speak English…. you may be Fantasy Construction Manager.
Construction Managers wishing to avoid operating in Fantasyland should consider the leadership example of Aaron Rodgers.
In last week’s Sunday Conversation on ESPN, Aaron Rodgers (league MVP, Super Bowl Champ) of the Green Bay Packers talked about the importance of a good memory… and leadership.
On the field his memory helps him recall defensive schemes he saw on film or in practice.
What about off the field?
“I like to let the guys know I care about them. I remember little things – birthdays, or kids’ names, or wifes’ names, or important facts about them. I think the chemistry on the team is so important. And to be able to have those personal relationships with those guys… I think is really important to our success.”
Sure, a good memory is helpful for those sorts of things. But Rodgers‘ behavior isn’t due to a good memory. It’s due to good leadership.
You don’t need a good memory to behave like Rodgers. A short pencil and some paper would work just as well.
To distinguish yourself from a Fantasy Construction Manager to simply a Construction Manager, the takeaway from MVP Aaron Rodgers is this: Personal Relationships are Really Important to Success.
Learn their name.
Ask them how they are doing.
Say “¿Qué tal?”
Listen for Safety concerns.
Find out why they are smiling.
Find out why they are grimacing.
Manage by walking around.
Lead by starting a conversation.
Leave Fantasy for the weekend.
Speak to the individuals on your job actually doing the work.
Bradley Hartmann is founder and el presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a Spanish language training firm focused on the construction industry. Here is Hartmann’s team… what do you think?
Categories: Jobsite Leadership