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Everything I Need to Know About Business I Learned from Roller Derby

Everything I Need to Know About Business I Learned from Roller Derby

by Frank Roche on June 28, 2010

in KnowHR

Roller derby may seem like a crash-em, smash-em sport, but it is actually rather strategic.  The mechanics are simple: 1 jammer and 4 blockers for each team.  Jammers try to score points, blockers try to prevent the opposing jammer from scoring.  But the strategy and communication involved is paramount.  Taking a number of competitive people and wrangling them into a functioning team is as hard as it sounds, but worth the effort when your team turns into a well-oiled derby machine.

From all of that, I’ve learned a number of things that apply equally well to business:

  • Make a plan before you go out on the track.
  • When your plans fail, be flexible.
  • Make your teammates look good.  When they look good, so do you.
  • Always be aware of where the competing team is.
  • Listen to your teammates’ ideas even if it might not be your approach.
  • The team with the best endurance wins.
  • Play offensively, not defensively.
  • Competition is not personal, and you shouldn’t make it that way.
  • Playing dirty only gets you put in the penalty box.
  • Ask for feedback about what you did right and what you need to improve.
  • Always work on learning new skills.
  • When you are learning, you will probably fall down a lot.
  • People make mistakes.   Let them know, and then drop it.
  • Don’t make excuses for your own mistakes.  Make the changes you need to.
  • Always tell your teammates when they did something awesome.
  • Your hits are most successful when you follow through.
  • Ask your teammates for help when you need it.
  • You rise and fall on the strength of ALL of your teammates’ efforts.
  • Listen to your coach.  She can see the whole track and has a broader view than you do.
  • Communication is the most important skill you can have.

Check out this photo for a real understanding of what playing with a good derby team is all about.  If you don’t have your mouth open telling your teammates something, or aren’t listening for them telling you something, you’re doing it wrong.

Derby fans: feel free to add more in comments if you have ideas!  And if you are not a derby fan, you should become one.  You might learn a lot about communication and strategy.

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