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The 8 Man Rotation – The 2011 Season

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We know that most sequels suck.

This is true with most movies, but it is especially true about sports movie sequels. As anyone who paid their hard-earned dollars to see Major League II, Slap Shot II: Breaking the Ice, or Caddyshack II knows, great art is hard to follow.

I know what you’re thinking. Does the world really need another collection of writings about Sports and HR? Wasn’t it beaten to death in the last edition?

Yet, here we are with the 2011 season - 45 more posts ripped from the screens of the HR Capitalist, Fistful of Talent,, the Tim Sackett Project, and True Faith HR. Its more points than Kobe or LeBron averaged, but fewer than the number of TDs Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, or Tom Brady threw.

And, the 2012 season is already looking bright…but, it’ll have to wait until next year.

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The 8 Man Rotation – The 2011 Season

  1. 1. The 8 Man Rotation –A Look at Sports and HRThe 2011 Seasonby Steve Boese, Kris Dunn,Lance Haun, Tim Sackett, &Matthew Stollak 1
  2. 2. The 8 Man Rotation – A Look at Sports and HRThe 2011 SeasonForeword by William Tincup and Trish McFarlaneIntroductionHR Planning and Strategy Is Your Company Better At Innovation if You Seek Patents or Simply Find the Next Tweak? – Kris Dunn you-seek-patents-or-simply-find-the-next-tweak.html Please Welcome Our new VP of Marketing. Yes, That’s Really Him…-Steve Boese vp-of-marketing-yes-thats-really-him.html Waiting for the Siren’s Call – Matt Stollak Reality – Matt Stollak Jerry Sloan: Another Great Example of Why Managerial Longevity Matters – Lance Haun managerial-longevity-matters/Staffing and Career Considerations Albert Pujols and the Art of the Counter-Offer: It All Comes Down to Replacement Cost for the Same Performance... – Kris Dunn counter-offer-it-all-comes-down-to-replacement-cost-for-the-same- pe.html Treat Your Candidates Well – Because They’re Going to Stick to You Like Kareem If You Don’t… - Kris Dunn going-to-stick-to-you-if-you-dont.html 2
  3. 3. Legalities? Here’s How References Work in the Real World… - Kris Dunn the-real-world.html Grading Talent the Big Tuna Way – Steve Boese way.html Big Tickets and High Stakes – Steve Boese Do You Remember What Unemployment Feels Like? – Tim Sackett Selection, Assessments, and the MLB – Tim Sackett and Development The Wisdom of Jeff Van Gundy – Part V – Steve Boese gundy-part-v.html If “Everyone” is Responsible, is Anyone Responsible? – Steve Boese responsible.html Are You A Coach in HR? – Tim Sackett 6 Ways LeBron James is Great at Team Building – Tim Sackett building/Performance and Talent Management Want Performance? Get Everyone Uncomfortable with a Mock Workplace Draft…-Kris Dunn uncomfortable-with-a-mock-workplace-draft.html Kris Dunn Just Scored a 47 on the Wonderlic Test!! – Kris Dunn wonderlic-test.html 3
  4. 4. 4
  5. 5. #FACT: Great Talent Runs Freaking Hot – Deal With It…-Kris Dunn Performing Average Talent: Don’t Screw Them… - Kris Dunn and the Art of Figuring Out if HR Leaders are Overpaid… – KrisDunn Al Davis: Here’s My Favorite HR Quote From the NFL Sith Lord – KrisDunn #1 in Life, Business and HR: Don’t Tempt Fate by Talking Smack – KrisDunn You’re Wrong About LeBron James – Steve Boese of Fame – Steve Boese Pressing and Basketball – Steve Boese You Really Need Superstar Talent? – Steve Boese Your Five Year Plan Out the Window – Lance Haun You Just Miss Your Shots – Lance Haun Gamification & Fantasy Football: Think They’re Related? You’d BeWrong – Lance Haun 5
  6. 6. theyre-related-youd-be-wrong/ Hire Slow, Fire Fast: Four Talent Selection Lessons From the NBA Draft – Lance Haun from-the-nba-draft/ 3 Things HR Pros Can Learn From “Moneyball” – Tim Sackett moneyball/ HR’s September Call Up – Tim Sackett Gangster – Matt Stollak Compensation Sharing the Wealth – NBA Style – Steve Boese style.html The NBA, where a 30% pay cut was the better option – Steve Boese was-the-better-option.htmlEmployee and Labor Relations Jim Tressel Would Make a Crappy HR Director…-Kris Dunn director.html The Mets and MLB Say No to 9/11 Hats Due to Funky Non-Solicitation Policy…- Kris Dunn to-funky-non-solicitation-policy.html The Jim Boeheim Rule: Leaders Should Never Attack an Alleged Victim’s Credibility…- Kris Dunn rule-leaders-should-never-attack-an-alleged-victims-credibility-.html 6
  7. 7. Dress Codes: Is Your Ban on Iverson Jersey and Stretch Pants More AboutControl Than the Customer? – Kris Dunn The Capitalist Says This Union Member Deserves Better Treatment FromManagement – Kris Dunn Branding MBA: Why Nobody Cares Whether YOU Like Your AlmaMater’s Football Uniforms… - Kris Dunn At Will: Why Coke People Won’t Get Caught Dead with Pepsi….– Kris Dunn Negotiations, Point Guards, and Genius Economists – Steve Boese Does Terminating an Employee Become A Reward? – Tim Sackett 7
  8. 8. ForewordSticks and BallsFor most people, sports... the doing and the talking about... is just as important toour culture as art. Loving sports is not about gender... meaning, guys are NOTmodern day cavemen because all they do is mainline ESPN and sports talk shows.IMHO, loving sports is about relating to our fellow men and women. For example,what team do you root for / against?See, I like dynasties... meaning, I root for dominance. I like Manchester United, theSteelers (re: 70s), the Cowboys (re: 90s), the Lakers (re: Magic) the Bulls (re:Jordan), the Yankees, Alabama college football, Tiger Woods (re: the waitresstapping Tiger), etc, etc, etc. That speaks volumes about me. Those that love sportsalready know how to classify me... good, bad or otherwise... Ive taken a position. Ican defend it and admire the position of others as well. Albeit anyone that disagreeswith me is a loser. Loser!What I love about the project that is “8 Man Rotation” is that my favorite writerswax philosophical about two of my favorite subjects: HR & sports. Like chocolateand peanut butter... separate they are good... together they are greatness. Pleaseread AND share this content with all of your friends... those that love sports andthose that abhor sports. ----William TincupMy fellow HR professionals, I am honored and humbled, yes honored to stand heretoday before you as one of the authors of The 8 Man Rotation....<scuffle of feetrunning to the stage>...oh, excuse me just a moment...Steve: Uh Trish, you’re not part of The 8 Man Rotation v.2. Sorry.Me: I’m not?Steve: No, you just need to introduce us. The STARS of the project. You’re notone of those.Me: I see. Well, I just thought that since I don’t play pro sports either that I couldadd as much value as you, Dunn, Haun and Stollak. Probably not as much as Sackett,but the rest I know I could take on.Steve: Um no, you’re not like us. We’re dudes. We know sports and stuff. Oh,and HR. You could always focus your writing on cheerleading or something.Me: Ok then. Well, I guess I’ll just introduce you all.Well readers, I’m back. It seems that I am not one of the esteemed authors of The8 Man Rotation v. 2 . However, I do work in HR and as a real practitioner, I’malways looking for ways to figure out how to do my job better. Like you, I haveturned to many of the recognized business leadership books for guidance. Theyreally don’t help change much though. What better place to look for inspiration and 8
  9. 9. guidance than sports references about HR? I know these guys know sports and theyknow HR. So, without further adieu, I give you...The 8 Man Rotation v. 2.Go team! ----Trish McFarlane 9
  10. 10. Introduction We know that most sequels suck. This is true with most movies, butit is especially true about sports movie sequels. As anyone who paid theirhard-earned dollars to see Major League II, Slap Shot II: Breaking the Ice, orCaddyshack II knows, great art is hard to follow. I know what you’re thinking. Does the world really need anothercollection of writings about Sports and HR? Wasn’t it beaten to death in thelast edition? Yet, here we are with the 2011 season - 45 more posts ripped fromthe screens of the HR Capitalist, Fistful of Talent,, the TimSackett Project, and True Faith HR. Its more points than Kobe or LeBronaveraged, but fewer than the number of TDs Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, orTom Brady threw. And, the 2012 season is already looking bright…but, it’ll have to waituntil next year. 10
  11. 11. CHAPTER 1HR Planning and Strategy 11
  12. 12. Is Your Company Better At Innovation if You Seek Patents orSimply Find The Next Tweak?Kris DunnOriginally published October 14, 2011Innovation. You want it. You need it.Is your company better at innovation if you seek to protect IP through patents orsimply move on to the next big tweak thats going to change the game?I ask the question knowing the answer. Companies that have large amounts of IPhave to protect themselves legally and financially by seeking patents. But that doesntmean that innovation doesnt happen at a more rapid pace in industries thattraditionally havent had the ability to trademark innovation.Example? The NFL. More from Freakonomics: "Just about a year ago we posted about the incredibly innovative game of football. As we described, all of the innovation we’ve seen in football – the spread offense, the zone blitz, the wildcat, and dozens of other offensive and defensive formations, strategies, and counter-strategies – occurs without anyone ever asserting ownership. Rival teams are free to copy new plays, and they do. It’s not as if ownership would be impossible – existing intellectual property rules might cover at least some football innovations as copyrightable “choreographic works,” or as patentable processes. The fact remains, 12
  13. 13. however, that no one has ever tried to copyright or patent a new play or formation. And yet Belichick, and dozens of great football coaches over the years, continue to be creative. Why? Professional football is the apotheosis of cutthroat competition. In the NFL, innovations can pay even if they provide an advantage over only a few games (although for reasons we’ve explained, copying a football coach’s innovation effectively is often more difficult than it may at first appear). A few extra games in the win column are the difference between a decent season and playing in the Super Bowl."The post talks at length about the Buffalo Bills innovating a new twist to oldtechnique of receivers "picking" for each other to get open. A picture of theformation appears above.Back to the question. Do most companies that dont protect IP through patents seea lot of innovation? How does HR innovate when they cant protect what they dowith patents?Maybe the bigger question is the following - How do you encourage your teams toinnovate to gain the short-lived advantage when you dont have the pressure ofdeveloping thousands of patents, like a Microsoft or a Motorola?I look at the picture above and the answer is pretty obvious. Do the equivalent of afilm review with your team. Line up you and your competitor side by side, and beshocked at how similar you are. Give your team the task of doing two things in thenext month that make your company look different (and more valuable forcustomers). Come back the next month and keep the innovation pressure on.Lesson - Find the equivalent of your receiver stack at your company.Last note, after Sundays NFL games, I found the following play, on our coffee table,charted out below by my 8-year old son. Its the play where the Broncos did a handoff, then the running back flipped it back to Kyle Orton, who launched it 40 yards toan open receiver. Orton under-threw it (Tebow would have thrown it 45 yards...hahaha), but the vibe was on.My son, charting copycat plays on what he considered to be innovation. Goodtimes. 13
  14. 14. 14
  15. 15. Please welcome our new VP of Marketing. Yes, thatsreally himBy Steve BoeseOriginally Published September 2, 2011So lets pretend you are a dedicated marketing pro at a low-key but solid wholesalegrocery distribution company in Tennessee and you have seen notice or heardthrough the company grapevine that the VP of Marketing position is open. VP slotsat small and medium size companies dont just open up every day, and as you learnmore about the opening, you become more intrigued.Casual Friday in the Marketing department?Youve got over 10 years experience marketing in this industry, almost five at thecurrent company, and you have been given progressively more responsibility, highprofile projects, and control over a small team and budget. You like the company,love living in the area, and have cemented solid relationships in the local businesscommunity as well as been an active participant in a few industry associations, evenserving as a conference speaker on a couple of occasions. You have even let yourGen-Y staffers run with the whole social media thing to support the companymarketing efforts. It isnt for you personally, but you realize that times are changing,and empowering the right people to help navigate through these changes just seemsto make sense. 15
  16. 16. All told, you have some really solid qualifications for the VP role, and if the companyhad one of those progressive HR constructs known as a succession plan, your namewould almost certainly been in the Ready now box for the VP of Marketing role.So as you sit down at your desk to have one last look at your resume before firingoff an email to the CEO to forward your name for consideration for the VP position,you see a company-wide announcement drop in to your inbox.It reads : Please welcome our new VP of Marketing - Bruce Pearl.You think - What? Bruce Pearl? The former University of Tennessee MensBasketball Coach that was fired for lying to NCAA investigators during aninvestigation into the programs recruiting practices? A guy who has been abasketball coach for the last 25 years or so, and whose only knowledge andexperience in the grocery business is that perhaps occasionally he shops in one?Thats our new VP of Marketing?The bit about the Marketing Manager I just made up, but back in the real world theaforementioned Bruce Pearl was indeed just hired by the wholesale grocerydistribution firm H.T. Hackney as their new VP of Marketing.Now I dont profess to know anything about H.T. Hackney, or the climate of theKnoxville area wholesale grocery distribution business, but taken simply at facevalue, the hiring of Pearl into a VP of Marketing role fresh off recent scandal, andperhaps more importantly, an entire professional career that had pretty muchnothing to do with the grocery business or corporate marketing seems quite baffling.Sure, the company gets a short-term publicity pop, everyone in the area knows whoPearl is, and most probably never heard of H.T. Hackney before, but longer term,can or will a hire like Pearl cause more damage than good?I wonder if there really is a H.T. Hackney Marketing manager that wont get his orher shot because of this move. Or maybe there is a slate of great marketing prosthat are looking for their next career move that would have made a super hire forthe position.I guess time will tell, but I do think these kinds of stunt hires, particularly ones wesee that are sport-related, dont seem to work out all that well. 16
  17. 17. In Hackneys defense, an article from ESPN announcing the Pearl hire refers to anews release where Hackney officials refer to Pearls marketing and economicbackground as a student at Boston College, as some justification and support forthe hire.In these tough economic times its good to know that a solid education still carriesweight in the job market. Even if, as in Pearls degree, it was earned in 1982. 17
  18. 18. Waiting for the Siren’s CallBy Matthew Stollak,Originally Published February 1, 2011These are heady times in our little hamlet called Green Bay. The excitement ispalpable as our football team is playing in Super Bowl XLV. Everywhere you turn,people are dressed in green and gold and conversation inevitably turns to what willhappen in this weekends game.However, some are taking this weekends festivities a bit far. At least one Green Bayorganization is experiencing a significant number of personal and family illness daysbeing submitted for Friday, February 4, 2011, and Monday, February 7, 2011.Amazing how people can anticipate being sick several days in advance.With 85-90% of TVs in this area expected to be turned to the Super Bowl onSunday, it is understandable that absence might be a little higher the day after,especially if the home town Packers emerge victorious.So, how does your organization handle absenteeism on the day after the SuperBowl? Will cases of personal and family illness be subject to verification by a doctor?Confession: I will be attending the game and flying back from Dallas on Monday. So, countme as absent. 18
  19. 19. RealityBy Matthew StollakOriginally Published July 18, 2011One of my favorite books about the film is Adventures in the Screen Trade by WilliamGoldman. In it, the screenwriter of such films as Butch Cassidy and The SundanceKid, and The Princess Bride,writes:"The "go" decision is the ultimate importance of the studio executive. They areresponsible for what gets up there on the silver screen. Compounding theirproblem of no job security in the decision-making process is the single mostimportant fact, perhaps, of the entire industry:NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING."*Every studio except Paramount turned down Raiders of the Lost Ark. The studiowanted Tom Selleck to play Indiana Jones instead of Harrison Ford, but Selleckcouldnt get out of his Magnum P.I. contract.*Universal turned down Star Wars*Columbia passed on E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.We see the same thing happen in the sports arena. Scouts in the NFL battle overwhether to draft Ryan Leaf or Peyton Manning as the 1st pick. Tom Brady getsdrafted in the 6th round. Michael Jordan was not the first pick in the draft when hecame out of college.Physics has the Law of GravityChemistry has Boyles Law and the Laws of ThermodynamicsEven Economics, the dismal science, has the Law of Supply and DemandBut, does human resources have any laws or universal truths that all abide by? If so,what are they? Or, like their Hollywood and sports counterparts, NOBODYKNOWS ANYTHING. 19
  20. 20. Jerry Sloan: Another Great Example of Why ManagerialLongevity MattersBy Lance HaunOriginally Published February 11, 2011An employee of 23 years quits suddenly. What do you do?That’s the question the NBA’s Utah Jazz were faced with when their coach of 23years, Jerry Sloan, decided to resign suddenly during mid-season yesterday: I had a feeling this time was the time to move on,” an emotional Sloan said during a Thursday afternoon news conference. “[Thats] a long time to be in one organization. Again, I’ve been blessed. Today is a new day. When I get this over with, I’ll feel better. My time is up and it’s time to move on.” Longtime assistant Phil Johnson also resigned, surprising even Sloan during their post-game chat Wednesday night with general manager Kevin O’Connor.“I came with him and I’ll leave with him,” the 69-year-old Johnson said Thursday.So, what would you do if you were in charge of the Jazz organization?Longevity in a profession with little of itCoaching is a profession with high turnover. In Sloan’s case, it’s extreme.For example, he was promoted to head coach in 1988. The next longest tenuredhead coach (Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs) was hired in 1996. The nextin line (Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics) was hired in 2004. A large majority ofteams have had their coaches for less than five years. That makes Sloan’s 23 years atthe helm even more remarkable. 20
  21. 21. The organization was stable with him leading the charge for so long. In anenvironment where coaches are often seen as disposable and could be changed atthe behest of a star player, Utah was often the lone exception to that rule. Hebecame an institution in Salt Lake City.All changed in a momentCoaching changes are becoming more common in mid-season, but coaching changesinitiated by the coach himself? It’s unheard of — especially with Sloan’s longevity inthe position.There has been speculation that an on-court dispute finally pushed him over theedge and into resigning. ESPN reported that Sloan had an argument with DeronWilliams, a key player for the team. Even if it ends up not being the complete story,the timing itself would be an odd coincidence.Suffice to say, it wouldn’t be the first time a high performing star employee drove amanager out of a job. Star employees can demand much from other staff (includingtheir managers) and it can be a difficult dynamic to handle as a manager. However,Sloan has dealt with top talent before and handled it well (the last time he had notone, but two top stars, he went to the NBA Finals two years in a row).Will longevity count?The Utah Jazz have tapped current assistant coach Tyrone Corbin to coach the teamforward. What was unusual about this move is that teams usually place an interimtag on a new head coach, even if they intend to hire him after the season ends. Utahhas been clear that it intends to keep Corbin past the end of this season.It will be interesting how the Jazz recover from this sudden turnover of its mostvisible management position. As I said in a post about longevity: I can’t imagine the actual dollar value of having a high-performing employee who knows the history, struggles, and successes of the organization so well. At a certain point, institutional knowledge becomes so second-nature that a person becomes nearly irreplaceable.And: 21
  22. 22. The last thing worth mentioning is if you have a great culture, longevity helps protect that culture from shifting. CEO’s and top execs who stay at a company for long periods of time have proven that year over year.Good luck to Jerry Sloan moving on, but maybe that luck should be reserved for theJazz, who have to try to move on from the loss of a legendary figure in theirorganization. Even as a Portland Trail Blazer fan who rarely finds a reason tocelebrate anything related to the Utah Jazz, I tip my hat to the legacy and exampleSloan has given every coach. 22
  23. 23. CHAPTER 2Staffing and Career Considerations 23
  24. 24. Albert Pujols and the Art of the Counter-Offer: It All ComesDown to Replacement Cost for the Same Performance...By Kris DunnOriginally Published December 9, 2011Im from Missouri and a St. Louis pro sports fan. In case you missed it, Cardinalgreat (pro baseball) Albert Pujols has left the Cardinals at the age of 32, signing a 10year deal worth $254 Million with the Los Angeles Angels.The reaction out of St. Louis is disappointment, but with a hat tip toward therealization that matching that offer would have been a suckers play.Its a much different reaction than what happened in Cleveland when Lebron Jamesopted to "take his talents to South Beach". The reaction should be different,because the situations are dramatically different.It all comes down to replacement cost, your brand and the profitability line.Lebron James was a mega-star in a superstar-driven league. The Cleveland Cavalierscouldnt replace him if he left. Cleveland as a sports town is a wasteland, a placewhere no free agent wants to dwell. Lose Lebron in Cleveland, youre not gettingback to the top. Ever.The Cardinal franchise is something entirely different. Lots of world championshipsbefore Pujols arrived. A great baseballl town and region where veterans want toplay to bask in fan support all summer long.Baseball is a sport where you need 20 contributors, and no one player can domineerthe action - unlike basketball. 24
  25. 25. What would you do if Ed in Accounting told you he wouldnt be back in 2012 unlessyou gave him a 3 year deal giving him a annual 60% bump in comp?Hit the bricks, Ed. Youre replaceable.What about Stan, your top sales pro? Hes not coming back in 2012 unless youdouble his total comp and guarantee it for 4 years. Hes a great revenue producer,careful....Youve got 4 other reps that are near quota. Stans great, but you lose money onthat comp structure. Dont let the door hit you on the butt on the way out, Stan.Countering the star comes down to 3 things: 1. Whats the total comp point where the revenue/performance the star provides goes into the red? 2. How strong is your organization? Can you recruit good talent in to replace the star? Is your brand good enough where others want to work for you? 3. Is there anyone else that can come close to doing what the star does?Cleveland had no other options, thus the total freak out when Lebron left. St. Louisis pretty quiet in comparison the day after Albert took his talents to SoCal.Is your organization like the Cavs or Cardinal nation? 25
  26. 26. Treat Your Candidates Well - Because Theyre Going to StickTo You Like Kareem If You Dont...By Kris DunnOriginally Published May 24, 2011I know - youve got lots of candidate volume. Its hard to get your ATS set up with asoulful message to at least give your candidates the solid of knowing where theystand.Its hard to call all the candidates back who at least had a phone interview to tellthem personally where they stand. I know I ebb and flow in my ability to do this, soyou surely do as well.We need to do better. Need motivation? Then consider this - its not only theright thing to do, its self-preservation. Those candidates you are failing tocommunicate with - especially the mid-level ones and up - are going to rememberyour lack of communication. Theyll see it not as negative, theyll see it as neutral.Need a cautionary tale? Consider the case of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of thegreatest basketball players of all time. He was great, but was unwilling tocommunicate. Now the world remembers and rather than him being celebrated ashe grows old, hes a bit of an outcast. More from LA Observed: "In an interview with The Sporting News, Abdul-Jabbar went public with his feelings of being "highly offended" by the way the Lakers treat the star of five of L.A.s championship years — and the NBAs all-time leading scorer. His number 33 is up on the wall, of course, but he feels "slighted" that the team erected statues to Chick Hearn and Jerry West and has not made firm plans for a statue of him outside Staples Center. He told the L.A. Times that it goes beyond the statue to include the Lakers handling of him as a special 26
  27. 27. coach and a big pay cut. "The relationship is fractured," he says. "I don’t expect my relationship with the team to continue beyond this point." He amplified on Twitter, saying the "Lakers have given me the absolute minimum of respect" and "the status was just the las straw."Heres where it gets interesting. Kareem went public with his displeasure on thefact no statue of him is forthcoming, and the general public (remember - yourcandidates) remembers how they were treated. Look at this letter to the editor inLA: "Kareem, dont worry, youll get over the way the Lakers treated you in five years or so. Thats about how long it took for my 10-year-old daughter to get over the way you treated her 25 years ago when she asked you for an autograph. Karma."That was one of many letters. It seems that fans didnt react well to a surly,uncommunicative star. Just like candidates dont react well to your brand notcommunicating where they stand.Even someone like me has a Kareem story. The year was 1994. Im an assistantcoach at UAB under Gene Bartow and we were playing UC-Santa Barbara on anESPN feature called "Big Monday" (Look it up, Kids). Kareem was part of thebroadcast crew for the game and was at the shoot-around. Coach Bartow wentover to talk to him, and because hes Coach Bartow, Kareem was at least neutral inhis interaction. Then Bartow did what normal people do - he called over hisassistants - including me - to meet the great Kareem. Kareem was sitting on pressrow and, I kid you not, did not make eye contact or acknowledge us as Bartowintroduced each of us to him.Of course, hes Kareem and Im nobody.Of course, youve got the jobs and theyre just one of ten thousand candidates.Nobodies. You dont have time.Neither did Kareem - for anyone. Now, people remember. No statue for you,Kareem. No NBA coaching job for you, Kareem. You were one of the 5 bestplayers of all time. How surly and unapproachable must you have been (and perhapsstill are) for you to be on the outside looking in at this point in your life?The same thing can and will happen to your employment brand. 27
  28. 28. Communicate early and often with candidates this week. They remember, just likeLaker fans related to Kareem. 28
  29. 29. Legalities? Heres How References Work in the Real World....By Kris DunnOriginally Published April 7, 2011Want to know why I write about sports a lot on an HR blog? Because its the mosttransparent place in the world for talent decisions of all types - by far.Example: Lots of HR pros wring their hands about whether a manager can provideany negative information on a reference. They also wring their hands aboutproviding a positive reference that doesnt get into the negative. To control all thebad stuff, many HR pros tell their people that they can only do name, title and datesof employment.Meanwhile, your managers are blasting away on people they dont like - just play thegame and dont ask them for an official reference. Just say, "what did you thinkabout working with XXXX?", or my backup favorite, "Can you give me a personal,not professional reference?"Case in point: The recent reference it appears Maryland hoops coach, GaryWilliams, gave multiple candidates on NC State Athletic Director Debbie Yow. Thetwo used to work together at Maryland (Yow was the boss) and across time, Yowwasnt happy with the often profane Williams. So she started trying to raise moneyamong prominent boosters to buy him out. I actually had drinks with a booster whotold me the backstabbing story about 6 months ago.Williams, like your managers, has a long memory. Yow was recently in the marketto hire a new hoops coach at NC State. Candidates reportedly called Williams forthe 411. More from the World Wide Leader: "The frosty relationship between North Carolina State athletic director Debbie Yow and Marylands Gary Williams took a nasty turn during the introduction of the Wolfpacks new mens basketball coach. Yow -- who spent 16 years as Marylands athletic director -- called out the Terrapins coach, who won the 2002 NCAA championship working under her, of interfering with the search. It happened during North Carolina States news conference introducing Mark Gottfried, who replaced Sidney Lowe. Yow responded to a reporters question to Gottfried about whether she had a reputation of being difficult to work with. "I dont have a reputation across all mens basketball of being difficult to work with," she said Tuesday. "I have a reputation of not getting along with Gary Williams, who has tried to sabotage the search. Come on, we all know that. OK, so whatever. 29
  30. 30. "Its not a reputation. Its Gary Williams out there doing his thing. Whatever."Boom. Thats why I use sports. Where else are you going to get that type of infoon reference checking gone horribly wrong? Check out the video below for thevenom. Also, its an onboarding issue as well. What can Mark Gottfried (the newcoach) be thinking as his boss publicly tries to hurt someones career in such a directfashion?PS - your managers are giving mind-blowing opinions on references every day. Someone is doing it right now...Fortunately, managers in the private sector dont have access to a camera and mediaoutlets to document their feelings on how theyve been wronged (or wrongedothers).Thank whatever God you pray to for that. 30
  31. 31. Grading Talent the Big Tuna WayBy Steve BoeseOriginally Published April 27, 2011Last night ESPN ran an interesting behind-the-scenes look at how Americanprofessional teams typically evaluate talent, with special guest former NationalFootball League executive and head coach Bill Big Tuna Parcells. The context of theshow was the leagues upcoming college player draft, the annual exercise where theleagues teams assess, grade, and ultimately select from 5-10 players each to re-supply the talent on their teams. It is a massive, high-stakes, expensive, and criticallyimportant recruiting, assessment, and alignment exercise.Parcells resume and achievements as a successful coach, and talent evaluator aresolid - he served in very senior roles at several NFL organizations, winning twoSuper Bowl Championships as the Head Coach of the New York Football Giants.In the show Parcells shared some of the talent selection criteria and thoughtprocesses that organizations that he was a member of, and in general, most otherteams tend to follow when making player selections in the leagues annual collegeplayer draft. Some of the criteria and processes were fairly obvious, and would applygenerally to any talent selection or recruiting context, (players who had beenkicked off their college team for disciplinary reasons should be avoided), butsome of the other concepts Parcells discussed perhaps are not so apparent to casualobservers, and just might have some additional applicability to more conventionaltalent selection processes.Here are three Talent Evaluation ideas straight from the Big Tuna:1. Understand the predictors of success (some are not so obvious)In NFL football every team measures and grades the basic and easily understoodphysical characteristics of potential draftees, (height, weight, strength, speed), butduring the show Parcells mentioned a few not-so-obvious keys he assesses, (e.g. forthe position of cornerback, length of the players arms). For potential quarterback 31
  32. 32. prospects, Parcells insisted he only wanted players that actually graduated fromcollege, as he felt it demonstrated intelligence, and more importantly commitment.The larger point is every competitor has access to the same talent pool, the basicand obvious assessment criteria are widely known and universally adopted, so findingthe less clear and more predictive evaluation criteria that other teams may not havediscovered is one of the ways to claim some advantage and make better selectiondecisions than the competition.2. Make sure everyone involved in Talent selection understands thesepredictorsOnce the criteria is established, and a process to collect and assess these criteriadeveloped, Parcells emphasized the critical need for everyone involved in the talentselection process to understand the criteria, and consistently grade to the criteria.From scouts, to assistant coaches, to even the team owner, the definition of what atop candidate looks like has to be understood by everyone. There are so manyplayers to assess, that no one member of the organization can possibly know everycandidate, so the selection process becomes a team effort, and the talent selectionteam has to have that common ground for any chance of success. Talent is talkedabout in the common language of the teams assessment ratings, and noconversation about talent fails to reference these assessments.3. Know yourselfParcells described a common acronym used in football draft processes, NFU, whichmeans Not For Us. This term is assigned to players that the strict adherence topositional capability assessments or past production in the college game mightindicate are good candidates and should be considered in the selection process. Butthese NFL players have raised some concern off the field, of their attitude, style,work ethic somehow will not be a cultural match to what the organization is lookingfor. Parcells strongly advises teams to know themselves, know the style they want toplay, the kinds of mental makeups that players need to have to fit on the team, andto avoid the temptation of selecting players with fantastic physical skills that mightnot fit otherwise. These kinds of gambles rarely work out, and they are the onesthat get coaches and talent evaluators fired.But in the end, despite incredibly detailed and complex processes for physicalmeasurement, tests of intelligence, and well-documented and easily reviewed pastperformance in college football, selecting players for NFL teams is still and imperfectprocess. So-called cant miss top prospects often fail to live up to expectations,while others deemed marginal prospects once vetted by the traditional processesend up as star players.Having a system and some ground rules to follow, to find ways to uncoverpredictors your competition may have missed, and perhaps most importantly a deepand confident organizational self-awareness are a few ways our pal the Big Tuna 32
  33. 33. offered up to try and land more Peyton Mannings and less Ryan Leafs (inside footballreference, Google it).Big Tickets and High StakesBy Steve BoeseOriginally Published March 10, 2011So you have to pull the trigger on the big hire. The kind of C-level, (or close),critical, visible, and organization-shaping call that can make or break your career as atalent pro at the firm, and may, if you swing and miss, cause a few others to go downwith you. This is the big show, and the slate of potential candidates is impressive anddeep. On paper, they all have the necessary tools, great experience with a trackrecord of success. Similar and superior education and training, and the all have beencoached to have the ‘right’ answers to your interview questions. Seemingly, nomatter which candidate you choose, you can’t go wrong. But you get paid the bigbucks to choose the best, not just narrow the field to three or four. And somethingtells you that the difference between the best choice and the worst is potentiallyhuge. Believe me, in a couple of years, everyone will know if you made the rightcall.In true FOT fashion, this kind of selection conundrum reminds me of thesituations that face talent selection executives at professional sports teams. How doteams make the distinction on draft day among competing prospects? Prospects thatoften have remarkably similar bodies of work to assess, whose physical traits areconsistent with past successful players, and who come prepared and ready for yourinterviews, coached and advised well by a retinue of agents and business managers.Recently, a friend of FOT shared with me this story about the high-stakes selectionprocess at one NFL team, (some small details modified to protect the identity of theinvolved parties).A few years ago, I sat next to the head of player personnel for an NFL team on a planefrom New York to Dallas, just about a week before the NFL draft.We struck up aconversation about how he makes his picks. (He had been in charge of player personnel forthe team for over 10 years, a stretch of time where the team had enjoyed considerablymore success than most others). Prior to taking the job in the NFL, he had been a majorcollege head coach at two different and winning programs. Simply put, he knew football. 33
  34. 34. We got to talking about how he makes hiring decisions, i.e. what players to draft and to tryand acquire in free agency. It was a great conversation – one that I will long remember.He mentioned that each year he gets to decide which 20 year old his owner writes a $20Mcheck to, and the owners get very pissed if he gets it wrong, and they don’t suit up on gameday in the NFL, and become high-performing contributors to the team. With those kind ofstakes, getting these high draft picks right often makes the difference between a consistentwinner and a team that struggles.He told me what he does to better assess these young players who all have the physicaltools to succeed. To get more insight into the mental makeup and character of theprospects, he focused on the following: 1. A personality test- one that the military uses- and he swears by it. He did not say which test specifically, but the idea of using assessments was clearly important to his selection process. 2. On college visits, he is not assessing athletic ability- they all have it, but rather he talks to the trainers in the locker room about what the kid is like after a loss, he talks to the teachers about what time they show up for class the day after a game, and what type of student they are and how they relate to other class members (all character questions). 3. Since many of these prospects came from, to put it nicely, potentially problematic backgrounds, (run-ins with the law, less than stellar behavior in college, some drug use history), really finding out as much as you can about the character and non- measurable aspects of their make-up was essential in their evaluation process.I also asked him what pick he was personally proud of, and he told me about his first draftwith his current team, and he went on and on about [player name redacted], aquarterback, and how he felt I should keep my eye on him, and that his character was rocksolid. As it turned out, the player in question has had an uneven career, with on-fieldperformance a disappointment, and eventually was released from the team, to be pickedup by another team in a back-up role.What is instructive about this story to me is that talent selection is talent selection –whether it is for the most junior role in your office, or for a NFL first-round draftpick set to become an instant millionaire. Character and personality are importantno matter the role, and digging deeper to get a truer sense of these character andpersonality traits can mean the difference in identifying that all star among a similarlooking and seeming slate of candidates.But even after all this, after these assessments, and examinations, and tracking downevery cashier a candidate ever bought a Slurpee from to see if he was a nice guy, 34
  35. 35. sometimes, maybe too often, we make the wrong call. It isn’t always our fault ofcourse. Even ‘can’t miss’ candidates sometimes do indeed, miss. 35
  36. 36. Do You Remember What Unemployment Looks Like?By Tim SackettOriginally Published November 21, 2011I was reading a short interview recently in ESPN the Magazine about Nascar up-and-comer Brad Keselowski, who is having a great year on the track. The article wasreally around Brad’s advice/opinion on why he is having success and one point stoodout to me over everything else. He said: “I worry about job security every day. If you ain’t worried about losing your job, you can’t drive at the right level. Even after winning at Pocono on August 7th, I remember thinking, at least this buys me a little more time. When the day comes that I’m not afraid of getting fired, I’ll lost my edge.”Nothing like professional sports to bring out performance anxiety! The fact isprofessional sports like Nascar, golf, tennis, etc., is the ultimate pay for performancemodel. For the most part, professionals in those type of individual sports only getpaid if they perform well, and only keep getting paid if they continue to perform.It’s like the commission sales person – you either sell, or your kids don’t eat thismonth. Most people hate living and working under this pressure – but some thriveand Brad gives you a little insight to how they do it. Don’t ever get comfortable.Don’t ever stop feeling what it feels like to not have a job. Because when you do,you might as well start looking for a new job at that very moment.I love this! This is an insight to one’s soul. It sucks to be unemployed, especially isyou’ve worked for a long time. To get up in the morning and not have some placeto go is very unsettling, to say the least. But as HR Pros, how many times do we seepeople who have gotten to “comfortable” – who have forgotten what it feels like tobe unemployed? Maybe even you are at this point right now! This is a gift that wecan deliver to our employees. To sit down and have the “looks-like-you’re-really-comfortable-right-now” conversation. It’s not a threat, it’s a developmentalconversation around – “what else” – what else could you be doing that you’re not, 36
  37. 37. what else is out there for you to accomplish and how can I help you get there, whatelse do you need to do to ensure you keep this job?To often we have these types of conversations with employees who are struggling,instead of with those who are coasting. If we had more of these conversations withour coasters, we would probably have very few struggling conversations – andbelieve me the coaster conversation is much easier to have – because it’s being hadwith positive intent.So, what can you do today? Think about unemployment – in fact – think about itevery freaking day. About what it feels like, about what it will do to your life, abouthow you can stop it – because you can – don’t believe the hype that says you don’thave control – it doesn’t matter – Mr. Corporation will just lay you off. Thosepeople who are pushing each day for better performance, who don’t settle, whodon’t get comfortable – they aren’t getting laid off. Unemployment sucks –remember that! 37
  38. 38. Selections, Assessment, and the MLBBy Tim SackettOriginally Published April 6, 2011Major League Baseball is back this week, which means I now have something to doeach night until November! Yeah me, I’m winning!More importantly the MLB gives us some great things to write about throughout theseason. I don’t know of a sport where more there is more of a correlation to HRthan Major League Baseball. Think about what the MLB does as compared to ourdaily jobs as HR Pros across the country:  No one does more analysis and assessments before hiring (drafting) than the MLB  No one has a larger succession plan in place than the MLB (minor leagues)  Pay for Performance compensation (Ok, I’ll give you a pitcher who has a 9-13 record and a 5.79 ERA should not get paid $5.6M per year – but we all have our market)  Constant employee motivation and leadership development – Employee Relations Issue (hitters in an 0 – 21 slump at the plate, Manager calls him out in the newspaper, etc.)You get the picture – the MLB is like one giant HR laboratory – but with anunending budget – and a heck of lot more Dominicans than your average U.S.workplace.The one thing I wonder is how long we (HR/Talent Pros) would have our job – if wehad the same success rates in selection as our MLB counterparts?There are up to 50 rounds each year in the Major League draft – and a MLB teamcan sign as many Free Agents (those who didn’t get drafted or no longer have rightsheld by another team) as they want. In the end the failure rate of selection isastronomically high. From a Sports Illustrated article in 2010: 38
  39. 39. …major league teams selected 436 high school players after the 13th round. Only nine of those kids signed a contract that year and eventually made it to the big leagues — a 98 percent failure rate. After Round 26, teams selected 213 high school players, only one of whom, Victor Diaz, an outfielder who appeared in 147 games for the Mets and Rangers, played even a day in the big leagues — a 99.5 percent failure rate…Can you imagine a 99.5% failure rate in hiring in your organization! You would haveyour job for about 26 minutes! You think you have a hard time assessing talent, thefolks working for MLB teams, it would seem, could use some help from some HRPros and assessment vendors in revamping their selection process, becausesomething isn’t working right – and you thought the athletes weren’t heldaccountable!There are good lessons to learn from their failure of MLB’s selection science (orshould I say lack of selection science):1. Don’t get caught up in the hype. What happens when 13 old guys standoutside the fence watching some 17 year old kid throwing 91 mph fastballs – they alllose their minds – HR folks aren’t much different – have you been to a collegecareer fair for hard to find grads! Just because they have 1 skill doesn’t make them astar, and even if they have more, they might not be the fit for your “team”.2. Past Performance Doesn’t Always Predict Future Performance. Oh,that one stings a bit. It’s definitely one major criteria to look at, but it doesn’talways ring true – many factors come into play – culture of previous organization,former leadership, position, industry, etc.3. Don’t overlook small town, small school kids. It’s easy to pick up greatbusiness hires from Harvard – but what about one from Northern Iowa? Not everykid who goes to an Ivy League school is going to be great, and not every kid going toB and C business schools are idiots. 39
  40. 40. CHAPTER 3Training and Development 40
  41. 41. The Wisdom of Jeff Van Gundy – Part VBy Steve BoeseOriginally Published May 4, 2011The sage was at it again the other night during the Oklahoma City - Memphis NBAplayoff game.In case you dont know what I am referring to, former NBA head coach, and currentTV analyst Jeff Van Gundy (JVG) dropped another bit of simple, yet essentialknowledge about basketball that I think is also directly applicable to the workplace,management, and organizational dynamics.During the game Oklahoma City forward Nick Collison made a smart play ondefense to cause Memphis to lose the ball, hustled to the offensive end of the floor,and then positioned himself properly to make a scoring move when the ball wasrotated to him in the flow of the offensive play. It was a brief series of actions thatwere not necessarily terribly athletic or skilled or even that remarkable, but as akind of orchestrated series did add up to an excellent and winning (apologies Chas.Sheen) play.Immediately after Collison, who is not a starting or star player on the team,completed the play, JVG observed that winning teams need guys like Collison,players that may not have all the physical skills of the top players on the team, buthave found ways to contribute using capabilities and attributes that are mostlychoices and not simply genetic gifts.The money line from JVG: Guys like Collison, guys that grind, are essential. The best ones are coachable, accountable, and professional. And you can win with guys like that.Coachable - willing to accept suggestions, able to make adjustments in style of playto fit the team goals, and cognizant that what may have worked in the past (incollege, or on former pro team), might not be the desired behavior on the currentteam. 41
  42. 42. Accountable - understands the role, knows how the role impacts and contributesto the success of the team, makes the effort to put himself in the right situations,and simply does his job fully knowing the rest of the team depends on him to meethis objectives. And if other guys on the team, maybe the star players, are having anoff night, then he knows when to try and give a little more than normally needed.Professional - in the narrow sense, we are all professional, i.e. we are paid toperform. But what JVG really meant was a level of personal integrity, pride, anddedication to himself as a player, to his teammates, and to the supporters of theteam. This means showing up and giving your best effort even when times are tough,when the team is down, or when you are not meeting your personal objectives. Itmeans being proud of your contribution in every game, and even every practice. Itmeans setting an example for others to follow, even if you dont hold a formal titleor leadership role.Coachable, accountable, professional. All important. All under your controlevery day. Super talented people in any game or industry or field can get away withonly one or two of these, and can still make incredible contributions to theorganization. But if you are like most people, and are not in that rare category ofnaturally talented superstars, just focusing on being coachable, accountable andprofessional will go a long way in determining your success in any role.And stacking your team, no matter what the game, with those kinds of players willmake you look pretty smart as a leader as well.And that my friends, is the Wisdom of Jeff Van Gundy. 42
  43. 43. If “Everyone” is Responsible, is Anyone Responsible?By Steve BoeseOriginally Published April 21, 2011Hiring decisions are often lengthy, arduous, complex undertakings, where even thebest, top-performing organizations can only hope to achieve more ‘wins’ thanlosses’. Think about it. What percentage of your organization’s hires in the last twoyears would you, (or more importantly, your managers), classify as quality hires?About half? More? Do you even know?Hiring is hard, while simultaneously being critically important to all organizations. Ifthis weren’t the case, we would not have a multi-billion dollar industry surroundingand supporting the hiring process from all angles, (job boards, ATS systems,executive recruiters, RPOs, staffing firms, career coaches, resume writers, and onand on…), and quite honestly myself and the fine team of professionals here atFistful of Talent who serve up these bits of wisdom and nonsense insight each daywould not have all that much to write about.While hiring is admittedly hard, so too is the opposite point on the employee lifecycle, separation. Knowing when to end the employment relationship, either by theemployer acting unilaterally, (You’re fired! Clean out your locker!), or by theemployee seeking a change, (admittedly often easier and cleaner), can be as complexand difficult as the mutual agreement and meeting of the minds needed to bringsomeone on board in the first place.But while many separation decisions can and do seem pretty straightforward andsimple, particularly ones involving employee termination for cause, sometimes eventhe most seemingly obvious and straighforward cases of ineffective management,poor decision making, lack of critical perspective, and lack of application of basiccommon sense, cases that can occasionally result in tragic outcomes, don’t alwaysresult in the kinds of punitive and decisive actions that seem to be so clearlywarranted.On October 27, 2010 a student at Notre Dame, Declan Sullivan, was tragically killedwhen the 40-foot hydraulic lift he was standing on while filming the school’s footballteam practice was toppled by what was estimated to be a 53 mph wind gust.Immediately after the accident, Sullivan’s death, while certainly a shock and a tragedy,seemed to call out for blame to be assigned. Why was the team conducting practiceoutside in such poor conditions, when an indoor facility was available? And why wasa student, Sullivan, on a lift 40 feet in the air on such a windy, sort of frightening day?Certainly someone messed up. Someone made a terrible decision that ended upwith the worst possible effect. Someone has to take the blame, at a minimum beterminated from their employment? 43
  44. 44. Right?Notre Dame concluded its internal investigation of the tragedy this week, with noone involved in the incident being placed at fault or punished. The reasoning behindthe absence of discipline? Here’s the quote from Notre Dame President, the Rev.John Jenkins:“We did not find any individual who disregarded safety or wasindifferent to safety. Consequently, there was not any individualdiscipline,” Jenkins said. “Our conclusion is that it’s a collectiveresponsibility that must be dealt with collectively as we move forward.”So the take is essentially – ‘We are all responsible. We all conspired to make aseries of bad, ill-informed, and essentially idiotic decisions, that tragically led toDeclan Sullivan’s death.’None of us were on the field that day. We can’t know for sure how scary it musthave been on top of that lift as the winds were howling. Declan himself seemed toknow however. He apparently tweeted that day - “Gusts of wind up to 60 mphtoday will be fun at work… I guess I’ve lived long enough.”It was scary up there. It was dangerous. It should have been apparent to someonein a position of responsibility to get Declan off of that lift. The Athletic Director, theHead Coach, whomever Declan directly reported to that day. Someone. But sinceNotre Dame determined it really wasn’t any one’s specific job or task to monitorwind speed once practice started, thus blame and punishment could not bereasonably assigned.So the investigation has concluded. Declan is never coming back, and while NotreDame has now changed and implemented procedures to ensure this type of accidentnever happens again, still everyone remains in their jobs, and while they certainly cannever forget the tragedy, the impact and meaning will naturally fade over time.I’ll close with a question for all the organizational leaders and talent professionalsreading this piece - ‘If ‘everyone’ is responsible, is ‘anyone’ responsible?’ 44
  45. 45. Are You A Coach in HR?By Tim SackettOriginally Published October 10, 2011I read an article recently in The New Yorker, probably the best article I’ve read allyear, on the importance of “Coaching” by Atul Gawande. Atul is a writer and asurgeon, smart and creative – I should hate him, but he’s so freaking brilliant! Fromthe article: The concept of a coach is slippery. Coaches are not teachers, but they teach. They’re not your boss—in professional tennis, golf, and skating, the athlete hires and fires the coach—but they can be bossy. They don’t even have to be good at the sport. The famous Olympic gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi couldn’t do a split if his life depended on it. Mainly, they observe, they judge, and they guide.As an HR Pro, I’ve always believed that HR has the ability to act as “coaches” acrossall vestiges of our organizations. The problem we run into is this – “You can’t coachme! You don’t know the first thing about Marketing, or Operations, orAccounting.” You’re right, good thing I’m not “teaching” you that! That’s why wehired you. Having a coaching culture in your organization starts during the selectionprocess – are you hiring people who are open to being coached?More from The New Yorker – Good coaches know how to break down performance into its critical individual components. In sports, coaches focus on mechanics, conditioning, and strategy, and have ways to break each of those down, in turn. The U.C.L.A. basketball coach John Wooden, at the first squad meeting each season, even had his players practice putting their socks on. He demonstrated just how to do it: he carefully rolled each sock over his toes, up his foot, around the heel, and pulled it up snug, then went back to his toes and smoothed out the material along the sock’s length, making sure there were no wrinkles or creases. He had two purposes in doing this. First, wrinkles cause blisters. Blisters cost games. Second, he wanted his players to learn how crucial seemingly trivial details could 45
  46. 46. be. “Details create success” was the creed of a coach who won ten N.C.A.A. men’s basketball championships.I think this is critical in working with adult professionals. Coaches aren’t trying to“teach” them new concepts, but helping them self-analyze and make improvementsto what they already do well. We/HR can make our workforces better – not byfocusing on weaknesses/opportunity areas – which we spend way too much time on– but by making our employees’ strengths even stronger. Coaching has become a fad in recent years. There are leadership coaches, executive coaches, life coaches, and college-application coaches. Search the Internet, and you’ll find that there’s even Twitter coaching. Self-improvement has always found a ready market, and most of what’s on offer is simply one-on-one instruction to get amateurs through the essentials. It’s teaching with a trendier name. Coaching aimed at improving the performance of people who are already professionals is less usual.I’m talking about turning HR into “Life” coaches or “Executive” coaches – thosetypes of “coaches” are way different – and fall more into the “therapists” categories– than what I see HR acting as “professional” coaches. Professional coaches workalongside their Pros – day-to-day – see them in action, and work with them tospecifically improve on those things that impact the business. They don’t care thatyou’re not “feeling” as “challenged” as you once were, and need to find yourself.I think the biggest struggle HR Pros will have in a role as “coach” – our ability tounderstand most employees have low self-awareness (including ourselves!). Being agreat coach is measured on your ability to get someone to see something inthemselves, they don’t already see, and make them truly believe it. If we can getthere in our organizations – oh boy – watch out! 46
  47. 47. 6 Ways LeBron James is Great at Team BuildingBy Tim SackettOriginally Published May 13, 2011I had to write an article about great team building and LeBron James – basicallybecause Kris Dunn (The HR Capitalist and Chief FOT’er) hates how LeBron tookhis talents to South Beach – and now he’s on the verge of winning his first NBAChampionship. Fast Company’s latest edition has an article titled: What LeBronJames And The Miami Heat Teach Us About Teamwork that takes 6 shots atwhy LeBron and his Miami Heat team did a great job a building a championshipcontender. The 6 Team Building principles from the Fast Company article: 1. Start With Sacrifice. LeBron and Bosh both left millions of dollars on the table to go to Miami to play with Dwayne Wade. Dwayne Wade gave up being the highest paid player on “his” team. All 3 wanted to win championships and were willing to make some sacrifices to make it happen. 2. The Rule of Many. It takes more than just 3 stars to make an NBA team – or at least an NBA winning team. With the big 3 together, many other veterans were willing to take less money to join the team, giving the Miami Heat the most experienced roster in the NBA in total NBA years of playing experience. All 3 stars had connections they used to get these players to join, most notably using prior relationships to get these veterans to join their quest. 3. Adversity is an Asset. “Nothing brings a team together than a common adversary.” The Miami Heat’s adversary? Well everyone not associated with the Miami Heat! When Miami started this season they were suppose to walk through everyone, yet, they struggled and people loved that they struggled. This adversity worked to pull a team together and work even harder to reach their potential. 47
  48. 48. 4. When the Going gets Tough, Turn to one Another. Say what you want about the Big 3 in Miami, then one thing you’ll be hard press to say is that they don’t support each other. When the whole world was asking “who’s team is this?” they said “ours”; when the whole world asked “who’s going to take the last shot in tight game?” They said, “whoever is open”. Great teams understand the value to chemistry and believing in each other. 5. Manage From Inside-Out. The easiest thing the Miami Heat could have done this year, when they were struggling early, would have been to fire their coach and replace him with Miami Heat President and Hall of Fame coach, Pat Riley. But, they didn’t. Instead Riley mentored and worked with Heat coach, Eric Spolestra, helping him understand how you lead a roster filled with superstars. 6. Beware of the Blame Game. Team chemistry is everything. History of littered with the most talented teams that didn’t reach their potential, and with teams that lacked talent, but won championships, all because of Chemistry. Don’t underestimate this when putting a team together in your organization – great chemistry with average talent, will almost always beat great talent that lacks chemistry.There are a ton of Miami/LeBron haters out there – but when you look at what thatgroup of players and the organization has done to build a team – it seems like theyare on the right track to be a championship level team. 48
  49. 49. CHAPTER 4Performance and Talent Management 49
  50. 50. Want Performance? Get Everyone Uncomfortable with aMock Workplace Draft…By Kris DunnOriginally Published February 2, 2011Its late winter here in the Southeast, so that means only one thing if youre a dadwith active sons who play sports...Its draft time in Little League baseball...Draft time!! The meat market goes all the way down to the 7 year olds these days,meaning you cant just get a team of kids together and play. You have to sign up forthe local league, go through evaluations, then teams are drafted. Thats right for allyou non-kid or non-sport families, theres a draft. From pick #1 to pick #150, itgoes down in Darwinian fashion.If youre a coach, that means you evaluate way too much. So much so, that youbegin to see talent scout profiles seep in to the proceedings around you, includingthe following: -Mr.Star Chaser: This coach picks the highest kid on the board (ranked according to evaluation scores) regardless of any other factor. Too bad theres no trades after Little League drafts, because this stockpiler could do some deals. -Mr. Retails For Suckers: Wont pick the next kid on the board. Too smart, has the master plan, and the conventional wisdom wont do. Hes finding value elsewhere according to his own personal system. -Mr. Deep Background: Makes dozens of calls to folks who know each 7 year old. I heard Jimmy watches way too much iCarly too. Id pass on Jimmy as a result. -Mr. Zero Sum Game/One-Up: Thinks he knows who you want, so hell be attempting to "one-up" you all the way through the draft. 50
  51. 51. -Stat Boy: Kept stats on all teams the entire last season. Has "Access" database to prove it... -The Minister of Misinformation: Did you hear Johnny was thinking about pulling out of baseball to play Lacrosse? Tread carefully if youre planing on picking him... <sucker>The only things missing from the proceedings? A website with rumors and MelKiper mocking my historically weak drafts across the years. Apparently my profile,focused on drafting for long last names I think look cool on the back of baseballjerseys, is as suspect as the ones above.Which begs the question - Can you imagine if you held a similar draft to restructureworkplace teams doing similar work? Lets say you had a draft to restructure aninside sales force/financial brokers/name the function of 100 people across 10 teamsand bonus money was on the line. My guess is youd see all the same profilesemerge as you started to evaluate the talent pool and plot draft strategy.Of course, at the end of the day, the administrative assistant, who drafted based onhow much karma each last name had, would do as good as you. Because theres noaccounting for intangibles, personal baggage and team chemistry in the draft order(you wouldnt have the time or technology to capture those things), its more of acrap shoot than youd like it to be.Me? I draft parents when it comes to Little League. Its just easier that way. 51
  52. 52. Kris Dunn Just Scored A 47 on the Wonderlic Test!!By Kris DunnOriginally Published March 3, 2011Not really, but wouldnt it be cool if that were the case? 47 out of 50! Youd knowI was really, really smart. Savant-like really.Of course, youd have no clue whether I could actually perform any job in yourorganization to a satisfactory level...For those of you who dont know, the Wonderlic is a cognitive ability test, and itsalways heavily publicized this time of year due to its use at the NFL combine. GregMcElroy scored a 48 and is really smart. Vince Young scored a 6 and we wonderwhy he struggles.Overreactions ensue. Overreacting to any single measurement when evaluatingtalent is a suckers play.Id say McElroys success in the NFL will have more to do with whether he has thearm stregth to throw a 20 yard out against NFL cornerbacks. Vince Young seems tohave struggled in the NFL due to emotional reactions and meltdowns when thingsgo wrong.Both unrelated to the Wonderlic. Dont fall in love or get divorced from talent overone metric.Your momma told you to shop around. Good advice when viewing talent from theperspective of a single measurement. 52
  53. 53. #FACT: Great Talent Runs Freaking Hot – Deal With ItBy Kris DunnOriginally Published March 14, 2011Heres the big thought for a Monday: If you really want to save your business,sometimes youre going to have to hire talent that comes with some baggage.When you really need a change agent, sometimes they come with.... issues...Translation: Great talent runs hot. There are going to be some broken eggs. Please put on your helmet, because while theyre engaged in saving your #$$, thesame passion that drives them to run your business makes them make incrediblypoor decisions elsewhere.Case in point. USC basketball coach Kevin ONeill. ONeill was brought in afterUSC went through the NCAA wringer with the OJ Mayo/Tim Floyd issues. USCneeded a change agent and a big talent to prevent them from falling into obscurity. They hired ONeill.He runs hot and stuff happens as a result. Heres more on what happened at thePac-10 Conference Tourney last weekend from pointguardu: "Kevin ONeill went on a drunken tirade along with his wife after beating Cal yesterday. In fact, he didnt even change his suit and went straight to the JW Marriott lobby bar. ONeill and his wife were in a hotel lobby of the JW Marriott and visibly intoxicated when they exchanged words with a group of Arizona fans. ONeill reportedly threatened the fan that USC was going to “beat the hell out of Arizona.” Words were exchanged and our sources say that ONeills wife struck one of the Arizona fans. ONeill and his wife were escorted out of the hotel, and Arizona fans were left wondering what just happened. 53
  54. 54. The fan was UA booster Paul Weitman and they ran into each other at the elevators. KO believes Weitman is responsible for his firing at the UA (ONeill used to coach at Arizona) and obviously still holds a heavy grudge. Mind you Weitman is 70+ years old. Apparently KOs wife, Roberta, started the melee by roughing up Wetiman with one of her rings. KO then got involved and when hotel security intervened the things got even uglier."ONeill is known as a great coach. Hes also known to be a hot head. See thepicture above for all you need to know about great talent running hot. Thats apicture at the hotel before the incident. Check out the drink. Check out theposition of the shirt related to the suit belt line.Great talent runs hot. If your business has to be saved, what type of downside riskare you willing to take?That, my friends, is the question. 54
  55. 55. High Performing Average Talent: Don’t Screw ThemBy Kris DunnOriginally Published May 20, 2011Two words: Nick Collison.Who is Nick Collison? Collison is a backup forward for the Oklahoma CityThunder who averages 5 points per game. Even if youre not a basketball fan, youmight recognize the Thunder since its the franchise that currently showcases NBAsuperstar Kevin Durant (who I like to call the "other" KD).Why are we talking about Nick Collison? Last night the Thunder were playing theDallas Mavericks in Dallas in the Western Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs.The game was back and forth, and like most basketball teams, theres a point in thegame when both teams have good portions of their bench in the game to rest thestarters (read: the stars).That time came and went in the 4th quarter of the game. Dallas brought back theirstars. The Thunder were playing well, so Thunder coach Scott Brooks stayed withhis bench in the game against the Dallas starters.A funny thing happened - the scrubs made a run and went up by 10 with 4 minutesto go. The announcers were looking down the sidelines, expecting the Thunderstarters to check into the game to finish it out.Brooks stayed with the scrubs. They built the 10 point lead, it was theirs to finish.Dallas made a run and cut it to six with 2 minutes left. Scrub and longtime NBArole player Nick Collison found himself with the ball and a clear path to the basket.He was fouled hard.Nick goes to the free throw line. Misses both, Dallas comes down and scores,cutting the lead to 4."You gotta come back with the starters", the announcers chirp.Brooks stays with the scrubs. 55
  56. 56. Oklahoma City has the ball back on the other end. A guard is trapped off a pick androll, and the pass goes to - you guessed it- Nick Collison. He didnt miss a beat,driving and getting fouled. Thunder up 4, Collison bricked the last two and is left inthe game at closing time. The Dallas arena is going crazy. He just bricked two, hesgoing to do it again and the Mavericks are going to get a win! Scott Brooks is goingto lose his job over this one! My god, its the playoffs! What is he doing?Nick Collison doesnt flinch. He drops two free throws to put the lead back to 6,then makes a great defensive play on the other end to basically put the game out ofreach.Nick. Freaking. Collison. Stars on the bench. Nick and fellow bench friends on thefloor. You got us the lead, finish it out.How much street creditability did Scott Brooks buy with that move? How muchdeeper is his bench as a result of sticking with the scrubs who were performing well,even when it looked like it was all going to go to hell in the biggest game of the year?You want a deep team in your company? When the role players deliver, let themtake it to the finish line. Dont bring in the stars to run a pitch or meeting or projectthat the role player delivered.Dont flinch when it looks like theyre going to fold. Youll likely be surprised relatedto what theyre capable of if you let them finish it out.Especially if you show you believe when they struggle near the end.Nick. Freaking. Collison. 56
  57. 57. Moneyball and the Art of Figuring Out If HR Leaders AreOverpaidBy Kris DunnOriginally Published September 30, 2011Im in Vegas over the weekend to participate in HRevolution - a great unconferencefor HR Pros. The title of my session is FOT Live. Catchy, huh? A placeholder ofsorts because I really didnt know what I wanted to talk about.But as I began seeing the promotional lead-up to the movie Moneyball, my thoughtson the session became pretty specific. Im going to talk about how you figure out ifan HR Leader is undervalued or overvalued. Are you paying too much? Whatmetrics can you look at to figure out who (if you had access to the rightinformation) is undervalued in the HR marketplace?Moneyball for HR Leaders. Not for HR Pros to determine what others areworth. To determine what different HR Pros are actually worth.The good news is I dont need to have all the answers. HRevolution is set up in away where dialog and conversation drive the session. So really what I have to do isstart the conversation and keep it out of the ditches.I do have one strong opinion from which my worldview on HR pros is based. I alsothink that the value/worth question for HR leaders applies to any generalist who isresponsible for a client group of employees. Unlock the Moneyball for HR formula,and you can apply it all the way down to the HR Manager. As long as theyreresponsible for a flock. 57
  58. 58. A cautionary note: As I thought about the best way I would go about determiningwhether an HR Leader was undervalued or overvalued, my thoughts were a littlechilling. If any of the past CEOs Ive worked for walked up to me with the ideas thatcame into my head, I would have automatically protested.You cant measure me like that. I dont control all the levers that type ofmeasurement implies.Youre right. Most HR Leaders dont have as much control as they would like. Butthe talented ones find ways to get results without the assigned authority. Thats whytheyre undervalued in the marketplace before the market figures out whats up. Then their value gets driven up in a hurry. Sometimes.Im looking forward to the conversation and learning from whoever joins me. Whether its 2 people or 50, I suspect Ill learn more than I give.Moneyball for HR Leaders. Should be fun. 58
  59. 59. R.I.P. Al Davis: Here’s My Favorite HR Quote From the NFLSith LordBy Kris DunnOriginally Published October 10, 2011Al Davis, the funky longtime owner of the NFLs Oakland Raiders, died thisweekend.Things Al Davis will always be remembered for: --Building a franchise culture that embodied renegades and misfits, and still winning in the early days (but not lately). --Drafting Jamarcus Russell out of LSU, giving him $30M large and never having him produce. --Providing the whole wardrobe for a series of gangsta rap groups including NWA, Eazy-E and of coures, the DOC. --Doing a funky press conference where he not only talked about a "final warning" letter he had sent former coach Lane Kiffin, but actually read it word- for-word to the press. But thats not all. Al also had one of his flunkies throw it up on an OVERHEAD PROJECTOR while he was reading it. In 2009.But I digress. Im having fun with the memory of Al, but the phrase "Just Win, Baby"will always be attributed to Davis. Its a great HR phrase signaling the need forresults, but its not even my favorite performance quote from Al Davis. Thismemory from Ben Horowitz is: "As I was feeling sorry for myself, I randomly watched an interview with famous football coach Bill Parcells. He was telling the story of how he had a similar dilemma when he began his Head Coaching career. In his very first season as coach, Parcell’s team, The New York Giants, was hit with a rash of injuries. He worried incessantly about the impact of the injuries on the team’s fortunes, as it is difficult enough to win with your best players let alone a bunch of substitutes. When his friend and mentor Raiders owner Al Davis called Parcells to check in, 59
  60. 60. Parcells relayed his injury issues. Parcells: “Al, I am just not sure how we can win without so many of our best players. What should I do?” Davis replied: “Bill, nobody cares, just coach your team.” That might be the best CEO advice ever. Because, you see, nobody cares. When things go wrong in your company, nobody cares. The press doesn’t care, your investors don’t care, your board doesn’t care, your employees don’t care, even your mama doesn’t care. Nobody cares. And they are right not to care. A great reason for failing won’t preserve one dollar for your investors, won’t save one employee’s job, or get you one new customer. It especially won’t make you feel one bit better when you shut down your company and declare bankruptcy."You have reasons why the project/job didnt work out. We get it. Youre probablyeven right... But the truth is, when you start talking about reasons its probably notgoing to work out before the final results are in, its weak.Nobody cares. They just tally up the score at the end and the world keeps onspinning. Hard but true.Thank you, Al Davis. May the world remember you in your 1970s and 80s gloryand not what happened in Oakland since 2000. 60
  61. 61. Rule #1 in Life, Business and HR: Don’t Tempt Fate By TalkingSmackBy Kris DunnOriginally Published June 13, 2011Rule #1 in life, business and Human Resources is pretty simple: Dont tempt fate bytalking smack. You stay humble because you know how tough life is.Heres what I mean. Youre living your life, and things are going pretty well. Youdont tempt fate and put a target on your back by talking smack and judging theperformance of others, the life circumstances of others and basically taking a "holierthan thou" attitude. You dont do that in business or Human Resources, and if youbelieve what Im talking about, you dont do that in life either.The Miami Heat and Lebron James talked smack. Lebron dismissed the whole city ofCleveland in an ill-advised televised special saying he was leaving Cleveland and goingto Miami. When he arrived in Miami, the Heat held a celebration reserved forchampionships (this one was held before the season started), rose their 3 stars upon a smoke-filled stage on a rock-concert lift flexing and posing, then the three starsproceeded to say that 7 championships was the goal and expectation. (Theircontracts said they would be together for 7 seasons).Translation: Tempting fate. Putting the target on your back. Refusing to stayhumble.The focus on staying humble manifests itself in three ways in my life. When I catchmyself judging people and feeling good as a result in my thoughts, Im quick to notethat it could all turn around on me as well. When I catch myself saying or almostsaying something self-serving regarding my performance or state in life, I cringe. Andgod help me if I put something self-serving in print to be forwarded at the will ofthose who received a wayward email of questionable intent. 61
  62. 62. You and I are far from perfect. But most of us have at least some self-awareness.Talking smack is never in your best interest. You dont tug on Supermans cape.You dont spit in the wind. Fate and paybacks are a bitch.Lebron James and the Miami Heat talked smack. Then they lost the championshipon Sunday night. Does this quote from the post-game news conference sound likesomeone who has learned that tempting fate is never a good idea? "Moments later, however, he (Lebron James) trash talked those that were happy to see the Heat lose, ignoring that they brought all that on themselves. At the end of the day, all the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today, James said. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that. They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal, but they have to get back to the real world at some point."Its not you, its them - right Lebron? Haters.And so fate remains out there for the Heat. Will they win six championships now?Or will the reluctance to understand Rule #1 prevent them from winning achampionship forever?Dallas is your NBA World Champion. Even if you dont like sports, you have toadmit two things as it relates to Rule #1.Justice is served. Fate is a bitch. 62
  63. 63. Why You’re Wrong About LeBron JamesBy Steve BoeseOriginally Published June 17, 2011Subtitled : I am not sure I completely believe what I am about to argue in the post either,but someone had to take an opposite position.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The facts of the case are these:1. Last summer two-time league MVP, consensus best player in the NBA, and one ofthe best all-around players in league history LeBron James, a free agent no longerunder contract with his team of seven seasons the Cleveland Cavaliers, elected tosign a contract to play for the Miami Heat. The decision by James to join the Heatwas panned not so much for the actual business and competition factors, but ratherfor the manner in which it was announced - a one-hour TV special on ESPN, that incombination with the backlash against James from the jilted Cleveland community,ended up backfiring on James, portraying him as an out-of-touch, arrogant, self-important and egocentric person.2. James, (and his new teammates Heat stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh),compounded the PR disaster spawned by The Decision, with an over-the-top,flashy, introduction event in Miami, where James and the others (in uniform),pranced around a smoke-filled stage and opined about winning not just one NBAtitle, but six, seven, eight... titles. I am paraphrasing a bit, but you get the idea.3. The Heat concluded an up and down season, (it was painful at times to watchthese three star players attempt to co-exist on the court, when each wasaccustomed to being the man), with a 58-24 record, good for first place in theNBAs Southeast Division, and the third-best overall record in the league.4. Entering the NBA playoffs the Heat then defeated in succession the AtlantaHawks; their nemesis, the Boston Celtics; and the leagues top regular season teamthe Chicago Bulls. Each series was decided 4 games to 1, making the Heat animpressive 12-3 in the first three playoff rounds.5. In the NBA finals, the Heat were defeated by the Dallas Mavericks, a veteran teamplaying at the top of their form, 4 games to 2. James was harshly criticized for poorplay in the series, particularly in the 4th quarters of Games 4, 5, and 6 (all Dallas 63

    Feb. 27, 2012
  • TimSackett1

    Feb. 21, 2012

We know that most sequels suck. This is true with most movies, but it is especially true about sports movie sequels. As anyone who paid their hard-earned dollars to see Major League II, Slap Shot II: Breaking the Ice, or Caddyshack II knows, great art is hard to follow. I know what you’re thinking. Does the world really need another collection of writings about Sports and HR? Wasn’t it beaten to death in the last edition? Yet, here we are with the 2011 season - 45 more posts ripped from the screens of the HR Capitalist, Fistful of Talent,, the Tim Sackett Project, and True Faith HR. Its more points than Kobe or LeBron averaged, but fewer than the number of TDs Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, or Tom Brady threw. And, the 2012 season is already looking bright…but, it’ll have to wait until next year.


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