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Beating the Odds

What the NFL Draft Can Teach You

This week the biggest game in town is the 2011 Mock NFL Draft. Teams are getting ready for the real event, Thursday at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Everyone wants to do well at the draft table. But not everyone does. Why? I remember an article that linked success in the business world with success in sports fantasy leagues. I can’t find the article right now (if you know of one, please let me know), but it doesn’t surprise me that success in one world is linked to success in another.

It comes down to habits. Successful people have successful habits, as explained in Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Successful People.” Here are some qualities that can help you, no matter what game you’re playing.

Organization. I remember making a poor pick in a Rotisserie baseball draft because the name I needed was not filed where it was supposed to be. I couldn’t find it, and made another pick. This hurt in two ways. First, I missed out on what would have been a great pick. Second, when I realized my mistake, it distracted me and kept me from focusing properly on the rest of the draft.

Thoroughness. How extensive has your research been? Have you checked all resources? People have told me about scouts who leave their games early because it’s rainy or cold. When they leave, they risk missing a chance to see a player. That one player could be the key to a future trade or draft.

Focus. Believe it or not, some people forget the object of the game, which is to find good players. They would rather prove how much they know by making an obscure pick. It’s OK to make an obscure pick if it’s the right pick.

Belief. In a world as complex as predicting future performance, you need principles to guide you. The best organizations develop principles and use them in day-to-day operations, whether it’s the draft or not.

So which teams will do the best in the 2011 NFL Draft? That’s easy. The same teams that have done well in past drafts. They are the ones who show the necessary qualities.

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Mike Tully speaks to sports, business and educational groups. He also works with coaches, athletes and teams to make their practice time more productive and efficient. He and Gary Pritchard are co-authors of “Ten Things Great Coaches Know.” To see Coach Tully and Coach Pritchard discuss “Seven Ways to Prepare for Adversity,” click here.


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