Drawing People Strategy Lessons from Football and Lacrosse

I have taught statistics for many years and have always found that everyday examples help to illustrate points better than technical jargon or equations with Greek symbols. I think the same might be true for thinking about people strategies–let’s see. It occurred to me recently that sports teams, specifically (American) football and lacrosse teams, are great examples of two very different people strategies that an organization might adopt.

While I won’t spend a lot of time discussing these two sports, it is important to note that they have certain similarities that make the comparison potentially more valid. For example, the teams are roughly the same sizes with 10 and 11 players on the field (when at full strength), they play four 15-minute quarters/periods, have fields that are roughly the same size, and are full-contact. The numbers back this insight. Let’s review and consider the data from a university not selected at random.

The following are data and a chart derived from the University of North Carolina’s 2023 football and lacrosse team rosters (weight is in pounds):