Tagged: Sports

Draft Your Team Like an NFL General Manager

Guest Blogger: Marc Prine PhD

With the NFL Draft on its way, there are few things that can make or break a team’s season and the career of a General Manager (GM) more than a bad draft decision. Similarly, there are a few things that can stall your company’s growth like a bad hire. In both situations, a bad decision will waste time and money and cause aggravation.

Both the NFL GM and the hiring manager are trying to make predictive decisions on how an individual will perform based on all of the information available to them. The average company looks at a person’s education, previous working experience, references and performance in what is typically an unstructured interview. The GM looks at a player’s college career, performance on physical drills at the NFL Combine and a cognitive ability test known as the Wonderlic. How important could a cognitive ability test be in the NFL? Well let’s look at two different players:

player comparisons

On paper which player would you rather have? Player A was the third overall pick in the draft. Player B was draft pick 199 all the way in the sixth round. Player A is Vince Young, who played 6 years in the NFL with no major accolades since winning Rookie of the Year. Player B is Tom Brady, one many view as the best quarterback of all time who in 14 seasons thus far has won 4 Super Bowls (Most Valuable Player in 3 of them). When the average score for a quarterback is 24, somebody so low should raise a red flag and create cause for additional inquiry.

This is not to say that an assessment should dictate who you hire and choose to pass over. It does however show the value of using every data point available to you. This is where you would want to enlist an expert help you compile a competency model specific to your organization’s need and select an assessment to best measure candidates against your model.

Assessments are built to help you gain peace of mind on your hardest decisions. The best resume in the world paired with a witty performance in an interview does not indicate whether or not this person is the right fit for your organization. Make the right choice by giving yourself an objective data point and included an assessment when you draft your team.

Marc Prine PhD is a Director in the Talent Consulting and Assessment Practice at Taylor Strategy Partners. For inquiries or more information on how assessment can help drive your decision making contact Marc at Marc.Prine@Taylor-Strategy.com.

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Labor Unions: Who The Heck Is Kain Coulter?

Unions are out of style. Just like kids from suburbia with popped collars. Despite this “behind the times” thinking, The NLRB ruled on March 27th that Northwestern University Football players are employees and can unionize because college football generates enough critical mass in dollars to warrant an employee designation. What makes me uneasy about this?

Northwestern does not bring in the big bucks:

In 2012 the Big Ten generated $315 million in football revenue finishing first atop all other conferences. How much of that did Northwestern account for? As the only private institution in the Big Ten they do not have to report numbers but let’s compare the Wildcats with my Buckeyes.

 ryanfieldSea of red at Ryan Field in Evanston, IL. OSU fans generating revenue for Northwestern.

Stadium Capacity:

  • Ryan Field – 47,000
  • The Shoe – 106,000 (and growing, we need to compete with the Team Up North)

Ticket prices:

Bowl games: (The conference receives a pay day when their teams are not only selected for bowl games but also when their teams WIN the bowl games)

Simply by the numbers, it is clear Northwestern does not bring in revenue anywhere close to others in their conference such as The Ohio State University. They’re a David in a Goliath game.

No one knows who Kain Coulter is:

If you’re going to lead a charge as game changing as this, it might be more credible if people knew your name. The incremental name recognition difference between Kain Coulter and Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Braxton Miller, Aarron Murray, or AJ McCarron is substantial. Even between Kain Coulter and AJ McCarron’s girlfriend for that matter. 

kaincoulterKain Coulter announcing the formation of the College Athletes Player’s Association 

It’s similar to running a political campaign; you have to be influential in your field in order to be a game changer. If Kain Coulter was drafted by the Cleveland Browns, with say the 22nd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, do you think the Browns would have sold 1200 season tickets in the next four hours? I think not. If Johnny Manziel was fighting for CAPA everyone might pay a little more attention.

Universities are still academic institutions (that make money, A LOT of it):

Why do schools like Ohio State exist? Outside of what our moral beliefs are about education might be, let’s talk dollars because that’s what this “union” is about.

While I will be at each home game this year for the Buckeyes and I thoroughly enjoy football Saturdays, it’s only a small portion of what these universities do, even in terms of the pocket book.

I’m over unions like I’m over American Idol.

Granting the athletes a union is a Band-Aid. It is another public acknowledgement of the exploitation of college athletes. It’s real. It’s happening. However, will a union really solve the problem? The NCAA isn’t going to listen until the college football powerhouse schools start to make moves. Until then, let the debate continue.

Your Puppy Dog Eyes Failed: They Said “No”

With summer breaking through in the Midwest, I drive home after work with my windows down, country music flowing through the speakers, and dream of being in shorts and a T-shirt at last. Throwing my bag down on the floor, I then immediately find the right Nike Tempo shorts and T-shirt to put on. Black, white, or festive crew socks? Whatever best matches the color scheme I have put together that day. Now that I’ve assured anyone coming within 0.3 miles of me will be able to see me with my assortment of neon hues… I grab my headphones, GPS watch, iPod and head for the door.

But, before I can make it down the stairs there’s a collie following my every move. By slanting his eyebrows down and making well thought out whimpers just at the right cadence, Rex pleads, “Take me with you, take me with you. Please?” I mean really, how do I say “no” to that! I just can’t. And even though he always completely throws off my run with his half mile sprint to start, I snag his leash, take off, and prepare myself for the insane amount compliments about to take place regarding the majestic pup pulling me along. Can you blame them though?

Rex - Blog

As most of us in the workforce (I won’t say all, because being that assumptive can get you in trouble) do not have beautifully groomed locks of fur, a snout that allows us to secretly knock food off of the counter and eyes that you just can’t say “no” to – we must understand that rejection is inevitable at some point. Yes, Jesse Williams (Jackson from Grey’s Anatomy), you do have eyes that can make any gal melt – but nothing competes with man’s best friend. Trust me.

Jesse Williams

When talking about my own career I’ve often been candid in sharing that recruiting was not my first choice as a starter job, but the right choice. You learn how to deal with “no” very quickly. Along with, “You’re getting ‘no’ because you need to do ‘this, this, and this’ better.” This morning, my Twitter feed offered up an interesting blog title related to this, “On Losing Your Fear of Rejection and Embracing ‘No.’”

The blog specifically discusses rejection as it pertains to jobseekers. Resumé after resumé peddled out, e-mail after e-mail with thanks but no thanks. But I think it’s important for Millennials to understand that when you’re a new grad beaming with your college degree, you’re going to hear “no” even when you do land that job. It could come from customers or co-workers but be prepared for when it occurs. Whether it’s a rejected sale, project idea, or vacation request – it’s going to happen.

Taking rejection and criticism is a trait Millennials are not typically ready to deal with appropriately. However, I think this lesson is not solely for 18-32 year olds but can be learned at any age, it’s never too late.

To highlight this, earlier this week I attended an event where Gene Smith, Athletic Director at The Ohio State University, was a guest speaker. He mentioned Gen Y and Z having issues with discussing rejection or criticism face-to-face. As an example, his student-athletes would rather send an e-mail or text to their professor questioning why they got an “A-” instead of an “A” rather than meet in person. Regardless of generation, if you understand face-to-face communication is the best way for you to deal with rejection or criticism, this is what can separate you from the pack. If face-to-face is impossible, make the phone call.

Millennials, you’re competing with peers who are also intelligent, have internships, have degrees and in a lot of cases advanced degrees. Yet, the unemployment rate is currently hovering around 11-12% for this age group. The question I always ask myself is, what are the other 88% doing right? Understanding how to deal with “no” at the age of 22 (an age Taylor Swift made much cooler than it actually is) is a differentiator when it comes to the workforce.

You can try your best Rex impression to turn a “no” into a “yes,” but if you truly want to separate yourself – accept you will hear “no,” understand how to deal with “no,” and learn from “no.”

The REAL Reasons You Should Hire College Athletes

There are two schools of thought when it comes to hiring athletes. One being they’re just “dumb jocks” and won’t bring value to your organization. Second being they’re an attractive hire because they’ve shown commitment to a cause.

Being a college athlete I have a slight bias and tend to agree with the latter. It is a benefit to the workplace to hire college athletes but not just any college athlete. I recently read a blog essentially classifying the “good” athlete hire versus the “bad.” Pointing to combinations of level of play from Division I-III or NAIA, grade point average, scholarship amount, and playing time.

These combinations only scratch the surface of evaluating a student-athlete. When you have a recent grad or current student in the interview process, you should be asking yourself, “What can this individual add to our company?” In my opinion outside of GPA, the division a player competed in, scholarship amount and playing time, don’t tell you if the candidate “can do this job” – it only tells you about the level of basketball player they were and if they might be able to beat you in a game of H-O-R-S-E.

163609_184020404962728_5550599_n

But not all college athletes are one in the same.

The Myths of Hiring College Athletes

  • They all have time management skills:  There’s a major difference between knowing how to allocate time to projects in the work environment and knowing that on MWF I have class from 9-11am and 1-2:30pm with practice from 4-6pm. Out of the 8 hours plus left in the day – I somehow have to find time for homework and to study! Trust me… College athletes DO have time (less than non-athletes, you’re right, but time nonetheless) – it’s just a matter of how they use it.
  • They’re all coachable: I can think of several individuals I have played with or against who were college athletes and never once did I think they were coachable. Watch an NBA playoff game this week. Coachability isn’t exactly a quality all athletes possess.
  • They know how to work with a team: One, let’s discuss all of the individual sports out there – golf, tennis, gymnastics. Yes, I know they can win team trophies too but they don’t need to communicate, “Hey! I’m going to rocket a pass to you under the basket and if you don’t look up I will peg you in the back of the head” in less than 2 seconds. Two, as with time management and being coachable, just because you’re on a team and listed on a roster does not mean you understand how to be a good teammate or how to work effectively in a group.

The above 3 items are typically knighted upon all college athletes who enter the workforce. But, as a hiring manager or recruiter – do not be fooled. They are not automatic traits. And if you’re an athlete – don’t fake these qualities, it will become apparent very quickly that you started all but 4 games in your career, received a full-ride scholarship, but can’t seem to figure out why you’re terrible at sales.

Mount Bball

You may now be asking yourself, “So what am I looking for? You’ve told me about several fallacies and yet, I’m left with no action.” Below are the REAL reasons you should hire college athletes.

What to Look For and Questions to Ask:

  • Mental Toughness: How were you tested physically as an athlete in college? When you were faced with adversity, how did you handle the situation? The day a teenager or early 20-something says to himself or herself, “Wow, I can’t believe I just did that. I didn’t think it was possible.” You’ve struck gold. Your coach should push you to levels you never thought you could reach and this quality will be one you will use over and over again in the workplace.
  • Self-Discipline: What did your off-season workouts look like? When you arrived back on campus in the fall, were you in shape? Did your coach instill a sense of accountability when it came to working out on your own? It’s a lot more difficult to stay on task and push yourself when no one is watching.
  • Sacrifice: This is how I define TEAM. You know when to put others before yourself. You do what’s right, because you don’t want to let your teammates down. When have you had to sacrifice for your team?
  • Leadership: Describe leadership stories. The title “captain” doesn’t grant you leadership skills. Why were you elected captain? If anything about being a senior or upperclassman is mentioned, that’s a turn-off. You earn the title of captain because you know how to motivate, you cultivate relationships, and not only do your teammates trust you but so does your coach. You can also gain leadership skills without being a captain. The question around leadership boils down to; did your teammates value your opinion? And, when things weren’t going well, did your team look to you?
  • Coachable: This is a very important trait but, as stated before, don’t assume just any athlete is coachable. Ask pointed questions – How did you react when your coach pointed out mistakes? When posed with opportunities to improve, did you take the initiative to get better?

Sweet 16

For the majority of college athletes who will not be playing professionally, as the famous NCAA advertisement states, it’s important to differentiate yourself beyond that line on your resume reading “Varsity Basketball 2007-2011.” Millennial athletes, did you gain any of the characteristics above? Be prepared to convey more than “common traits” several athletes before you have over-used. Tell them your stories. The resume lines on winning one regular season league championship, two league tournament championships, and two NCAA appearances with a Sweet 16 don’t hurt either. More stories.

Hiring managers, expect more from the athletes you’re interviewing. Get to the important traits and don’t take college athletes at face value.

I think most will find that the clear indicator of the value of a college athlete can be measured by the coach they played for. A coach who runs a program with the goal of not only winning championships but developing contributing members in the real world and teach their players mental toughness, self-discipline, sacrifice, leadership, and being coachable.

Thanks Coach.

How to Defend Against Helicopter Parents

Inspector Gadget - Helicopter I am thoroughly grateful for my helicopter parents. Due to their hovering they have successfully put me through college and are ¾ of the way there with my sister. They’ve given me the opportunity to excel in sports and the classroom along with my younger sister. With two college athletes for children I can confidently say I would not be where I am today without the opportunity my parents afforded me.

With that said, when I read the SHRM We Know Next blog Helicopter Parents Descend Upon the Workplace I had to take a step back and think about what was missing. The cited report by Michigan State University and their Collegiate Employment Research Institute startled me even more than the blog itself.

Why are parents directly involved in the employment of their children? Unless it’s a family business this shouldn’t even be a conversation. I’ve been going back and forth whether or not to make a category specifically devoted to what I learned playing for Suzy Venet in college. But, this was the tipping point. This is the debut blog for “Lessons From Coach.”

In the fall of my freshman year, on the first day of class – I had a team meeting with all of the women’s basketball “hopefuls” aka freshman and the rest of the team. We started out with almost 30 freshmen and on senior day there were 4 of us – so yes, I’d call them hopefuls. Our coach was going through rules and protocols and you guessed it – she specifically addressed parents

Fresh from high school, where most of us were the best on our team and an athletic system that is quite political, biased, and can be bought with some cash – our COLLEGE coach wanted to make sure our parents knew where they stood. Also, you realize she didn’t address the parents – she told us, to tell them. Already drawing a clear line of communication between player and coach – no triangle with mom and/or dad.

“If you have a problem with me, playing time, another teammate, get in trouble, have difficulty with grades – I want you to talk to me. I want you to come to my office and tell me. I don’t have time to answer parent’s e-mails and phone calls. I have one job and that is to coach you to a championship,” Coach said. Wide-eyed and nervous, we were getting a dose of what it was like to be an adult. First day of college – welcome.

No more buffer ladies. Solve your own issues. Our coach cared and still does care about our families – but she also understands that in order to grow as an individual we were all 18, legally adults, and needed to start having our own difficult conversations.

Gen Y: We’re the real problem

As much as I’d like to blame helicopter parents who are just too involved in their children’s lives, by the time you’re in college it is up to the student, and now adult, to ask their parent(s) to politely back off.

If you’re a helicopter parent reading this – know your kids love you but, they also need to play the game of life on their own. And if you don’t believe me, you’ll probably continue to hinder their opportunities.

Helicopter Kid: Do’s and Don’ts

Do:

  • If you value your parents opinions that is most certainly acceptable, ask them for thoughts and advice on companies, career path, and job search
  • Discuss their network – they might be able to make an introduction and get your foot in the door

Don’t:

  • Let your parents attend the interview
  • Let your parents advocate for promotion / salary increases
  • Let your parents negotiate salary and benefits
  • Let your parents call and complain if the company does not hire you
  • Let your parents attend a career fair for you
  • Let your parents discuss promotions with the hiring manager
  • Ask your parents to submit resumes on your behalf

It’s important to note that all of the “don’t” points were questions in the survey concerning parent involvement by Michigan State. Except for submitting resumes, all other actions are ones that students can prevent. And as for submitting resumes, if you’re not willing to fill out your own job application how in the world do you think you’re going to do the actual job?

If you have a chronic helicopter parent, sit down with them. Explain that it’s time for you to take responsibility for your career. Their interference will hurt you in the long run. Helping you and doing it for you – are two different things. Some Millennials may be saying – if they want to be involved then why not? According to the “grown-up” manual and the study completed by Michigan State – companies do not look favorably upon Millennial candidates who allow their parents to take part in the recruiting process.

Direct communication should always be between you and your employer. Just like player and coach. It’s an A – B conversation, no C.

Anything you can do, I can do better

As a woman in the workforce it seems as though we’re still fighting the good fight. At least that’s what we’re told. It’s as if we’re sitting in the “T” of the classroom and just to one-up the smirking, wavy-haired, pencil tapping boy next to us, we sit in the middle AND front. Boom. But, hold on – not only are we sitting in the prime spot, we are waving our right hand back and forth profusely to get called on and at some points supporting this arm with the left, saying, “Ooooo me, me – pick me,” while also removing the support hand to point at ourselves from time to time. I’m sure that you’ve done this and if not, you know the name of the kid who did.

This might be a little over the top but, on the flip side, if we aren’t exhausted from raising our hand, then we sit back and ride the ride, turn 70 and wonder why the world continues to shut women out. This morning I attended a meeting on “Creating a Purposeful Career” put on by the Ohio Chapter of the Healthcare Business Women’s Association and Cardinal Health. The 2012 HBA Woman of the Year, Carolyn Buck Luce, spoke on the topic and provided some great insight into the state of women in the workplace today.

While I was listening to her speak I was thinking about my reference point for women’s rights and came to the conclusion that it’s non-existent. As a Millennial, we’ve always had them, right? Well, at least legally. Since I was 6 years old, playing T-Ball on the boy’s cub baseball team and being selected for the All-Star team, I really didn’t think it mattered if I was the only girl. If I could throw better than your son, catch better than your son, and hit better than your son – I was probably going to get picked for the All-Star team… over your son. Sorry I’m not sorry, as a famous Twitter account would say. Also, Gatorade has it’s own version of that story I just told, if you click on the image above – great advertising.

As Carolyn pointed out – the movement for equality was really about opening doors. Having the ability to be considered equal and given the same opportunities. Voting, athletics, the corporate world – whatever we didn’t have before, we have it now; however, just because the elevator door opens and we step in – doesn’t mean it’s going up. It’s up to the women of the world to press the button. When you get to the floor, will you like what you see, will they let you off? Who knows? But, you have to be the one to take the first step and press the button.

The issue facing women in the workplace today isn’t finding a job or so very graciously being allowed the opportunity to have a job. The true challenge is career advancement. My view on this is if a woman can sell better than your son, interact with clients better than your son, and motivate better than your son – she should probably get picked for the senior leadership team over your son. Sound familiar?

But, sometimes that just isn’t enough. Carolyn also mentioned the active roles mentors and sponsors play in moving women up the corporate ladder. The key here is target audience. Yes, it is never too late to start, better late than never right? But, I think a real focus should be on Millennial Women. It’s great to have a discussion on mentoring and sponsorship – but where are the young people? Whether it’s because we don’t think it’s an issue and the world is our oyster or we just aren’t in leadership roles to make those decisions, I am unsure.

Nonetheless, note to 20 something year old women – don’t wait until you’re not a 20 something to be a part of the discussion about career advancement. If we’re proactive, we won’t have to wait 50 years for the next movement. Where will the state of women in the workplace be in another 50 years? Again, I am unsure – but just by pure mathematics my guess is the Millennial Women of today will know. Just be better than the boys and get picked for the All-Star team.

Please comment with any thoughts. If you’re a Millennial and want to know how to get started tweet me @nicole_tsp. 

Will you be left on the sidelines when it comes to LinkedIn?

Based on a recent study by JobVite, Lance Whitney wrote a blog on the statistic stating that 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to fill their pipelines. Now as any science class would teach you – if you only use LinkedIn as your source then your sample size is not complete because it doesn’t include those not on LinkedIn. Yes, Mrs. Grimm from 7th grade, Mr. Eckard from 8th grade, Mr. Bixel from 9th grade, Miss Reese from 10th grade, Mrs. Brennan from 11th grade, and Mr. Bixel again in the 12th grade (I would mention my college professors but I dodged any meaningful science class so we will skip that part.) – this is an INCOMPLETE sample size.

How do you find those individuals who aren’t on LinkedIn? I think the better question is – does it really even matter? I’m sure experts, historians, very experienced, or wise recruiters – whatever they’d like to be called – will tell you about how lucky or spoiled this generation is to not have to look through paper directories, rolodexes, or cold calling straight into a company with no name in hand. I’m sure there were other methods but, I couldn’t tell you what they would be.

Our company leverages LinkedIn Recruiter and when a co-worker asked me about the “old way of doing things” my reference point was LinkedIn without the Recruiter capability. It didn’t even occur to me how the job would be done without LinkedIn as a resource. At this point if you’re going to have a training program for recruiters, it MUST include LinkedIn whether or not you foot the bill for the Recruiter capability or not.

But, as I can hear the little recruiter angel on my shoulder saying, “But wait, hold on young one, it’s impossible that every candidate will be on LinkedIn – there are qualified candidates that aren’t on LinkedIn.”

I will concede that this statement is true. I’ve been referred to multiple individuals who do not have a LinkedIn profile (multiple as in maybe 15 in one year? That’s being generous) – but, the time it saves will eventually or already has, made other methods obsolete. If you say you aren’t interested in making a job change, so you don’t want to be bombarded by recruiters on LinkedIn, that’s fine. But, LinkedIn is not only about looking for the next opportunity. For example, you can join and the next day find out that a former colleague you worked with 8 years ago is now working at the pharma company across the street. Might be nice to get coffee with them, no?

As for recruiters, utilize it and utilize it well. Create targeted searches – you may miss 10 qualified candidates without a LinkedIn profile but with one click you can have 500 others pop up on your screen. Yes, you missed out on 10 but, you got 500 within 45 seconds of creating a search and pressing enter. Magic.

Whether you’re 18 and just entering college or 55 thinking about what you’ll do when you retire in not 5, not 6, not 7, not 8 years (or ever) like LeBron and his NBA championship rings – it’s more than advantageous to be on LinkedIn. There is only upside by joining LinkedIn and by standing on the sidelines you’re only holding yourself back. Who wants to do that?