This article probably should have been my first at Fantasy Assembly because it explains why I write about psychology as it relates to fantasy baseball. A couple months tardy, but its importance still remains.
I write about behavioral strategy and psychology as they relate to fantasy baseball to help us (humans) be more successful fantasy baseball players. The assumption here is that understanding behavioral strategy and psychology can help us be better fantasy baseball players. You have heard me declare or will hear me declare the importance of testing our assumptions, so let us test mine.
Assumption: An understanding of behavioral strategy and psychology can help us be better at fantasy baseball.
Finding: By understanding how psychological factors relate to fantasy baseball, we can improve our decision making process, and thus make better decisions.
An improved decision making process is a large benefit to fantasy baseball owners, larger than most of us would probably expect. I am not saying anything new when I say that success in fantasy baseball is the result of the decisions we make. The reason I bring this up is because the process of decision making is one of the pillars of successful decision making, and it is also the most overlooked in the fantasy baseball world. We can breakdown decision making into the following equation:
Results = Analysis + Decision Maker + Process
The decision maker is you (unless you are outsourcing), so there is not much to discuss there, but we are all very familiar with analysis. In fact, analysis has been the golden child of the fantasy baseball world since our game’s creation, and rightfully so. Improved analysis has led us from baseball card stats and newspaper box scores to much more predictive statistics. Now, in the golden age of analysis, we have more predictive information at our fingertips than we had ever hoped for, which has made us better decision makers than ever before. Even with all this great info and analysis, we all still make subpar decisions, and it is here that the impact of process shows. Do not just take my word for it; take it from Dan Lovallo, Professor of Business Strategy at the University of Sydney, and McKinsey Quarterly’s Oliver Sibony:
“Our research indicates that, contrary to what one might assume, good analysis in the hands of managers who have good judgment won’t naturally yield good decisions. The third ingredient—the process—is also crucial.” (The case for behavioral psychology)
This is hugely important and is why I write about behavioral strategy. Defined as “a style of strategic decision making that incorporates the lessons of psychology,” behavioral strategy is our best bet at improving that crucial third ingredient of decision making, the process. How so? By removing biases, incorporating human nature, and correcting for predictable irrationality, behavioral strategy allows us to collect and analyze through a more objective scope, while allowing us to make less subjective, more rational, and ultimately better decisions. Sounds great, right? Sure does, and the actual results of an improved strategic decision making process are even better. Allow me to throw it back to Lovallo and Sibony:
“After controlling for factors like industry, geography, and company size, we used regression analysis to calculate how much of the variance in decision outcomes was explained by the quality of the process and how much by the quantity and detail of the analysis. The answer: process mattered more than analysis—by a factor of six” (The case for behavioral psychology)
While Lovallo and Sibony found the importance of process quality in relation to strategic business decisions, I am venturing that this applies to strategic fantasy baseball decisions as well. Our ability to collect info, analyze data, and comprehend the analysis of others will only take us so far when it comes time to draft a player or pull the trigger on a trade. To further improve our strategic decisions we must now begin to consider behavioral and psychological phenomena as they impact our decision making process. Lovallo and Sibony note that this is difficult and often avoided because it forces us to analyze ourselves; however, the profits are well worth the effort. There is a tremendous amount of content out there on behavioral strategy, decision making, and of course psychology, much more than I could cover in fifty articles, let alone one. That said, you can check out my past articles, as well as my future content, as we continue on our quest to think more critically about fantasy baseball and consequently make better decisions.
- The impact of negative memories
- Advocacy effect
- On the importance of makeup
- Narrow decision making
- Confirmation bias, 1st impression bias, and impact of unknown information
Lovallo, Dan, and Oliver Sibony. “The Case for Behavioral Strategy.” mckinsey.com/insights/. McKinsey Quarterly, Mar. 2010. Web. 22 Jan. 2014.