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The 8 Man Rotation: The 2014 Season

The 8 Man Rotation: The 2014 Season

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The 8 Man Rotation: The 2014 Season. A Look a Sports and HR by Steve Boese, Kris Dunn, Tim Sackett, Lance Haun, and Matt Stollak. Edited and complied by Matt Stollak. The 8 Man Rotation Crew's Annual E-book on all things sports and HR will be sure to bring you plenty of insight and hours of fun as the boys take you on a journey to all the ways we can use the lessons from sports to be better HR, Talent, and Business pros.

The 8 Man Rotation: The 2014 Season. A Look a Sports and HR by Steve Boese, Kris Dunn, Tim Sackett, Lance Haun, and Matt Stollak. Edited and complied by Matt Stollak. The 8 Man Rotation Crew's Annual E-book on all things sports and HR will be sure to bring you plenty of insight and hours of fun as the boys take you on a journey to all the ways we can use the lessons from sports to be better HR, Talent, and Business pros.

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The 8 Man Rotation: The 2014 Season

  1. 1. The 8 Man Rotation 2014
  2. 2.   2   The 8 Man Rotation: A Look At Sports and HR The 2014 Season By Steve Boese Kris Dunn Lance Haun Tim Sackett Matthew Stollak
  3. 3.   3   Table of Contents Foreword by Paul Hebert HR Planning, Strategy, Data and Leadership Big Data – On the Basketball Court Today..In Your Office Tomorrow? – Steve Boese The Analytics Takeover Won’t Always Be Pretty – Steve Boese The Silver Hammer: Three Reasons to Come Down Hard On Your First Big Leadership Test – Steve Boese The Juergen Bomb: Three Reasons Why A New Leader Makes A Strategic Firing – Steve Boese Germany, Spurs: Welcome to the Machine – Steve Boese “I’m Gay:” Notes On How One Leader Got Potentially Disruptive News Right… - Kris Dunn DATA & MONEY: Run a Vasectomy/March Madness Promo at Your Company Next January… - Kris Dunn Want to Be A Great People Manager? Don’t Watch the Ball… - Kris Dunn Leadership Isn’t What You Read in Books… - Kris Dunn UAB Football is Dead: Great Leaders Make Great Enemies – Kris Dunn HR’s September Call Ups – Tim Sackett On the Billion Dollar Bracket – Matthew Stollak Staffing and Career Considerations Choosing Your Benchmarks Wisely and the Legacy of David Stern – Steve Boese Is “In What Month Were You Born?” A Valid Interview Question? – Steve Boese It’s Tough to Succeed a Legend – Steve Boese You Have to Get Lighter As You Get Older – Steve Boese To Fail This Often, You Have to be Pretty Good – Steve Boese Prepare to be Disappointed – Steve Boese Do’s and Don’ts of Accepting Offers of Employment: NBA DRAFT VERSION… - Kris Dunn Googling Candidates: Ray Rice Version… – Kris Dunn Hiring Back an Employee Who Left You – Tim Sackett The Organization with the Most Expensive Selection Mistake Is? – Tim Sackett Prospective Employee Camps – Tim Sackett Success is Relative – Tim Sackett Should Your “A” Players Recruit For Your Organization? – Matthew Stollak Yield Ratios, NASCAR, and the National Guard – Matthew Stollak
  4. 4.   4   Training and Development How Far Are You Willing to Go to Get Better? – Steve Boese Why There Won’t Be Youth Football in 20 Years… - Kris Dunn Success vs. Development – Tim Sackett Performance and Talent Management HOT SPORTS TAKE: What is More Important Than Culture? – Steve Boese What Richard Sherman Reminds Us About High Performers – Steve Boese Why Do Old Coaches Get Fired? – Steve Boese When Things Don’t Work Out – Lessons from the New York Knicks – Steve Boese Diverse Teams Can (Literally) Better Take the Heat – Steve Boese The Obligatory World Cup Post – Steve Boese The Value of Keeping the Team Intact (NBA Edition) – Steve Boese Talent Attraction: The Real Reason to Keep Top Talent – Steve Boese How the NBA can Teach You (Almost) Everything You Need to Know About Talent Management – Steve Boese Great Players Win Early – Steve Boese The Performance Curve – Steve Boese If Richard Sherman Took A Pre-Employment Assessment, Here’s What It Would Show… - Kris Dunn MONEYBALL: Is the Talent World’s Most Undervalued Asset Old People? – Kris Dunn Managers as Coaches: The Key is Confrontation… - Kris Dunn The Ghost of Athlete Past – Tim Sackett 3 Ways To Make Your Office More Productive During March Madness – Tim Sackett The Managers as Coaches Myth – Tim Sackett Total Compensation The Best Sports Related Job Ever – Tim Sackett Tiger Woods Returning To Work – Tim Sackett Employee and Labor Relations BULLY IN THE WORKPLACE: IS HR Getting It Wrong Most of the Time? – Kris Dunn 2 Sure Things When the Owner of Your Company is Outed as a Racist… - Kris Dunn Auburn Football and HR: Why We Write New Handbook Policies to Police Morons… - Kris Dunn When to Allow Someone to Resign Instead of Firing Them… - Kris Dunn
  5. 5.   5   This Industry Sees 1/3 of its Alumni Develop Cognitive Disorders…. – Kris Dunn Right to Play – Tim Sackett I Don’t Want To Work With A Gay Person – Tim Sackett Are You “Entitled” to One Mistake? – Tim Sackett Baltimore Ravens Failed HR 101 – Tim Sackett I’m Not White Enough – Tim Sackett Special NBA Summer League Section NBA Summer League Part 1 – The Relative Value of Talent – Steve Boese Stuff the HR Capitalist (aka KD) Likes – The NBA Summer League… - Kris Dunn My Weekend with the 8 Man Rotation (Featuring How Pro Hoops Misses On Talent – Just Like You…) – Kris Dunn YEAR-END PERFORMANCE REVIEW: The Outcast, The German, and the Guy with a Heart Condition… - Kris Dunn Finding “A” Talent is Overrated – Lance Haun Quick Lessons Learned From the 2014 NBA Summer League – Matthew Stollak
  6. 6.   6   Foreword Do not read this book! It’s not accurate. For years the authors of this book have been putting together what they consider their best written posts from their blogs trying to intelligently tie sports analogies and HR commentary together. I can tell you they only hit that goal on the nose about 98% of the time. Can you live with reading a book with a 2% error rate? I don’t think I can. And why should you take any advice from these guys related to sports. I know for a fact not one of these authors has ever coached a professional sports team. Not one! Sure, one guy spent some time with a college team – but he didn’t play – just helped coach. And yes, they are rabid fans that take a trip to Vegas each year to watch players who won’t even make the professional ranks play. I mean – who does that? Crazy people, that’s who. Sure they have a huge amount of experience in HR and the combined readership for their HR blogs is somewhere north of the population of China but that shouldn’t sway your opinion of them and make you think you should read this book. This book is full of sports metaphors and lingo that the average HR person won’t understand. It’s filled with smart-ass discussions on how sports and HR intersect and overlap. It will make your head spin and your stomach nauseous. Do you really want that? Not to mention it will ruin your relationship with other HR folks. After you read this book you will know more than your peers. You will be different. You will think better, smarter, faster. You don’t want that do you? You just want to keep your head below the log when the shooting starts right? I know you – and you don’t want to be challenged. I’m telling you… reading this book will seriously affect how you practice HR. You will not be the ever again if you read this book. Here’s the bottom line. And this is mostly fact… the HR people who read the previous versions of 8-Man Rotation are no longer in their jobs. Yep…they read this book. Learned from the entertaining and well-written articles on sports and HR and they left their jobs. Yeah, sure, they did get promoted and moved on to more challenging assignments with greater visibility, pay and benefits. Now, some might see that as a positive but I think it just goes to show that reading this book puts ideas in people’s heads. Ideas that make a difference. Ideas that change things. And that is scary stuff. Do yourself a favor. Don’t read this book. Just go on your merry way. Keep doing what you’re doing and don’t challenge the status quo.
  7. 7.   7   Remember – your boss probably read last year’s edition and see what it did for her? Do you want that? I didn’t think so. --Paul Hebert
  8. 8.   8   CHAPTER 1 HR Planning, Strategy, Data and Leadership
  9. 9.   9   Big Data – On the Basketball Court Today, Tomorrow in Your Office? Steve Boese Originally Published on February 14, 2014 Super piece over at Grantland the other day titled The Data Flow Continues: NBA D- League Will Monitor Player Heart Rate, Speed, Distance Traveled, and More, about some of the steps that the NBA, (and its affiliated minor league the D- League), are taking that leverage wearable tracking devices to monitor player movements, player vital signs, and evaluate things like player fatigue levels and stress during the course of play. These new devices, ones that go beyond the already in-place sophisticated video technology that records player actions like direction of movement, speed, acceleration and deceleration, and move into more precise measurements of a player's biological and physical status and condition, seem to offer NBA teams a rich and copious set of information that can inform in-game strategy, (Is LeBron really tired, or does he just look tired?), and off season training and conditioning plans. But of course the potential backlash for the NBA and its teams is that no one, not even highly compensated NBA players, will be terribly excited about not only having their actions tracked, but also their physical reactions tracked as well. But if we move off of thinking about this kind of physical tracking as something that is limited to jobs or activities like playing basketball we could easily see how this kind of technology and data collection and mining approach could have applications in other domains. Wouldn't you like to know, Mr. or Ms. HR/Talent pro, how a given manager's team members physically react when they are in a performance coaching session, or getting any kind of feedback on their work? Do the team member's hearts start racing when their boss enters the room or begins one of his soliloquies? Do certain team members react and respond differently to the same managerial techniques? And wouldn't that information be valuable to feed back to the manager so that he or she could better tailor their style and approach to fit the individuals on their team? I know what you are saying, no way are employees going to agree to be wired up like subjects in some kind of weird biology experiment. Too intrusive. Too much potential for the data to be lost. Too many chances for the data to be held against them. The NBA players are probably going to make similar arguments, but eventually they will succumb. I will leave with a direct pull quote from the Grantland piece*, and as you read it, think about how naturally you could substitute 'organizations' for 'NBA teams'.
  10. 10.   10   Bottom line: None of this stuff is going away. Data of all kinds are already piling up at a rate that is overwhelming NBA teams, and the pace and variety of data available will only increase. Teams are going to have to change hiring patterns, and likely hire additional staff, to mine anything useful out of all this information. And the holy grail, to me, remains what these tracking devices can tell us about health — about preventing injuries, predicting them, monitoring players’ training loads, and keeping them healthy. *  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-data-flow-continues-nba-d-league-will- monitor-player-heart-rate-speed-distance-and-more/
  11. 11.   11   The Analytics Takeover Won’t Always Be Pretty Steve Boese Originally Published on March 31, 2014 Seems like it has been some time since I dropped a solid 8 Man Rotation contribution here on the blog, so to remedy that, please first take a look at this recent piece on ESPN.com, 'Fears that stats trump hoops acumen', a look at the tensions that are building inside NBA front offices and among team executives. In case you didn't click over and read the piece, the gist is this: With the increased importance and weight that a new generation of NBA team owners are placing on data- driven decision making and analytical skills, that the traditional people that have been the talent pool for NBA team management and executive roles, (former NBA players), are under threat from a new kind of candidate - ones that have deep math, statistics, and data backgrounds and, importantly, not careers as actual basketball players. This excerpt from ESPN* gives you a feel for how this change in talent management and sourcing strategies is being interpreted by long time (and anonymously quoted) NBA executives: Basketball guys who participated in the game through years of rigorous training and practice, decades of observation work through film and field participation work feel under-utilized and under-appreciated and are quite insulted because their PhDs in basketball have been downgraded," the former executive, who chose to remain anonymous, told ESPN NBA Insider Chris Broussard. One longtime executive, who also chose to remain anonymous, postulated that one reason why so many jobs are going to people with greater analytical backgrounds is because newer and younger owners may better identify with them. "Generally speaking, neither the [newer generation of] owners nor the analytic guys have basketball in their background," the longtime executive told Broussard. "This fact makes it easy for both parties to dismiss the importance of having experience in and knowledge of the game. The piece goes on to say that since many newer NBA owners have business and financial industry backgrounds, (and didn't inherit their teams as part of the 'family business'), that they would naturally look for their team executives to share the kinds of educational and work experience profiles of the business executives with which they are accustomed to working with, and have been successful with. The former players, typically, do not have these kinds of skills, they have spent just about all their adult lives (and most of their childhoods), actually playing basketball. A set of experiences, it is turning out, no longer seems to provide the best training or preparation for running or managing a basketball team.
  12. 12.   12   But the more interesting point from all this, and the one that might have resonance beyond basketball, is the idea that the change in hiring philosophy is coming right from the top - from a new generation of team owners that have a different set of criteria upon which they are assessing and evaluating talent. Left to tradition, hiring and promotion decisions would have probably only slowly begun to modernize. But a new generation of owners/leaders in the NBA are changing the talent profile for the next generation of leaders. The same thing is likely to play out in your organization. Eventually, if it has not happened yet, you are going to go to a meeting with your new CHRO who didn't rise through the HR ranks and maybe is coming into the role from finance, operations, or manufacturing. In that meeting your 19 years of experience in employee relations might be a great asset to brag on. Or it might not be. And you might find out only when you are introduced to your new boss, who has spent her last 5 years crunching numbers and developing stats models. *http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/10673335/some-executives-fear-reliance-stats-keeping-ex- nba-players-front-offices
  13. 13.   13   The Silver Hammer: Three Reasons To Come Down Hard On Your First Big Leadership Test Steve Boese Originally Published on April 30, 2014 I probably don't need to re-hash the Donald Sterling v. the NBA (and the World) narrative once again for you, by now you have heard the important details of the story. But just to re-set, and set up this piece, you need to know two things. 1. Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers was just suspended from the NBA for life for making racist statements, fined $2.5M, and is going to be forced by the other 29 NBA team owners to sell the Clippers. 2. This disciplinary judgement was handed down by NBA commissioner Adam Silver, whose name may not be terribly familiar to you, and is not that familiar to even many NBA fans. Silver just became the Commissioner about three months ago when he succeeded former commissioner and NBA legend David Stern, who had a 30-year reign leading the NBA. Stern in many ways became synonymous with the modern NBA, and while not perfect, will probably be remembered by history as one of the two or three greatest sports executives of his time. Adam Silver, the new person in charge, had to not only deal with the Donald Sterling situation, he also had the added challenge of this very public and high-profile problem being the first true test of his leadership. And in this test, Silver elected to mete out the harshest and most significant punishment that was possible according to the NBA constitution. Silver could have suspended Sterling for a fixed time period, like one year, could have fined him less than the max of $2.5M, and did not have to elect to push for Sterling's removal as an owner. But instead Silver went heavy, and in his first leadership test, (at least one that involved a disciplinary decision), he made a pretty bold statement. That statement was essentially, "There's a new sheriff in town." Here are three reasons I can think of why it makes sense for a new leader to come down super heavy in their first big leadership spot:
  14. 14.   14   1. Old-school territory marking - A new leader, especially one succeeding a highly successful and influential predecessor, has to make sure the rest of the team knows who is running the ship now. One of the best ways to send that message is with really bold, decisive actions that help to instill confidence in the team. I have read lots of accounts of the NBA/Silver decision, and not once have I read "What would David Stern have done?" 2. If the decision is a "Should he/she stay or go?" one, you should almost always pick 'Go' - One of the biggest challenges for the new leader is evaluating the team around them. And it is usually obvious who needs to go, and most of the time the leader will know it in their gut but don’t do anything because they don't want to shake things up too soon. It’s hard to face that there is some house cleaning that needs to be done before the new leader and team can move forward. Or they might think that with a new approach or style that the person can be coached. This almost never works out. A new leader is better off cutting bait nine times out of ten. These kinds of tough decisions can also open up opportunities for other members of the team who may have been languishing under the former regime, feeling stuck or blocked by folks that needed to be (gently) moved along. 3. It's easier to lighten up later, than it is to get tougher - Did you ever have a teacher or coach or manager or even one of your parents that was kind of easy-going and took a laissez-faire kind of approach? The type of leader that generally liked to keep their hands clean, avoided most unpleasant confrontations, and tried to guide you more so than lead you? But later when there arose some kind of situation or screw-up where the leader really had to get tough, crack the whip, bang the hammer, (you get the idea), no one really took them seriously since they were always more of a friend rather than an authority figure? The point being it is almost impossible to pivot from 'nice-guy' to 'tough guy' once your reputation as a nice guy is established. It is much, much easier to ease off a little bit over time, once the team sees you as someone that is not afraid to make tough, sometimes unpopular decisions. Good luck trying to go the other way. What do you think, about Silver's decision here and about how new leaders stake out their position in general?
  15. 15.   15   The Juergen Bomb: Three Reasons Why A New Leader Makes A Strategic Firing Steve Boese Originally Published on May 28, 2014 A couple of weeks back (see previous piece) I riffed on NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's decision to crack down amazingly tough on (disgraced, probably racist), soon-to- be former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling following the release of audio tapes that revealed once and for all time how horrible a person is Mr. Sterling. Commissioner Silver went full nuclear on Sterling - fining him the maximum allowable amount according to league policy, banning him for life from the Clippers and all NBA matters, and moving (along with the 29 other league owners), to force a sale of the Clippers by Sterling. You can check out my piece linked above for the full take, but essentially I think Silver's response to this first real leadership test was spot-on, and in particular, because it set a decisive tone for his leadership style and approach moving forward. Fast forward to last week, and we have another pretty high profile leadership (this one mixed in with some tasty talent management) situation from the world of sports - specifically from the United States Men's National Soccer team. In case you missed it, US coach Juergen Klinsmann made news when he dropped US soccer star (and the National team's all time leading scorer), Landon Donovan from the squad of 23 players that will compete in the upcoming World Cup. While Silver's handling of the Sterling mess has been universally lauded and wildly popular, Klinsmann's decision to essentially fire Donovan from the National team has been met with plenty of second-guessing, and is certainly not popular with several of the remaining (and influential) team members. This was a tough managerial decision around talent, and since my job as part of the 8 Man Rotation crew is to help you break down the connections between sports and your job as an HR/talent pro, here are three reasons I can think of why it makes sense for a new leader to make a strategic fire a la Klinsmann:
  16. 16.   16   1. The obvious one - dropping a veteran, established talent that seemed 'safe' by just about every stretch of the imagination signals out to the rest of the team (sports or otherwise), that the new leader is really in charge, and more importantly, has the security and management support to make tough decisions. Much speculation about Klinsmann's decision to drop Donovan from the World Cup squad was that the coach wanted to use that spot to give a younger, less experienced player a great developmental opportunity for what seems to be Klinsmann's true goal - mounting a serious challenge in the next World Cup in 2018, a competition which the then 36 year old Donovan would certainly not factor. 2. A strategic fire can often shake up a content workplace. The US team has been sort of running in place for the last few World Cup cycles. Sure, they have the occasional moments of success and games that make you think they are finally going to be serious contenders at elite competitions. But then they inexplicably fall to some lesser opponents, fail to seriously compete when facing the world's top teams, and generally seem comfortable just qualifying for the World Cup. Klinsmann does not want to reward that kind of status quo, that decade of mediocrity. The remaining players simply need to play better, or Klinsmann will find replacements. Dropping a former star, who still may be able to contribute, signals that performance standards across the entire organization are going up. The other players might think, "Crap, if he was willing to cut Landon, he definitely will drop me if I don't start scoring goals." 3. The leader takes ownership of overall team results - especially if the results are poor. The primary reason in sports that coaches like to 'play it safe' and 'go by the book' is that they don't want to accept blame for failure, since they 'went by the book', whether it is in player selection or game strategy and tactics. In American football, the vast majority of coaches will punt the ball away on 4th down when the data clearly show that running an offensive play to try and keep possession of the ball is almost always the better statistical move. But if the coach plays it safe, and the team loses, he/she can usually shift blame to the players or some other external circumstance. Make 'risky' decisions like unexpectedly cutting a star player like Donovan and have them not pan out? All the blame, or at least a large part of the blame, will land on Klinsmann's shoulders. And I think that is a good thing, more coaches/leaders need to be willing to claim responsibility for failure (and accept the consequences too). Ok, that's it - I'm out. Go USA. Try not to lose to any country with less than 1% of our population this time.
  17. 17.   17   Germany, Spurs: Welcome to the Machine Steve Boese Originally Published on July 14, 2014 The German men's national team won the World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Argentina yesterday, completing a march to the title that at times seemed almost incredible and surreal, (their 7-1 demolition of host nation Brazil in the semifinal), and absolutely workmanlike (the title match, their group stage tussles with Ghana and the USA). But no matter how any individual game for the Germans developed, in the end they were always able to find the right combination of talent, strategy and tactics, and individual moments of inspiration and excellence needed to raise the most prized trophy in all of world sports. For US fans, continuing to warm up to the highest levels of a sport that almost (it seems) every American child has played at least some in the last 20 years, watching the German team in this World Cup had to be at least somewhat reminiscent of the recent San Antonio Spurs NBA Championship. While there were certainly some differences between the two team's achievements, the similarities, at least to me were pretty clear, and might (apologies in advance to anyone already sickened by 'What can we learn about career management/leadership/workplaces from LeBron James returning to Cleveland' posts), I as a member of the 8 Man Rotation feel obliged to call out a few keys to both of these victories, and to take a stab at what broader application might be found therein. Talent and system are not the same as culture, (and are more important) - Tim Sackett had a great take at Fistful of Talent last week about 'system' hiring and it is well worth a read. Both the Spurs and Germany 'play the right way', i.e., organize their players and approach the game in a particular way in that each player understands their role, and how it contributes to the overall goals of the team. While each team has recognizable and extremely successful individual players, (Duncan and Parker on the Spurs, Muller and Klose for Germany), none of the games and the strategy ever seemed to be about these individuals. From beginning to end each team approached and played the games as a team. Not once in the NBA Finals or in the World Cup late stages did I recall hearing any commentator say something like 'The Spurs (or Germany), will only go
  18. 18.   18   as far as player XYZ takes them.' It was always a team effort, not one that relied on one or two talents. In fact, many of the players on the Spurs for sure, probably only succeed because they are in the Spurs system, and they have found the right fit for their talent. In the long run, discipline and belief trumps emotion - In the pre-game of the World Cup semifinal the home team Brazil had cranked up the emotional meter to 11 - they had 70,000 fans behind them, they 'felt' like it was their destiny to win on their home soil, and even held up the jersey of their injured and unable to play star Neymar in the pre-game line-up. It would have been easy for Germany to succumb to that emotional and psychological pressure, and give up and early goal or two. Instead, the German side stuck to their plan, withstood the first 10 minutes or so of Brazil's efforts, and then set on a goal scoring flurry not seem ever before in a World Cup semifinal. Similarly, in the final game of the NBA Finals, the two-time defending champion Miami Heat jumped out to an early lead against the Spurs, only to find the Spurs back to just about even by halftime, as the Spurs system and discipline proved more that Miami could match. When you have a system, and the right talent that has bough in to the system, then the lesson is to stick with it, don't panic when your opponent seems to have the upper hand, and double down on what you know will be successful in the long game. Most of us are really bad at evaluating talent - The Spurs had the NBA's best regular season record. The German side are full of top-level players from the world's most famous clubs. Yet neither was favored to win their respective championships prior to the final series or game. The Heat, with best player in the world LeBron James, and Brazil with their history of success (and home nation status), were expected to lift the trophies that ended up being held by the Spurs and Germany. We kept looking for excuses why the Spurs or Germany could not win (the Spurs were too old, Germany had not won the World Cup in 20+ years, and never outside of Europe), that we let ourselves be fooled. Even the leaders of these great teams might not understand talent completely. The World Cup winning goal was set up and scored by two players that were not even in the starting team of 11. I think this is is often the same thing that occurs in day-to-day talent assessment and evalution. We are trained to look for the reasons why someone won't or can't succeed, instead of focusing on the things that they are talented and strong at, and thinking about ways to leverage the skills they have. Bottom line - Spurs = Germany = a great way to think about how systems and strategy lead you to find the right talent you need to succeed.
  19. 19.   19   “I’m Gay:” Notes on How One Leader Got Potentially Disruptive News Right…. Kris Dunn Originally Published on February 13, 2014 By now, most of you heard the breaking news earlier this week - University of Missouri Linebacker Michael Sam declared to the world he was gay, setting up the chance that the NFL will have it's first openly gay player in history. Sam's projected to be a 3rd to 5th round draft choice and was defensive player of the year in the powerhouse SEC, so it's hard to see where he won't be on an NFL roster when the NFL regular season rolls around in September. I'm not qualified to talk about many of the issues surrounding this, but I wanted to put a light on someone who got it right related to Sam over the last year - Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel. Let's take a look at some notes from ESPN related to Pinkel's reaction to Sam coming out before Mizzou's regular season*, and how the team reacted with that leadership: As it turns out, Pinkel had set up small groups designed to help the players get to know each other, which was one important mechanism in Sam feeling comfortable enough to share who he was. "Periodically throughout the year, Pinkel said, each Missouri coach will invite about 15 players from different position units to his home for "cross-over dinners." "They'll all come over, having dinner at my house, and I'll stand up and say, 'I'm Gary Pinkel, I'm from Akron, Ohio,' and I start talking about my family, everything about my family. And everybody unloads everything about themselves. It's remarkable." Sam was at an assistant coach's house when he told his teammates he is gay. "In August he was in another group, and I got a call from the coach right
  20. 20.   20   afterward that Michael told the whole group that he's gay," Pinkel said. "That's when I first heard of it." Nice. Small groups, a leader OK with others leading each other. But Pinkel was on the brink of losing his job: "Michael Sam's sexual orientation probably wasn't the most pressing thing weighing on coach Gary Pinkel's mind at the start of the 2013 season. He was close to losing his job after going 5-7 in an injury-plagued 2012, a year in which his team looked as if it had no business playing in the SEC. That Pinkel, who is 61, from Akron, Ohio, and widely known as being an old-school coach, had no experience on how to handle an openly gay player when Sam came out in August. Duly noted. As a kid who grew up in Missouri, there's no question his job was on the line, which makes his reaction to the news an even better story for leaders everywhere. Pinkel didn't overreact. "Pinkel knows players. He knew that Sam was widely respected, popular and one of the best players on the team. He knew he had a strong senior class full of leaders. He told the Tigers that if they wanted to be successful, they had to come together and protect their family members, everybody from the freshmen to the coaches to the video staff." He leaned on his captains, and in the days after Sam came out to the team, he met with them daily, asking, "How's the team doing? What's going on?" Again, allowing and expecting others to lead. Showing them he expected it. Nice. But the coach changed in the midst of possibly losing his job and having a national story on his hands. He loosened up, rather than trying to rule the situation with an iron fist. "Pinkel changed, too. Faced with so much pressure, he let it go and loosened up. The most noticeable difference was at practice. At the urging of the seniors, Pinkel allowed the team to play music during warm-ups. In all of the years that any of them had known Pinkel, he'd never had music during warm-ups. The change allowed the players to be more relaxed and comfortable. Pinkel trusted his team. He never asked them to keep Sam's announcement a secret, even though he knew if the news had leaked, it would've been a big distraction. He just told them to respect each other and protect each other. "Coach Pinkel didn't have separate meetings pointing out how we should handle it," senior offensive lineman Justin Britt said. "I think he kind of let us learn as we went along." Ponder this. Pinkel was about to lose his job and has a potential huge distraction dumped on him before the season. But rather than try to control it, he went the other way, trusting everyone around him. Mizzou responded with a magical season, going to
  21. 21.   21   the SEC title game, finishing in the top 5 nationally and cementing Pinkel's security as the Mizzou coach for years to come. Did that happen by chance? I think not. The team responded to Pinkel's cool and took his lead. In doing that, Mizzou showed the world how to handle diversity and had the best season in the history of the program. That's leadership. Go Mizzou. *http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/10443289/missouri-blueprint-nfl
  22. 22.   22   DATA & MONEY: Run a Vasectomy/March Madness Promo at Your Company Next January…. Kris Dunn Originally Published on March 18, 2014 Heads Up - This is not your normal March Madness post about lost productivity. Your employees don't need tourney brackets to screw you out of an honest day's pay - they're waaaaaay more creative than that. Nope - this post is about how you combine March Madness, economic, medical coverage and bedroom issues that interest your employees into one big "marketing meets HR" extravaganza. You need to mark your Calendars for January 5th, 2015, at which point you'll launch a "Vasectomy/March Madness" special. I'd like to think I'm a leader in this area. Once we had the second kid, it was time to decide if we were done or not. We were done. I went to a urologist to explore the male side of family planning. My urologist was a immigrant from South America. As part of his vasectomy package, he actually told us he had to talk with us as a couple. Then he unleashes this (imagine Columbian accent): South American Urologist - "Now Mr. Dunn, are you sure you want to do this? I have to ask, because I see more and more men in their early 50's coming back with a young
  23. 23.   23   second or third wife who expects children. At that point, they're looking to reverse the vasectomy. I don't want you to be caught in those circumstances." Me - "I'm sure, doc. Have you met Mrs. Dunn? She's sitting right here." What an ass. But the deal got done. It also coincided with the purchase of our first big screen TV and conference tournament weekend in college basketball, when there's like 100 high-end games on in a single weekend. I was a leader in this area. It's now a trend - from CNN*: "A major clinic in Ohio reports it performs 40 or 50 more vasectomies a month before and during the 68-team basketball tourney. We do have (in March) typically about 50% more vasectomies than in other months," said Dr. Ed Sabanegh, chairman of the Department of Urology at the Cleveland Clinic. A lot of patients come in and say, 'I have to have this during March Madness, you have to talk to my wife about it. Tell her what my limitations are and that I need to be on the couch." Here's your opportunity HR - you launch a special next January and focus on your long term employees that look to be about done having kids and remind them of the possibilities. The women probably wish the husband would take care of it. The husbands are worried their macho level - or maybe the third wife in 13 years. You bring them together by reminding them of the possibilities of the vasectomy/March Madness combo. Maybe you throw in additional PTO and a platter from Chick-fil-A. The wife wins because it's handled. The guy wins because he gets to watch hoops. You win because you're creative, and let's face it, your medical plan doesn't need more covered dependents or pregnancies. That's win/win/win where I come from. *http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/16/us/march-madness-vasectomies/index.html
  24. 24.   24   Want to Be a Great People Manager? Don’t Watch the Ball… Kris Dunn Originally Published on August 7, 2014 I've got a simple post today. It starts with sports and rapidly moves off that. Hang in there. You know what separates good and great coaches in team sports from average ones? They don't watch the ball. Regardless of the sport, the best coaches are the ones who spend 80% of their time watching the activity off the ball. They figure the guy with the ball is going to react to what's going on and do what's necessary. But the people without the ball? That's where the action is. Off the ball is where you have people reacting to what's going on in front of them, behind them, to what they hear - all in an effort to be prepared and be in position to make a play when the opportunity presents itself. There's a world of activity going on off the ball, but almost all fans and many average coaches focus almost exclusively on the ball. You want to be a great manager of people? A great coach in your organization? Find the equivalent of "off the ball" for the people you manage and coach. Examples: • A direct report's prep (or lack thereof) to talk to an influential person in another department at your company. • Abruptness in email communication that doesn't fit the culture of your company. • Giving "gifts" of time and effort in an organization that your direct report doesn't have to - because it's good for them, you and the company - and almost always gets repaid. • A direct report's ability to give feedback to people up and down the organization in a
  25. 25.   25   way that makes everyone feel like she's looking out for them rather than telling them they suck. There's a million examples, so let your mind flow. Real coaches don't watch the ball. They coach off the ball. In sports and in companies. Be a baller as a manager. Don't watch the ball.
  26. 26.   26   Leadership Isn’t What You Read in Books… Kris Dunn Originally Published on August 7, 2014 Is Leadership something that can be learned? Or are people born leaders? Your answer probably depends on your definition of leadership. If you believe that you can gain knowledge related to leadership by listening to the various leadership gurus, reading books on leadership and watching/emulating Patton Jack Welch, then you probably believe that leadership can be learned. Or at the very least, those resources can take the leadership abilities you have and improve them within a certain range based on your genetic limitations. I tend to agree that everyone can learn how to be a better leader, although I'm not sure if what we're talking about in most situations is really leadership. It feels more like upper-end how to "manage" to me, which is valuable, but seems to fall short of the mark. Why do I feel like that? Probably because when you see someone operating as a true leader, we often sit back and say, "WOW". I'm not talking about Bob's charisma in the all-employee meeting. I'm talking about a lifestyle that shouts out "Leader!", and it's something you can't fake or learn from a book. Check out the following description of how Magic Johnson led way back when he was in
  27. 27.   27   high school (via Jackie MacMullan writes in "When the Game Was Ours", hat tip to True Hoop)*: "Magic's congeniality was a gift and a blessing to a school that was struggling to maintain order in the wake of the redistricting. There were incidents throughout Johnson's tenure at Everett between white and black students, yet the gifted young ballplayer defused much of the tension by coaxing his friends into becoming like him -- colorblind. He showed up at parties held by his white teammates, even though he and his friends were often the only blacks in attendance. He convinced his white friends to listen to his soul music and coaxed the principal into setting aside a room to dance during free study periods. He organized a protest when no African American cheerleaders were picked for the school's squad, even though their talents were undeniable. "For all his basketball skills, the biggest contribution Earvin made to Everett was race relations," said Fox. "He helped us bridge two very different cultures. He ran with the white kids, but never turned his back on the black kids. He broke down so many barriers. He was so popular the students figured 'Hey, if Earvin is hanging out with these guys, it must be okay.'" It was an Everett tradition that after the first practice of the season, the players ran around the basketball court until the last teammate was standing. Two years in a row, that person was Earvin Johnson. The summer before his senior season, Johnson's teammates Randy Shumway informed Fox that he was out to beat Magic. The two ran around the court for more than a half-hour as their teammates dropped by the wayside. After 45 minutes, both players were panting, clearly exhausted, yet neither was willing to quit. Fox was contemplating how he should break the stalemate when he noticed Johnson whispering in Shumway's ear. The two did one more lap together before Magic announced, "That's it, Coach. We're calling it a draw." "Earvin could have outlasted him," said Fox, "but he knew it would be better for team morale if he didn't." Can what Magic displayed way back in the day be learned? I think not. It's in his DNA. No book can teach you that... *http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/18735/the-magic-johnson-school-of- leadership
  28. 28.   28   UAB Football is Dead: Great Leaders Make Great Enemies Kris Dunn Originally Published on December 4, 2014 In case you missed it, UAB Football is dead. Technically, the UAB President and the university made the decision to shut down the Division 1 FBS program, which went 6-6 this year and is bowl eligible. Reasons provided by the leadership of UAB state that the program lost too much money and wasn't sustainable, but most people think it is a power play by the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System. For those of you outside the state, the University of Alabama System, which includes campuses in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Huntsville, is controlled by the same board. The University of Alabama you know is the one in Tuscaloosa (Roll Tide - hard for me to write that, but it's the best identifier for those outside the state I can provide). But the campus in Birmingham is thriving and is the 2nd biggest employer in the state of Alabama. The people who believe the Board of Trustees made the call say they're doing it to keep UAB down - to ensure UAB always plays second fiddle to the flagship campus in Tuscaloosa. Me? I think that's true, but the bigger lesson is that the Board of Trustees made the call because they were influenced by a time tested truth - Great Leaders make Big Enemies. Allow me to explain. The UAB athletic program was founded in 1977 when Gene Bartow was hired as UAB's first athletics director and men's basketball coach. They started from scratch. For those of you that don't know, Gene Bartow is now in the basketball Hall of Fame - a big deal. Bartow was well regarded enough that he was the guy that replaced John Wooden at UCLA when Wooden retired - that's also kind of a big deal. Lucky for UAB, Bartow was shocked by the booster scene in SoCal, the expectations created by Wooden's historical success at UCLA and more. He knew that he wasn't long for that
  29. 29.   29   job and was in play, available to be recruited away for the right opportunity. The fact that Bartow left UCLA to found an athletic program and basketball program from scratch says a lot about who he was. He had some rebel in him. That became an important part of the UAB story, and contributed to the death of the UAB Football program this week, which I'll explain as we roll along. Leaders aren't scared of creating something from scratch. Bartow obviously was a leader in that sense. UAB athletics, and specifically UAB Men's Basketball, shot up the chart. They drew 15,000 to their first men's basketball game and advanced to the Final 8 of the NCAA Tournament 6 years after the start of the program. They were on fire. Leaders get great organizational results in a short period of time. Bartow did this better at UAB than anyone else in the history of Division 1 athletics. My first job out of undergraduate was being a part of the UAB coaching staff from 1991 to 1994. It was a great time and introduced me to the city I now consider home - Birmingham. Check out the pic above and you'll see the gang from that time at UAB. Young KD is suited up, first guy on the second row. Working with Coach Bartow was more complex than I expected. That's OK - I was just getting exposed to the world of work and thought things should be a lot simpler than I now know they can be. From the start, Bartow was ready to fight to grow his program if he had to. Enter the natural enemy - the University of Alabama (Flagship Tuscaloosa Location). Leaders pick fights as necessary to grow their program. Bartow did this - it was
  30. 30.   30   in his DNA. Bartow's view of the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) was negatively influenced by his view of the aforementioned Board of Trustees structure. Like today, the board was dominated by Tuscaloosa supporters, and he had paranoia about that. How's the paranoid saying go? "You're not paranoid if they're really out to get you." In addition to the board structure and everything that means, Bartow was routinely fired up by recruiting wars with Wimp Sanderson at Alabama. Bartow had multiple recruits that were flipped and ended up playing for Sanderson in Tuscaloosa, and of course, Bartow felt there was foul play including money changing hands, etc. I've since met Coach Sanderson and he seems like a great guy. And if there's anything I'll say about recruiting, it's complex and complicated everywhere - including UAB. Through the years, Bartow became increasingly vocal about his views of Tuscaloosa. If he would have lived and participated in today's social media world, I'm not sure he would have survived the fallout from his views and enjoyed the same long career that he did at UAB. Leaders make big enemies because their vision is big and they have incredible drive. When I think about the death of UAB Football, I have to think about Gene Bartow. First up, he was obviously the type of leader that could build something great from scratch. He wasn't perfect, but what he built in a short period of time was incredible. A basketball school in Birmingham? Are you kidding me? As a hoops-first guy, he was way ahead of this time in understanding that he needed football to get to/stay in the big time world of college athletics. So he gave birth to a football program, and nurtured it from club, to D3, to D1 status. Tuscaloosa seethed as that was built. He didn't care. Leaders that matter rarely care who gets their feelings hurt if the greater good is served. Leaders eventually fade away and enemies kill their families if they don't have the right successor. As I look back at the history of Gene Bartow, he built something that's hard to find anywhere else. It came from the ground up, and was unapologetic in it's ambition and purpose. Unfortunately, the vision of leaders burns hot and enemies are created. UAB never had a successor in multiple leadership positions who had the same passion for what was built - a fact that's evidenced in a new president's willingness to kill the football program and neuter the vision of UAB Athletics. As a result, UAB will downgrade their conference affiliation (involuntarily - it takes football to play with the big boys, or even the medium-sized boys) and all sports will be negatively impacted. UAB's going back to a conference like the Sun Belt. Which is perfect for Tuscaloosa -
  31. 31.   31   UAB will never be a major threat in any sport due to the conference downgrade. This wasn't always the case - just look at the history of UAB Basketball (beating the Tide in 1993 in the only head to head match up, arranged by the NIT) and the fact that the football program has had some great moments (beating Nick Saban when he was at LSU, etc.). At the end of the day, killing UAB Football goes back to Gene Bartow. Great leaders make great enemies. Would I change anything that Bartow did? Hell no. I would change the succession plan that followed him. The void allowed the enemies created by the growth process to come in and kill a family member (football) and disable the rest (all other sports due to the conference downgrade that's coming). You're not paranoid if they're really out to get you. RIP UAB as a player in big time Division 1 athletics. Your founder willed you to prominence. The successors weren't strong enough to keep the wolves at bay.
  32. 32.   32   HR’s September Call Ups! Tim Sackett Originally Published on September 5, 2014 For those who aren’t big Major League Baseball (MLB) fans you probably don’t know what the “September Call-Up” or “Expanded Rosters” mean. Each year on September 1st, as the MLB season goes into its final month, the league allows teams to invite players from their minor league teams and the roster number expands from 25 to 40. For teams who are out of the playoff race, this allows them to give some younger guys an opportunity to perform on a larger stage. For those in playoff races, or teams that have already solidified a playoff berth, the extra players allow them to rest some regulars. For playoff teams these extra 15 players can’t play in actual playoff games, only in the final regular season games. Ok, Tim – why the hell should we care about Major League Baseball’s September Call- ups? In any HR shop I’ve ever worked in, or with any HR Pro I’ve ever had a conversation with, Succession Planning is always an issue HR Pros struggle with in their organizations. Many times sports shows us there is a way that it can be done. You just need to find a way to tailor it to your environment, and I think the MLB gives us a window to how a competitive organization attempts to get this done. Succession is difficult and costly, there is no way around it. If your organization is truly trying to do succession and not spend money, it won’t be pretty and it probably won’t be effective. To really know a person has the ability to step into someones shoes when they leave, you have to see them actually do the job. In most organizations this just isn’t an option. How many of us have the ability to pull out a high performer from their current position, and put them into a new position, while the other person is still in that position? Not many of us! It’s just not a reality most of live in. Baseball’s September call-ups is one strategy that you might be able to use within your organization. While pulling someone full-time into a new position, might not be
  33. 33.   33   something you could do, could you do it for 30 days? Before telling me you can’t what would you do it that same person had a medical issue and had to be hospitalized or home-bound for a month? You’d make it, you’d get by, that’s what we do in organizations. The team would rally and make it work. So, giving someone a 1 month succession stint into a new potential role – full immersion – would actually give you some decent insight to whether or not the person could actually handle that role in the future, or at least show you some great development needs that have to ensure success. Is it perfect? No – but that’s why it works. We don’t get perfect in HR – we get good enough and move onto the next fire. We don’t get million dollar budgets to formalize succession and have a bench full of high performing talent to just step in when someone leaves our organization. It’s our job to figure out succession, while we figure out how to keep the lights on at the same time. I love the September Call-Up – gives me insight to the future of my team, shows me how someone performs in an environment that doesn’t pigeonhole them forever, and let’s me know if they show some potential for The Show!
  34. 34.   34   On the Billion Dollar Bracket Matthew Stollak Originally Published on March 17, 2014 Its my favorite week of the year....spring break combined with what should be national days off - the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday and Friday. I'm sure many of you are researching heavily trying to put together your winning bracket for your office pool. Others are going to adopt a "Go By The Gut" approach. Every year many sites sponsor a prize for the top bracket. This year is different. Quicken Loans, in conjunction with Warren Buffet, are offering a $1 billion prize (If you win, you can take $25 million a year for 40 years or a $500 million check right away) if you are able to put together a perfect bracket. That means one has to pick all 32 opening round games correct, all Sweet 16 games, the Elite 8, the Final Four, and the championship game - 63 games in all. Is Buffett taking a risk? The odds of putting together a perfect bracket are 1:9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (9 quintillion to 1). To win the $400 MegaMillions jackpot is just a mere 1 in about 258.9 million. Most (if not all) brackets will be finished by 6 p.m. on Friday. But, let's say the truly unlikely happens and one gets to the National Championship game with his/her perfect bracket intact? Buffett says he isn't worried about individuals fixing the games. However, if $500 million was on the line: • How do you not hedge (i.e. if you pick MSU to win it all against Michigan) by placing a bet on Michigan just in case? Would your mortgage your house? What kind of loan could you possibly get to bet against your pick (just to be safe)? 1 million? 5
  35. 35.   35   million? 10 million? More? • Would you offer every player on Michigan several million dollars to throw the game? I'd like to see someone get to that point just to see what kind of scrutiny and pressure would be put on that result.
  36. 36.   36   CHAPTER 2 Staffing and Career Considerations
  37. 37.   37   Choosing Your Benchmarks Wisely and the Legacy of David Stern Steve Boese Originally Published on February 4, 2014 Over the weekend I had a brief Tweet exchange with the HR Capitalist, Kris Dunn, and another Fistful of Talent colleague the very underrated R.J. Morris about the legacy of the very recently retired after a 30 year run Commissioner of the NBA David Stern. The gist of the conversation regarding Stern was this: By most measures of internal comparison, i.e. taking where the NBA was in terms of hard metrics like revenue, franchise values, player salaries, international growth, etc., Stern presided over a long and sustained period if incredible growth for the league. By every internal standard, the NBA is in a far, far better and more financially successful place today than it was when Stern became commissioner. But Stern has his critics too, and rather than dig into all the specific and sometimes subtle elements of his stewardship of the NBA, let's focus on just one. Namely, that while Stern did, by most accounts, a superb job of growing the NBA, it is still far, far less popular and financially and culturally massive (at least in the USA) as the National Football League. The NFL is the proverbial 300lb gorilla of modern American sports. It has widespread appeal, its game telecasts rank among the most popular TV programs week in and week out, the the culmination of the season, the Super Bowl game, has become such an important and ubiquitous event that there are fairly serious proposals that the Monday following the game be designated as a national holiday. The NFL is #1, by every measure that matters, and when holding up the NBA to that mirror, well then the Association falls short, a distant second really, (and possibly even third behind Major League Baseball), and consequently then Commissioner Stern must be judged as not having really been such a transcendent sports business leader. But I think that comparison is a little unfair, and perhaps even a little premature, (even as Stern retires). I think if we let the evolution of both American professional sports, and societal and global trends play out a little longer, I think this kind of comparison, or benchmark of basketball to American football will end up looking quite a bit different, and Stern, long gone from the scene, will have to be credited for at least some of these developments. To me, the NBA is like Apple Computers, in the latter part of the 90s. The NFL, the behemoth, is Microsoft of that same time. Back then, Microsoft was the undisputed leader in personal and corporate computing technology, was led by a legendary and visionary Bill Gates, and simply dwarfed everyone else in its space with its vise-like grip over almost every interaction you had with a computer. Apple was still interesting, quirky, made a different kind of computer that had its adherents, but never was seen as a serious threat to the MSFT ecosystem. And then something called the iPod came out and things started to change. You know
  38. 38.   38   the story and I don't need to go into all the Apple innovations and the subsequent (or concurrent) missteps from Redmond, but suffice to say the technology world in 2014 does not look anything like it did in 1998 or so. So back to my NBA and NFL take, and the need to give Stern some room before we all start deciding about his legacy. I submit that about 15 years from now the NBA will be almost, if not more popular (in America and globally), than the NFL for the following reasons: 1. Basketball, and by extenstion the NBA, is largely an urban or city game. The game is mostly played and celebrated, in America's big cities - New York, Chicago, Boston, L.A.. And America (and the rest of the world) is becoming a more urban place as well. As more people migrate to the larger cities, the city game, basketball, will continue to thrive, often at the expense of football, a game that requires expansive grounds on which to play, lots of expensive equipment, and the type of space not easily found in a big city. 2. Basketball is a global game, played all over the world, while American football is played (seriously) pretty much only in America. As the world shrinks, cultural and sporting phenomena like the NFL, that have only single-country relevance, will eventually become somewhat marginalized over time. While the NFL dominates the American sporting landscape, it hardly registers anywhere else in the world. The NBA, with its global reach, and high number of non-American players is far ahead of the NFL in this regard. Just witness the growing popularity of English Soccer here in the US as a small example of this trend. 3. The talent supply chain is constricting for the NFL. Due to its violent nature, more and more parents are electing to keep their kids out of full-contact football. Every football player gets injured at some point in a season, and as the NFL has learned, many of these injuries can have incredibly serious and devastating repercussions. The recent concussion-related lawsuits, settlements, and high-profile former players revealing their stories of traumatic brain injury are beginning to cast a longer and longer shadow over not just the NFL, but the beginnings or feeder systems for their talent. This will play out over time, surely, but even today if you were the parent of a very talented and gifted athlete, would you steer him toward a violent sport like football where he is likely to have at least a few concussions over time, or a sport like basketball where the injury risks are much less? 4. At the top, I said this was going to be a 'quick take', turns out I was wrong. Sorry about that. 5. The NBA understands social media and new media in general. This is certainly subjective, but if you look at how the league and its teams have embraced digital and social over the last few years, you see an organization that is more forward-thinking than most others. This is a by-product of the NBA's long time strategy that elevates and promotes its star players and personalities. Think about it, only the most ardent NFL fans
  39. 39.   39   can name more than a handful of players on their favorite team, and even less would be recognizable. If the new world of media and commerce is about engagement and connection, then the NBA is in a much stronger place than the NFL, where the vast majority of players are faceless and anonymous. I probably could keep going on this, but I think I have made enough points for now, and besides, I have to get on a plane. But the bottom line to me, taking us back to the question of David Stern and his legacy I think we have to let some of these cultural and global trends play out a little longer before we dismiss Stern (and the NBA) as being somehow inferior to the NFL. Compare the NBA of 1984 to the NBA of today and then no question, Stern was a great leader and executive. Compare the NBA of 2014 to the NFL of 2014 and sure you could say he fell short, but I say we need to let these shifts develop. Apple wasn't Apple back in 1998. But the world changes, sometimes faster, sometimes slower than we like or anticipate. And being on top of the food chain, even if you have been there awhile doesn't guarantee you that spot forever. Just ask Microsoft.
  40. 40.   40   Is “In What Month Were You Born?” A Valid Interview Question? Steve Boese Originally Published on April 15, 2014 Check out the chart below, a birth month distribution of about 240,000 professional soccer players taken from a database that tracks player signing and transfers and was compiled by David Bauer: Notice anything strange in the pattern distribution? How about the unusually high (relative) percentages of professional soccer players born in the first quarter of the year, particularly in January (11.3%), and the relatively lower percentages of players that were born at the end of the year (down to a low of 6.5% in December). It might not seem like that much of a disparity, but consider a similar chart that shows the birth month distribution of the entire population of the European Union, (below), and you can see some striking differences. As you can see from the total EU chart, people are born more or less consistently across
  41. 41.   41   the months of the year, with only small differences in percentages born in the highest percentage months. But professional soccer players? They show a striking and increased likelihood to be born in the first three months of the year. This phenomenon is attributed to the traditional soccer (and other sports as well) youth development process that groups players of the same age (Under 10, Under 16, etc.), for training and competitions. The theory then is that at those younger ages the physical size and skill differentials between an Under 10 year old player born in January and one born in December are really large, and noticeable. The player born in January then receives more attention, better coaching, more opportunities, etc., as he/she is simply deemed a better prospect than the player born in December. This then plays out again and again over time resulting in more of the 'early year' born players making it to the professional levels. No one knows if this is really true and explains the birth month disparity of professional soccer players compared to the overall population, but it does seem at least plausible. So circle this back to your HR/Talent shop. Does this kind of analysis make sense for you to consider? Is there a similar performance effect that can be seen in other types of occupations besides professional soccer based on birth month distribution? Are comparatively "older for their grade level" people likely to turn out to be better at more than just playing sports? Do you care about the birth month of a candidate or an employee? I don't know. I guess it seems unlikely. But even so there is still a takeaway from this data which is this: If you want little Junior to grow up to be a pro soccer player, you may want to plan around a January birth date, (if it isn't too late).
  42. 42.   42   It’s Tough to Succeed a Legend Steve Boese Originally Published on April 23, 2014 From the sports world yet another enduring and timeless lesson in talent and career management. Here is the headline - Manchester United sacks manager David Moyes. Some backstory. Manchester United is one of the most well-known and successful soccer clubs in the world. They are the defending champions of the English Premier League, (arguably the best league in the world), and regularly compete at the highest levels of European club soccer in the Champions League. At the end of last season, Manchester United's longtime and legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down, capping a stellar managerial career with his 13th Premier League title in 26 seasons at the helm. Ferguson was (and will probably will always be, given the nature of English soccer), by far the most successful club manager of the Premier league era. For USA readers who might not be familiar, think of Ferguson as some kind of combination of John Wooden, Vince Lombardi, Phil Jackson, and Red Auerbach. Except even more successful and globally famous. The kind of legend with the track record of exemplary performance that is tough, if not impossible to replace. No matter who stepped in for Ferguson, even Ferguson's hand- picked successor Moyes, it was going to be an almost impossibly difficult pair of shoes to fill. When someone has been so astronomically successful, over such a long period of time, and achieved legendary status in the organization and industry, then no matter how prepared and talented the successor is, it is going to be almost impossible for them to match (or even approach) the standards that have been established before them. Succeeding a legend, in sports or in any business really, is such a risky, dicey proposition that it makes sense for super talented people to avoid it at almost any cost, tempting and enticing as it may seem.
  43. 43.   43   Again, taking it back to the sports angle: Can you name the coaches that succeeded John Wooden, Vince Lombardi, Phil Jackson, or Red Auerbach? The answer is, 'Of course not.' No one remembers them because the combination of almost impossibly hard to match performance standards and the huge shadow that their legendary predecessors cast proved to be a combination even previously successful and competent performers, (like David Moyes), could not overcome. Trust me, you DO NOT want to try and succeed a legend. You want to be the person that succeeds the person who succeeds the legend, just after they fail. Postscript: This isn't just a sports phenomenon. Ask Tim Cook how things are going at Apple these days.
  44. 44.   44   You Have to Get Lighter As You Get Older Steve Boese Originally Published on August 8, 2014 Recent buzz around NBA circles, (no, this post is not ANOTHER one just about basketball, I promise - just hang with it for a second), has been the off-season weight loss of superstar player LeBron James, (see the new, slimmer LBJ from a crop of one of LBJ's Instagram pics for some visual evidence). The general line of thinking around LeBron's trim down this off season is that as NBA players get older (and LeBron is not 'old' in the normal sense, but he does have 10+ years in the NBA at this point), carrying less weight helps to keep knees, ankles, backs, etc. less likely to break down over the course of a long season. It is a pretty simple and obvious realization for basketball players and anyone else really - the less bulk you are dragging around makes it easier on the other parts of the body that are tasked with hauling that bulk. And for us non-NBA players, being lighter makes it infinitely easier to just navigate daily life - hustling through airports, getting in and out of your car, tossing the ball around with little Timmy or the frisbee to your adorable little dog. Being lighter just helps sometimes. But I think that advice, You have to get lighter as you get older, doesn't just apply in that literal, physical sense, it also has some value in a mental/emotional way as well. We are not just carrying around with us the physical accumulation of all the bad decisions we might have made at the buffet line or the donut shop, most of us our lugging around a pretty sizable collection of guilt or resentment or disappointment or even clinging for too long to some kind of romanticized version of the past that was probably never that romantic back then, and is certainly not ever coming back even if it did exist once. At work, we might be carrying around the excess weight of outdated processes, legacy technologies, and a history of 'that is the way we do things around here' that may no longer have value or relevance to what you and the organization really needs today.
  45. 45.   45   Letting go of things, both physical as in a weight loss or with cutting loose material possessions like cars or houses or old clothes, or simply dropping bad habits as a way to move forward is not some kind of new idea or concept, and certainly not one I claim any specific insight towards. It's been talked about and done for ages. But I do think in some ways modern technology and social networks and our tendency to want/need/have to be always connected, makes letting go a little bit harder than it used to be. It seems like sometimes the digital connections (combined with the ease of which most of us can be contacted via these networks), make getting lighter harder than in used to be, and harder than it should be. Someone is always out there on the the end of their iPhone and is either trying to actively hold us back or is just making it more difficult to move forward because we know they're watching. And that kind of stinks. But putting that aside, I also wanted to mention that LeBron looks really happy in most of these latest 'Slimmer LBJ' pictures. And while it is easy to say that LeBron should be happy all the time, after all he is a mega-rich superstar athlete, he is underneath it all a person like anyone else. He probably isn't happy all the time, even if most of the rest of us can't relate to that. He also, like most of the rest of us in our careers, need to make changes and adjustments to prepare for the next phase of his career that he is moving towards, one where he will soon be an aging player that needs to adapt to remain on top. If getting lighter as you get older and to move forward works for the most famous athlete in the world it will probably work for you too.
  46. 46.   46   To Fail This Often, You Have to be Pretty Good Steve Boese Originally Published on November 12, 2014 Quick post from the Western NY satellite office of The 8 Man Rotation - wanted to point out an important NBA milestone that happened last night: Lakers star Kobe Bryant set the record for most missed shots for an NBA career. From the ESPN piece* on the 'achievement': Kobe Bryant made history Tuesday, setting the NBA record for missed field goals. The Los Angeles Lakers star set the mark with 6:22 left in the fourth quarter of a 107- 102 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. He missed a 14-foot fadeaway jumper from the left side, giving him 13,418 career missed field goals, one more than Boston Celtics legend John Havlicek Asked about the record, Bryant, who scored a game-high 28 points on 10-of-26 shooting and finished with 13,421 misses for his career, smiled and said he wasn't aware of it. "Nah, I don't follow that stuff, man," he said. How does he explain setting the mark? "Well, I'm a shooting guard that's played 19 years," he said, shrugging and smiling. He later added, "Like I said, 'shooting' guard, 19th year." Wow, over 13,000 missed shots in a career, more than any other player. You would think that this ignominious mark speaks pretty badly of our man Kobe. But before you come down too hard on the Mamba, take a quick look at the next half-dozen or so names on the 'Most career missed shots' leader board John Havlicek - (Celtics legend from the 60s and 70s, Hall of Fame member) Elvin Hayes - (The Big 'E', great scored and rebounder in the 70s, Hall of Fame member) Karl Malone - (The Mailman, Utah Jazz legend, possibly greatest power forward ever, Hall of Fame member) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - (the NBA's all-time leading scorer, Hall of Fame member) Michael Jordan - (probably greatest player of all time, Hall of Fame member) I think you get the idea here. In order to be able to miss so many shots, you have to be
  47. 47.   47   an amazingly good and valuable player. Players who can't actually perform are not kept around long enough to climb very high on this kind of 'failure' list. The bigger picture takeaway from the 'Kobe has missed more shots than anyone' story? That in many fields (sales, content marketing, natural resource exploration, showing price pigs at the county fair....), failure might come just as often, if not more, than success. You have to be out there competing, hustling, working it in order to fail so often. And your best performers, maybe even you, are naturally going to fail, sometimes often. But that might be ok. I will leave this story with a quote from Kobe, asked to comment on over 13,000 misses over 19 years: "You've got to go out and figure that out and play and do the best you can, and whatever happens, happens. You can't be held captive by the fear of failure or the fear of what people may say." If you are open, take the shot. • http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/11862042/kobe-bryant-los-angeles- lakers-sets-nba-record-missed-field-goals
  48. 48.   48   Prepare to be Disappointed Steve Boese Originally Published on December 10, 2014 8 Man Rotation favorite: Dennis “German Rondo” Schroeder The full title of this post really should be 'Prepare to be disappointed: The 2014-2015 New York Knicks', but I wanted to at least try not to scare away any potential readers, particularly ones that get tired of the 8 Man Rotation 'Sports and HR' posts. I promise this post isn't really about the Knicks or sports, not completely anyway. The backstory: I arrived back home at HR Happy Hour HQ at about 7:55PM ET last night and realized that it was about 5 minutes before the tip off time for the Knicks, (my favorite NBA team since forever, my favorite holiday picture from my childhood features a 5 or 6 year old me sporting New York Knicks pajamas that Santa had bestowed), who were matched up against the New Orleans Pelicans, (not a very good team, but better than the Knicks, much like just about every other team so far this year is better than the Knicks). As I quickly gathered up some snacks and a needed beverage, scurrying to be in my favored easy chair for the start of the game the thought that popped into my mind was that all I was really doing was preparing to be disappointed - the Knicks are one of the worst teams in the league and have lost a number of close games recently, the kinds of losses that really sting for longtime fans (and I suppose the players too). Heading into last night's game, there was no logical reason to expect the Knicks would be able to defeat the Pelicans, I didn't think they had much of a chance anyway, so all I was doing by planning my evening, (partially), around watching the game was really just preparing to be disappointed by the eventual Knicks loss. OK, that was a lot of nonsense about basketball to get me to the point, so here goes. I have ceased letting Knicks loss after loss bother me. Sure, I would rather they were better; I would enjoy more frequent wins. But I get that this is not going to be a very good year for them. And so as a hedge against the Knicks stumbling and bumbling, I have adopted the much better (and much more fun to watch), Atlanta Hawks as my proxy
  49. 49.   49   team for the season. The Hawks have a solid winning record so far this season, play an upbeat and entertaining style of basketball, and, importantly, have never been a significant or hated rival to my Knicks. They have always just been another team in the league, so supporting them is not really traitorous to my team, but rather serves as a way for me to keep invested in something I enjoy, (NBA basketball), while not allowing the terrible Knicks team to ruin the overall experience of the sport. So now the point (no one has kept reading until this point I am thinking). The Knicks, and there relentless way of disappointing me and their other fans probably represent a lot of our real lives too. Jobs that we really can't stand. Managers that are always on our cases. Co-workers that let us down, (at best), or stab us in the back (more likely). Significant others that just seem to do the same annoying things over and over again. And if you have kids, well, I don't need to delineate all the ways they manage to exasperate, frustrate, and yes, even disappoint us. How do we deal with all that, with all that disappointment? I think we have to find the version of the Atlanta Hawks in all these varying situations. The part, even if it small or insignificant, that is pretty reliably positive. The element that we can latch on to in a bad situation and take something positive from. There is something about your crappy job that has value. Your slacker boyfriend probably takes good care of your cat. There is likely at least one person amongst the clowns you work with from which you can learn something. This isn't about seeing the bright side in a given, bad situation, it is about seeing a different side. I am stuck supporting the terrible Knicks because they are my team. But I can still take enjoyment from the Hawks, (up until they play the Knicks), without being a traitor. And you can find something to love about your job while not betraying your very real hatred for it. Ok, that is it, I am out. Note: It is halftime of the Knicks-Pelicans game. The Knicks are only down by 2. Maybe I won't be disappointed after all.
  50. 50.   50   Do’s and Don’ts of Accepting Offers of Employment: NBA DRAFT VERSION Kris Dunn Originally Published on June 27, 2014 I like hoops - a lot. So I consumed 5 hours of NBA Draft coverage last night. Wow. What did I learn? I learned a lot about the right way to accept offers of employment. I watched the draft with my sons (ages 14 and 11), and any time I watch things on TV with my boys, they have to listen to the world according to Kris Dunn. They're lucky like that. Three lessons from the NBA Draft related to reacting to offers and marketing yourself as a candidate: 1. First up, you really need to act like you've been there before. DO NOT BREAK INTO A HUGE SOUL SHAKE ROUTINE WITH A PERSON TWICE YOUR AGE. Also, if you're a parent of new grad accepting an offer, resist the urge to helicopter in or do anything to jeopardize your kid's ability to be taken seriously by his future employer. Nik Stauskas, drafted 8th overall by the Sacramento Kings, failed this test. So did his dad. That's Nik performing a planned routine/soulshake with a degree of difficulty of 8.2 More importantly, the dude he's doing it with is his dad. And yes, it ended with both of them throwing up 3-goggles. As a former caucasian guard, I can tell you that the world will give you the latitude of the soul shake and 3- Goggles if you make it in pro hoops. Your dad does not need to be part of the process. Reminds me of this article on Johnny Manziel where his dad is sharing stories of togetherness with Johnny Football and is proud of their exploits that included double punches in the nuts as a father/son activity. Me thinks Dad needs to be the grown up. 2. Next - If you're good enough to be drafted in the NBA, make sure your resume/video montage includes a large degree of self- confidence. A GREAT WAY TO SHOW SWAGGER IS TO HAVE THE DEEP HEAD NOD AS YOU TURN TOWARD THE CAMERA LIKE YOU ARE BOUNCING TO AN ASAP ROCKY CUT. PJ Hariston has it down. That's confidence people. No doubts exist in PJ. 3. If the only employment that's available exists at a place you don't want to work, resist the urge to curse right after the offer has been
  51. 51.   51   delivered verbally. Not a lot of basketball players want to work in Minnesota these days, including Zach Lavine from UCLA. Watch his lips for the "f me.” Whoops! So to sum up the learning for the Dunn brothers from the draft: 1. I'm not soul shaking/3-goggling with you during the most important moments of your life. 2. Understated Swagger isn't all bad. 3. Don't drop F-bombs on the phone when someone makes you a verbal offer. My kids love having me drop the HR knowledge on them while we watch sports. DVR and rewind has made it our own personal classroom.
  52. 52.   52   Googling Candidates: Ray Rice Version… Kris Dunn Originally Published on December 2, 2014 Ah yes, Googling candidates. Read enough HR Magazine or talk to employment lawyers, and they'll tell you Googling candidates is questionable at best, as is looking at candidates on social media. You could get sued. You could factor things into a selection process that really shouldn't be evaluated. You know what's riskier than Googling candidates? Not Googling candidates. Just ask your CEO. He wants you to go deep on candidates, to make sure a limited number of freaks make it through. Social media – and life in general as now indexed via the Googleplex – is evolutionary. People make mistakes in judgment (what they share on social media) and in life (what gets indexed by Google and more specific, database driven services like Lexus/Nexus). You should be using every resource available to get all the info you can on candidates. Ask your CEO over drinks, and he'll tell you he wants you using those resources 10 out of 10 times. Because the people who tell you doing so is a bad idea aren't responsible for meeting your bottom line. They're vendors.
  53. 53.   53   Case in point, Ray Rice. Rice is the guy who infamously punched his wife out cold in an Atlantic City casino elevator. He's just been cleared to play for any NFL team. At this writing, no one has picked him up, mainly because all the teams have PERFECT INFORMATION ON THIS CANDIDATE. Your candidates? Perfect information doesn't exist. But you're a sucker if you don't use what's available to get a vibe on people. Can that lead to discrimination suits, etc? Yeah. But if your HR department is the one taking a look – not the hiring manager – I like your odds of keeping that to a minimum. Our country is founded on second chances, and most people get those. Ray Rice will play somewhere, but he may have to sit out a year. You probably hired at least 5 people last year out of every 100 hired at your company you would have thought long and hard about had you deep googled them and did a social media scan. I trust your judgment – so does your CEO. And he wants you to Google the hell out of every candidate you hire.
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  55. 55.   55   Hiring Back an Employee Who Left You Tim Sackett Originally Published on January 10, 2014 Did you see what happened last week on the college football carousel? The University of Louisville hired their ex-coach, and current Western Kentucky Coach, Bobby Petrino. For those who don’t know the Bobby Petrino story check out his detailed coaching timeline on SB Nation* (it’s awesome!) – I’ll give you a five second tour: I. Hired Head Football Coach at University of Louisville – doing great (2004) II. Hired Head Coach NFL Atlanta Falcons (Jan. 2007) – didn’t do great III. Leaves mid-season and takes University of Arkansas Head Coach job – did good (December 2007) IV. Head Coach Arkansas, has a motorcycle crash with a 25 year old female assistant on the back that wasn’t his wife and that he was having an affair with, and that he hired – Power drunk. (April 2012) V. Fired as Head Coach at Arkansas – not good (April 2012) VI. Hired Head Football Coach Western Kentucky University- did good (December 2012) VII. Hired Head Football Coach University of Louisville. (January 2013) There’s a bunch of other luggage along the way that SB Nation points out which leads me to only one question – Was it a good hire by Louisville to take Bobby Petrino back? I asked a couple of my friends and fellow #8ManRotation authors this same question – here are their responses: Matt (akaBruno) Stollak:
  56. 56.   56   How much time off does a mercurial talent deserve before being brought back? Is Jim Tressel looking at the Petrino hiring and thinking he is up next? Similarly, how do Louisville Football Core Values** continue to exist when Petrino has blatantly violated #1 and #2. Is it all about winning? What message does it send to staff and players? Steve (Mr. HR Tech) Boese: Even a cynic like me is surprised by this move. I guess the argument was he hit rock bottom and now has done the football equivalent of finding Jesus or something, But it is also about positioning, Louisville does not want to be a stepping stone job between the MAC and the Big 10 or SEC, (they are delusional about this, but I think it is true). So at some level they see this hire as a the best they could do with that in mind. No successful power conference coach would leave for Louisville so with Petrino they find the closest they could to that ideal. Petrino going to Western Kentucky after his biggest screw up at Arkansas and before coming back to Louisville also serves to give Louisville some cover on this. It is kind of like Western Kentucky took at least some of the flak for letting the guy back in to the world of coaching and at least in theory that will diminish the heat that Louisville is going to take. Kind of like Petrino went to jail (getting canned at Arkansas), then got released to probation, (Western Kentucky), and now the ankle bracelet has been finally cut off (back to Louisville). Here’s my take: The best hires that most companies will never make are the ones like this. He was great for us. Went someplace else and had a meltdown. Now we won’t hire him back either. For some reason, he was great with you. Don’t discount what certain environments, certain cultures, etc. will do for someone’s performance. Bobby Petrino is a broken man, coming home to where he had his most success. This might turn out to a great hire for Louisville. What do you think? *http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2014/1/9/5288648/bobby-petrino-louisville- scandal-timeline **http://ftw.usatoday.com/2013/06/louisville-footballs-core-team-values-include-no-guns-no-drugs/
  57. 57.   57   The Organization with the Most Expensive Selection Mistakes Is? Tim Sackett Originally Published on May 8, 2014 The NFL. This Thursday that NFL will perform their annual selection process on ESPN, with their annual draft. Just like you, they have no idea what they’re doing, but act like they figured out the secret sauce to great selection. The big difference between you and the NFL, their mistakes costs them a lot more money! Check out this chart from BI* on the NFL Draft Guaranteed Contracts: This chart basically shows you that the best, or highest, first round pick will get about $22 million guaranteed, while the lower third round picks will get $600k in guaranteed money over the life of their contract. How would you like that level of possible expense in your selection process!? All that money, all that time, all that research, and the NFL draft is still basically a crap shoot. The pick people, like you pick people. “Well, we really like Johnny’s football IQ and he just seems so personable! What the hell, let’s pay him $15M!” What!?!
  58. 58.   58   “Well, we know his ‘past performance’ in college. We know all his ‘performance metrics’. We gave him a personality profile. We ‘feel’ like he’s a safe bet and potential high performer.” It’s really not that different from you picking a $50,000 per year sales professional. Many organizations put as much into their hiring selections, as the NFL puts into picking their draft selections. Obviously, the NFL has more resources to throw at their process, so they probably have a few more bells and whistles. But, they have no more success than you. The ones who do the best, like you, are not only concerned about the ‘big’ hires/selections – your executive hires, their high first and second round draft picks, but put as much research and resources into each hire. Making a great selection in the 7th round might be as valuable, long term, as making a great first round selection. Just as you making a great entry level sales hire, might be as valuable, or more, to making a really solid Director level hire. The learning on all of this? You can’t take hires off. There are no ‘throw away’ hires, just as there are no throw away draft picks for great NFL teams. • http://www.businessinsider.com/nfl-draft-contracts-2014-5
  59. 59.   59   Prospective Employee Camp Tim Sackett Originally Published on September 2, 2014 In athletic recruitment there are these things called ‘Prospect’ camps. Depending on who you talk to these are either just coaching staff supplemental income, or serious recruitment functions needed to get prospective student athletes on campus. Whatever they are, they’re a little genius! Here’s how the entire system works. Usually an assistant coach emails your kid, who has a dream to play college athletics, that they are having a prospect camp and you’re invited to attend, for $150. Two things just happened: 1. Your kid just got an email from a college coach; 2. That coach insinuated that your kid is a ‘prospect’! Either way, there’s a good chance you’ll bite and pay the $150. A couple of things happen at these camps. Coaches actually invite players they really do have interest in, and they invite anyone else who is willing to pay $150! So, a hundred kids show up, two or three which have actual ability to play college athletics, and they go through drills and modified games. You instantly know who has ability because the coaches spend time with those kids. If your kid doesn’t have a coach talking to him or her, they don’t have ability. It’s a real quick and easy way to set your own expectations. These camps are a necessary evil of the function of recruitment. While most parents don’t like them, they all pay the money and have their kids attend. These prospect camps got me to thinking if we in HR could do this in our organizations. Could we charge $150 to have potential employees come in and check us out, while we check them out? We run them through some tests, show them our
  60. 60.   60   facilities, make them compete against others in their same job function, spend time with our employees. At the end of the day, we offer a couple of them jobs. Could it work? Maybe not for the average organization, but what about Google or Apple or some other big organization that has thousands wanting jobs with their company? I think it could work. The one issue we face is the expectation. “Well, I paid $150 what do I get for this?!” We would have to deliver $150 worth of ‘value’ in these Prospective Employee Camps. I think that is probably the easy part. Think interview skills, resume skills, leadership skills, some hardcore job function skills based on what they actually do. It’s part self- development, and part dating game. People pay millions of dollars per to sites to find their perfect romantic match, with most failing to do so. Prospective Employee Camps might just be a way for your organization to set itself a part from all the noise, and get candidates to come in that truly interested in (I’m willing to pay to be here, truly) and want to be a part of your organization. I know, crazy idea, but when you see it work in one area it just begs to be tried in another!
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  62. 62.   62   Success is Relative Tim Sackett Originally Published on December 4, 2014 It’s that time of year when college football coaches get fired because they weren’t ‘successful’. This year’s unsuccessful coach of the year has to be Nebraska’s Bo Pelini. Here are some of his stats: - Won 9 games every year he has coached at Nebraska. Not averaged 9 wins. He’s won 9 games each year! - 67-27 overall record – a +.700 winning percentage That seems pretty freaking good! How many of you would take 9 wins each year from your favorite college football team (Alabama fans you can’t participate!)? I’m a huge Michigan State fan and we’ve been fortunate to have double digit win totals four out of the last five years and we’re on cloud nine! If you asked me five years ago if I would take 9 wins per year for the next five, I would have bought it for sure! Here’s what Bo didn’t do: - No conference titles
  63. 63.   63   - No BCS bowl appearances - At least 3 losses each season 99% of fans in the country would take 7 years in a row of 9 wins each year. Because most of us will never come close that success on our best year. That’s why success is relative. Think of this with your own hires and employees. You judge success of your new sales person on the results of the sales person that just left. If your new sales person sells $1 million worth of products, and the old guy sold only $750K, the new person is a rock star. That same new sales person is judge against your all time sales person at $2 million, and suddenly, they’re a piece of crap. Nebraska holds their coaching hires against legendary Nebraska coach Tom Osborne who won 13 conference championships and 3 national titles. This is why comparing individuals in terms of performance never really works out well. A better way is to determine what does ‘good’ performance look like in your environment, no matter the individual. Also, what does great performance look like. Then measure your employees against those metrics, not an individual who might have been good or bad. Most organizations struggle with this concept, because defining good and great performance is hard. It’s easy to compare. Don’t allow yourself and your organization to take the easy road. It doesn’t lead you to where you want to go. Do I believe Bo should have been fired? Yes, but not because of his won/loss record. Bo wasn’t a fit, culturally, with Nebraska football. Bo had a short fuse and lost it publicly and on the field way too often for cameras to see. This isn’t what Nebraska people want from their coach. They’re extremely loyal fans, and don’t like to be embarrassed. Yes, they want to win, but it’s not a win-at-any-cost fandom that we’ve been accustom to seeing recently in major college athletics. Win, but win with pride and respect for the history of the program. That’s tough. Nine wins per year, apparently doesn’t do that!
  64. 64.   64   Should Your “A” Players Recruit For Your Organization? Matthew Stollak Originally Published on June 30, 2014       Its long been mantra that great employees want to work with other great employees. The organization can only be better when great employees see others putting out quality effort. In "First, Break All The Rules," Marcus Buckingham wrote that one of the critical 12 questions that measures the strength of an organization is "Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?" Interesting news, then, from the NBA, as the star of the Chicago Bulls is shying away from selling the organization to prospective players - in particular, talented free agent Carmelo Anthony. According to Yahoo Sports*, The Chicago Bulls are expected to pursue Carmelo Anthony in free agency. They just shouldn't expect Derrick Rose to participate in the recruiting. Rose told Yahoo Sports on Sunday that he doesn't plan to recruit Anthony – or any free agent, for that matter – even though he likes Anthony's game and thinks they can play alongside each other. Rose's reason is simple: He said it's "not his job." "My thing is if they want to come, they can come," Rose said. The goal of every player and team is to win that world championship (though some would rather make that max contract). Each player should be looking at how they could make their team better. Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose's teammate, has been doing everything possible to get Carmelo to come to Chicago**:
  65. 65.   65   According to several sources, including a teammate, Noah's All-Star Weekend “conversation'' with New York Knicks standout Carmelo Anthony didn't end in New Orleans. They had discussions via text the rest of the season, including the day after the Bulls were eliminated in the playoffs by the Washington Wizards. “I was kidding Jo that they were boys now,'' a source said in a phone interview Friday. “  ‘Well, get your boy to come to Chicago.'  '' Sources said Noah has been in Anthony's ear as often as possible, and he has told other Bulls to push hard for Anthony this summer. But there is one condition: Backup big man Taj Gibson can't be sacrificed. So, what is the obligation of your superstar to sell your organization to prospective candidates? Does he or she have any responsibility, particularly when fellow employees are making a strong push as well? *http://sports.yahoo.com/news/derrick-rose-doesn-t-plan-to-recruit-carmelo- anthony-to-bulls-021144469.html **  http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24549864/report-joakim- noah-has-been-in-carmelo-anthonys-ear-since-all-star-weekend

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