Dodgeball Business Lessons

“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!” Dodgeball was one of my favorite games as a kid. Picking up squishy red balls and throwing it at people, for whatever the reason, provided endless hours of fun. The game also offers consequential business lessons. Play too conservative, then you’re really not in the game. Too aggressive, you get nailed and lose. Dodgeball teaches the critical importance of strategic and tactical balance.

It’s important not to violate the 10 second rule. Don’t hold the ball for more than 10 seconds, otherwise the ball goes to the other team. In business, overthinking it substantively hurts the team. In your business decisions, take some time to plan accordingly (up to a point) then execute.

In order to play Dodgeball, here’s some general rules:

  1. Gather 3 or more people per team.
  2. Arrange 1 or more balls at center court.
  3. Set a 10 minute timer.
  4. Rush to the balls in center court when play begins.
  5. Try to dodge balls that the other team throws at you.
  6. Throw balls at the other players to get them out.

In order to “play business,” here’s some general rules:

  1. Gather: selectively hire staff that’s motivated, focused and ready to contribute.
  2. Arrange: spend time and money on technology to get the team ready.
  3. Set a timer: forecast implementation benchmarks for new ideas or services.
  4. Rush: work fast to deliver high-quality appraisal reports, don’t miss deadlines.
  5. Try to dodge: avoid the negative stuff in business, bad partners, lawsuits and debt.
  6. Throw balls: be relentless in hitting your KPIs (key performance indicators).

Dodgeball is a game of quickness. Thinking on your feet. There’s no time to stand still. Excellent business advice. Not impulsive irrational decisions, rather staying “in the zone” with decisive focus. With large red rubber balls coming at your face, you need to move. With structural changes in our commercial valuation industry, you need to move.

For commercial appraisers, I think the biggest lesson dodgeball teaches us is to stay optimistic, no matter what comes our way. Strategically make decisions to incorporate technology into your appraisal workflow. It’s not a one-time thing, it’s continual tweaking. Execute those plans with tactical precision. Sometimes we make the catch, sometimes we drop the ball. Are you in the game?