NYC Journey – Days 2 and 3

The last blog post was about the first day of traveling in New York. Due to a lack of time, the decision was made to group day 2 and 3 into the same blog post.  Here are a few highlights of the two days.

Day Two’s First Stop – The High Line

After the first day of walking around nonstop, I woke up fully rested, and a little soar. After a few stretches and deep determination, I ventured out into the snow to walk the High Line. For those who do not know, the High Line is a reclaimed train rail system that displaces public art and is a beautiful walk way.

The first panaramic photo is from 11th Ave and 4th St. Due to the snowy conditions, the rest of this side of the High Line was closed. 


While walking to the other end of the High Line, there were nice pieces of art and political commentary.  Here are just a few examples:




The other end of the High Line ends in the Meat Packing District.

Once departing from the High Line, it was time to grab lunch.  Since I was in the Meat Packing District, it only made sense to grab a decent burger.

Near the exit of the High Line was a Bill’s Bar and Burgers location. Though I asked for a medium rare burger, the staff must have misheard and cooked it medium well.  Other than the overcooked meat, the meal was really good.  The pretzel bun was a nice touch; plus the pickles were a hybrid sweet-dill style. The chili on the chili fries came with chunks of ham, and the strawberry shake really hit the spot.

Madison Square Garden – AKA Mecca

The hostel in which I said was only a few blocks from Madison Square Garden, so it is only natural that I would have to check out The Garden.  Lucky for me, the Big East Championship was in town.  The bad news, Friday night’s semi final games were almost sold out.  By the time I got to the ticket stands, the only tickets left were $120…yikes!!

So, what’s a guy to do?  Haggle with a scalper.  The first couple of scalpers were a little too shady, but I finally found a man who was willing to bargain.  After talking him down $40, I was able to get a ticket before the first game started.

In the main lobby area, Villanova’s pep band was playing some great classic fight songs.

The first game saw Villanova battle Seaton Hall.  During the first half of the game both teams looked sloppy. Missed shots, missed opportunities both offensively and defensively. It was surprising to see Villanova play this way; but then again, I hadn’t watched a full Villanova game this season, so what do I know about it?

What’s funny is that a guy sitting in the same row as me wore a Villanova hat, but cheering for Seton Hall. Not sure if he was drunk, lost a bet, or a was a last minute band wagoner.

During the second half of the ball game ‘Nova came out stronger and Seton Hall started cracking under the pressure.  Even though Villanova got the win, both the Seaton Hall and Villanova fans sitting next to me were very respect of one another.  In fact, it was a pleasure and a treat sitting next to these fans.  I only wish I could say at the same about the next game.

What is it about Xavier fans!?!?!  Maybe it was just the three rows of fans that sat next to me, but DAMN!  They took annoying fanbase to a whole new level.

Seriously, these fans were worse than “Whoo Girls” at an all you can drink ladies night event! Every shot, and I mean every shot made by Xavier, in the first 8 minutes of the game, this group stood up, hands in the air, and reacted like their team won the Big Dance.

As you’re reading this, you may be saying, “Big Jer, you may be right, but it’s only a few friends.” No, this wasn’t a few friends.  Again, this group spanned three rows. THREE ROWS!!!  Here are a few examples of what transpired with this group:

  • 6 minutes into the game, the group talked about one of their friends that had a meltdown before the game.  I mean, could you blame the man for a meltdown.
  • While one guy went to get beer for him and his girl, the girl wasted no time hitting on the “friend” sitting beside her. It got so bad that I felt like I was an investigator on Cheaters!
  • On guy bragged about watching a couple making out for a long period of time.
  • Oh, and they all drank their beers from a straw! A freakin’ straw. Though I stopped drinking months ago, never (and I mean NEVER) did I drink beer from a straw.

During halftime of the Xavier game, the fan group continued to grow and starting merging into my row.  Deciding it was best for my mental health, I left and decided to walk around the lobby of the Garden.  Here are some great items I saw walking around the world’s most famous arena:

Day Three – No Sleep Till Brooklyn

For the last day in NYC, I expanded my geographical boundaries, and took the subway to the Brooklyn Bridge.  A good friend had recommended a pizza restaurant located underneath the bridge.

Grimaldi’s is a Brooklyn staple and a must for anyone visiting the Brooklyn Bridge. Their pizzas are cooked in a coal oven, which is appropriate given my West Virginian Italian roots.   As you can see, the place has a classic pizzeria theme.

When visiting Grimaldi’s be sure to bring your appetite; the restaurant does not offer pizza by the slice. Here are a couple of photos from inside Grimaldi’s.

After lunch, I walked around the area to let the pizza settled before crossing the bridge.  There were some great looking murals painted near the Brooklyn Bridge.

The view from dock outside of Grimaldi’s was awesome, and, of course, I couldn’t resist a typical tourist selfie.

While walking to the bridge, I was able to meet two young men from Japan.  They were visiting New York and had been in the city for less than three months.  Though these men had been living in the city, this was their first walk to the Brooklyn Bridge…in fact, it was their first time to Brooklyn.  The two men were surprised to hear I was only in town for a few days, but when I explained the flight is only two hours, the quickly understood.  What surprised them even more, was that I visited the city alone.  They applauded me for the courage to visit the city solo, and when I again reiterated the two hour flight, they didn’t flinch with their assessment of courage.  I, in turn, applauded them for their courage to travel to another country and live in it for nearly three months.

Walking across the bridge was incredible.  Even thought it was below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it was still a great walk.  The see the people, look at the cars driving below me, and feeling a strong spirit of community was a lot to take in for me.

 

Closing Notes

Though there are other things I did at the end of my trip, this felt like a great way to end the story.  Not to sound too cheesy, but this vacation opened my eyes in different ways than planned.  In fact, the only plan I had for this trip was to take a few days and get away.  What it turned into was an opportunity to clear my head and gain new experiences.

If you have ever thought about taking a solo vacation somewhere, but never have, I strongly recommend it.

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Commercial Bank Branding and Football Logos

Titans HelmetsHow is it football fans can cheer for teams even though they continue to disappoint fans season after season? Better yet, how can banks learn from this during a period of employee turnover?

Let’s use the Tennessee Titans as an example.  I’m a huge Titans fan and became a fan when Coach Jeff Fisher was the head coach, Eddie George was the starting running back and Steve McNair was leading the team as quarterback.  All three people are no longer with the Titans.

  • Jeff Fisher: Now coaching the St. Louis Rams.
  • Eddie George: Hosting a college pre-game show for Fox.
  • Steve McNair: Traded to the Baltimore Ravens in 2005, retired in 2008 and passed away in 2009.

This season, The Tennessee Titans have a record of 2-10, and consist of:

  • Coach Ken Whisenhunt: A head coach who runs a traditional offensive scheme that contradicts Coach Fisher’s “Run-n-Gun” approach during the McNair era.
  • Running Back Committee: Instead of a starting running back, the Titans use a three-man approach.
  • Quarterback Problems: The Titans have started three different quarterbacks this season.

So why…why do I stay a fan of the Tennessee Titans.

Steve McNair was traded to Baltimore, so why am I not a Ravens fan?

Coach Fisher is in St. Louis, so why am I not a Rams fan, instead of staying with the Titans? 

I originally became a Titans fan due to proximity.  I live in Tennessee, and the Titans are in Tennessee.  But it soon become an emotional connection as the Titans seem to be an underdog.  Shoot, even when Steve McNair was chosen as MVP in 2003, he had to share the title with Payton Manning.

What can Banks take away from this?

Recently I wrote a post that touched on hiring commercial lenders based on their loan portfolio.  The flip side of this is what happens when a bank loses a commercial lender that has a successful portfolio.

Loosing a Strong Loan Producer

It happens to just about any community bank.  The have a top producing commercial lender who gets an offer they can’t refuse from a competitor.  They leave and immediately the bank accepts the fact that they are going to lose current customers due to “their banker” leaving.  Many times, banks start building a reactive checklist, but what if they started a proactive campaign.

Reactive Approach

Making a ListAs the bank starts searching for a replacement, the bank will also review the leaving commercial banker’s portfolio so it can be divided up between their current commercial lenders.

A good bank will also look at the profitability of each customer in the portfolio to see who is unprofitable and see this as an opportunity to “lose” this customer.  Plus, they will make sure to focus their attention on profitable and potentially profitable customers on the list.

This is a good strategy that every community bank should follow, but consider adding a proactive strategy that may already tie into your marketing and sales efforts.

Proactive Approach

Instead of waiting for a commercial lender to leave, consider these tactics to entrench your customers into your bank’s brand.

  • Email Communication: Let’s assume your bank’s sales culture has a calling program in place where your commercial lenders are required to meet with their entire portfolio at least three times a year.  If that is the case, what other forms of communication does your bank use to communicate to these customers?  A bank can create an email program where the bank is sending meaningful information.  It can be about a new service, business advice or anything else that the customer would deem useful.  This approach not only keeps customers in the communication loop, but also ties them to your bank’s brand beyond the commercial lender.
  • Customer Recognition: Find ways that your bank can recognize this customer and their business.  For example, if the commercial customer has a retail business, highlight their business to your customer base, and make sure the customer knows about it.  You may even want to let a bank executive notify the customer.  That way the customer now has a connection another banker in your organization.
  • Connect on Social Media: If you have a company presence on social media, make sure you are connected to your customer base.  Better yet, if your CEO or other executives are on a social media platform (i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest), make sure they are connected with the customer and engaged with them.
  • Team Approach: Most likely a commercial lender works with a team of people when dealing with their customers.  It may be a loan processor, or maybe a cash management specialist.  Either way, it is important that your commercial customers know the entire team.  Make sure your commercial lender introduces the support staff to their customers, or at the very least, their top customers.  Also consider creating a mentoring program, where the commercial lender takes an up-and-comer out with them on customer calls.

Brand Focus

You are connecting your customer to other people and outlets of your bank.  This will continue to establish the brand of your organization by reenforcing the strengths your bank has, and will make any customer think twice before they leave you to join their “former banker.”

Now if the Titans can just get their act together, I won’t be looking for another NFL franchise.

Football and Your Company’s Depth Chart

WVU+Dingle+BerryWhat lessons can companies and department managers learn from college football this season?

If your company is suffering from a talent shortage, then you may find the following post rings true in your organization.

Backstory: College Football

College football season is wrapping up and fans are either excited about their team’s successes or questioning what went wrong this year.

As a WV Mountaineers fan living in Knoxville, Tennessee, it has been a season of ups and downs for the two teams I hear the most about: WVU and UT.  Both teams had very close games, but couldn’t close the deal.

Why?  My humble opinion: each team’s depth charts.

Not enough experienced people

If a college football team has to burn a redshirt and start a true freshman, then their chances of success are slim to none.

WVU: In the Mountaineers’ case, they don’t have enough depth in their defense.  An article written in The Charleston Daily Mail last month sheds some light on this subject.  In the article, writer Mike Casazza, points out:

WVU played nose guard Darrien Howard even though he was on track to redshirt. The defensive line was without the starting defensive end and a backup nose guard against Texas Tech.

UT: The University of Tennessee has done a great job recruiting young, strong athletes.  That said, they are still lacking depth and it has hindered their overall performance.  The Tennessean was able to point that out in an October 31st  article.  In this article,  Coach Butch Jones addresses the depth issue head on by stating:

We need much, much more depth.  A lot of that will be addressed in recruiting.

Both coaches are obviously aware of their depth issue, and both of them have stated in several interviews that they are committed to fix this issue with short-term and long-term tactics.

How does this relate to business?

Regardless if you have a huge corporate organization or a small business, do you have the right people to fill in when needed?  Since I’m in the banking industry, I’ll use banking as an example for the business industry.  When I speak to most HR directors and managers in banking, two issues typically pop up in the conversation.

  1. Succession Planning
  2. Reduction in Branch Staffing

These two issues are independent from each other but do have a connection when a bank is reviewing their business depth chart.

Succession Planning: Who’s going to be in charge next?

The GodfatherMore and more Bank HR conferences and webinars focus on bank succession planning.  In fact, this issue continues to be a sticking point with bank regulators.  Regulators not only want to make sure a bank has long-term vision, but they also want to see how a bank is acting upon the long-term vision.

A 2013 article from American Banker, states a few facts about the lack of succession planning:

The absence of a thorough succession could derail a bank’s strategy, opening it up to a takeover. Since 2008, the average bank CEO age is roughly 58, while CEOs of banks that have been sold have averaged about 61, according to a study from Morgan Stanley. For the 35 bank deals announced during the first nine months of last year (2012), the average seller’s CEO was approaching 65.

Now if you work for a bank and your CEO is approaching, or has already reached, 65, don’t start panicking yet.  Just because you don’t know if there is a succession plan doesn’t mean there isn’t one.  There could be a succession plan written and approved by senior management and the Board of Directors.

But as previously stated, is the bank acting upon the plan?

Ask yourself, is there appropriate training in place?  Are the future leaders of your bank learning about possible future roles?

  • If your CFO is in place to be the CEO, are they learning about how to lead people?
  • If the CCO is next in line, does that person understand what needs to be done to raise low-cost/non-interest deposits?

If you answer no, again, don’t panic.  There is still time to fast track training and different ways to approach it.

Reduction in Branch Staffing: Do you have the people, but not the talent?

Old Bank Teller LineBanks across the country are running into the following issue.

For decades banks have staffed their branches with tellers.  Now with a decline of in-branch transactions, some banks are loaded up with a staff that doesn’t have anything to do.  Will they have to lay off teller (a current trend) or have they started training these tellers for other positions within the bank?

There are two factors to consider when training tellers (or anybody): skill set and passion.  For example, if you plan on transitioning a teller to mortgage lender, think about…

  • Skill Set: Does the teller have some of the natural qualities needed for this type of position.  Do they enjoy working with people?  Do they understand that mortgage lending requires a level of knowledge regarding regulations?
  • Passion: Most of the skill sets needed can be done through time via training, but passion is an internal mechanism that a person must have.  Without it, all the training and skill sets in the world will amount to nothing.  Make sure they have passion and find ways to keep that passion alive.

In order to successfully make this transition, branch managers, human resources and senior management all have to be on the same page.  All three must work together to identify what areas need more depth and then find the person who can fill in the depth gap.  This opportunity itself is another blog post for another day.

Wrapping Up

Whether it is football or business, being the best means always improving and looking for opportunities.  In order to do that, you have to make sure your team is loaded with not only play makers, but with rising stars.  Make sure to prepare your rising stars so that they can move into the play makers position as seamlessly as possible.

 

Fighting a Mountain

Hatfied McCoy 2014Back in June, I ran my first half marathon of the year.  The Hatfield and McCoy Half Marathon was held June 14th and runs through both West Virginia and Kentucky.  This was a great event for several reasons:

  • Family – Jennifer, Max and I got to spend time with several family members.
  • Nostalgia – I grew up in the great state of West Virginia and (for a short time) the Commonwealth of Kentucky, so it was fun to run in places I haven’t seen since I was a child.
  • Conquering a mountain…this will take more than one sentence.

Part of the half marathon runs up Blackberry Mountain (elevation shown below) making the difference between the minimum and maximum elevation 635 feet.  In other words,  this half marathon was the most difficult run I have ever tried.

Hatfield Mileage

 

Training for this event required more than just running my regular routine.

Conditioning

I had been increasing my running mileage each week, but I realized that wasn’t enough.  In addition to increasing mileage, I also increased the number of hills I would run.  Though running Cherokee Boulevard would be a fun treat, I kicked it up a notch by adding Noelton Drive and Mellen Avenue.  To mix up my weekly runs, I would run the hills in my neighborhood or go to Dowell Springs.  By running different inclines at different levels and points, it conditioned my body to withstand conquering the Mountain.

Core Training

Working on my core, specifically my lower back and hips, really helped with my running.  Having a stronger lower back and abs section allowed me to run further due to having a more solid foundation.  Building my hips enabled me to increase my speed and keep my body more balanced.

New Running Stance

In a previous post, I mention working with the team at Provision Physical Therapy.  They watched me run on a treadmill and showed me a better running form and stance.  They taught me to lean forward and to have a midfoot strike.  This helped me increase my speed, and in the long run, will help prevent certain injuries.

Visualize

Mountain vs Red ViperLeading up to the race, I decided to visualize the Mountain as an actual person/character.  Being a fan of Game of Thrones, I pictured the Mountain as…the Mountain.  As I would run, I picture myself going to battle against The Mountain.  By doing this, I made sure not have the same fate as his victims; more importantly, it allowed me to think of the race in a different, comical position.

Notice how all four of these steps align with one another perfectly. Without the first two points: Conditioning and Core Training, I would not have had the strength to have a new running stance.  Without visualizing the Mountain, I could have lost interest in conditioning every week.

Though these points are tied to running, the same school of thought can be tied to other plans and objectives in life.  Think of your business, does your strategic plan have connected steps that align with your main business objective(s)?  Do you just put something together and hope it works, or do you create a plan that is measurable?

If I would have just went out running three times a week with no plan, I probably could have finished the half marathon, but I wouldn’t have finished with these results:

Hatfield Results 2014

What kind of mountains have you conquered?  Please feel free to share your story in the comments section.

 

Sporting Leadership: Mark Cuban vs Jerry Jones

Cuban and Jones HugWhen I think of professional sports and leadership, two Dallas owners come to mind: Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones.  Just like the state of Texas, both men have big, bold personalities.  Cuban and Jones are also known for winning and taking their teams to the next level of success.  These two leaders have taken different paths to make their teams great.  Here are just a few examples of what they have done; both good and bad.

Jerry Jones: The Micromanaging Visionary

When Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys back in 1989, he had a vision, that led to an unpopular decision.  He fired longtime head coach Tom Landry and replaced him with Jimmy Johnson.  Though fans didn’t understand it at the time, this decision allowed Jones to start fresh and put together a coaching and administrative staff that would follow his vision.  Jones was very hands on and the combination of him and Coach Johnson led to great draft picks and all-star players.  By having the team follow his vision and running on all cylinders, the Dallas Cowboys won two back to back Super Bowls (XXVII and XXVIII) and won Super Bowl XXX.

Micromanage Pitfall

jerry_jones_sideline

“…any one of 500 coaches could have won those Super Bowls”

Jones created a winning dynasty in Dallas.  He had the right players with Troy Aikman and Emmett Smith.  He had the right coach with Johnson.  What happened that caused the dynasty to collapse in Dallas?

Micromanagement.

When things started going wrong with his coach, he started roaming around the sidelines questioning everything.  He eventually pushed out Coach Jimmy Johnson, the man who helped execute the vision of the team’s success.  Though the Cowboys won a Super Bowl without Coach Johnson, they slowly started running downhill and haven’t truly recovered since then.

Cuban: The Passionate Instigator

Casual CubanMark Cuban became the majority stakeholder of the Dallas Mavericks in 2000.  Before that time, the team had a losing record (40% games won) and was swimming in a sea of mediocrity.  With his drive for winning, Cuban has been able to turn this team around and they keep showing up in the NBA finals.  In 2011, the team won their first by NBA Championship by dethroning “King” James and the heralded Miami Heat.

Standing Out from the Crowd

“Wherever I see people doing something the way it’s always been done, the way it’s ‘supposed’ to be done, following the same old trends, well, that’s just a big red flag to me to go look somewhere else.”

Mark Cuban has never blended in with a group; which has led to his success.  For example, Cuban realized to get the right players  he had to recruit in a different way.  One of those ways had to do with the locker room.  The Dallas Mavericks have one of the most expensive elaborate locker rooms in all of professional sports.  While others questioned why would spend so much money on a locker room, he was busy using this as a recruitment and retention tool.

Not blending in has also caused Cuban to create unneeded controversy, including his most recent comments that led to him apologizing to the family of Trayvon Martin.

IMG_4005-419x314Both Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban are passionate about their businesses and their teams.  This passion has led to success in their respected fields.  There isn’t anyone who can say that Jerry Jones has not lived up to the vision he has had with the Cowboys.  The same can be said about Cuban when it comes to inspiring people to live up to their fullest potential.

Which owner would you categorize yourself as the most?

7 Centimeters Vs. 13.1 Miles

Measuring TapeAt the beginning of the year, I began a weight loss program that was fueled by a “biggest loser competition” and training for a half-marathon.  The good news is that I won the competition, but the bad news was that I was unable to run the half-marathon due to a nagging injury.  Though I would like to speak more on the victory, this post will focus on the latter and how one small detail can derail big plans.

The injury occurred while completing a run 10 days before the half-marathon.  After the run, my right calf was in extreme pain, to the point it was hard to put weight on it.  After checking with my doctor and two physical therapist, the answer was a little surprising: my left foot was over 7 centimeters shorter than my right foot which caused an overcompensation in the right leg when running.  While training for long distance running, the overcompensation got the best of my calf causing it to be over used and extended.  Fortunately I worked with a fantastic physical therapist (Dean Douglas and his team at Provision Therapy) and am back to my regular distance while improving my overall pace.  With this experience, I was able to take away some points that can be applied to work and life.

Details, Details, Details

devil-details-cartoonEver have a great idea and have it fall apart over one little detail?  Well, that’s what happened to my training.  I’ve also had this happen with projects at work and situations in my life.  I’m sure everyone has run into this problem at one point and has heard the old saying:

The devil is in the details.

How to resolve this?

  • Learn from your mistakes: The best advice I received early in my career was from my mentor Dick Prince.  When I made a big mistake during my first year in banking, Dick could have given me a hard time.  As a member of the Bank’s HR department, he could have easily fired me.  At the very least, he could have lectured me for hours but instead, he asked me what I had learned from the mistake.  After spending a few minutes explaining what had went wrong and how it could have been avoided, I walked away knowing the mistake wouldn’t happen again.
  • Ask for Help: Is asking for help something you struggle with?  It took me a long time to realize that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, in fact it shows you are smart enough to know your faults. When it comes to a work project, I have a detailed-oriented person I know and trust review any important work that will have a lasting impact.  I encourage them to pick apart the entire project, and am ready to handle any criticism.

 

Balancing Act

imagesBecause there is a difference in height with my legs, my body is out of balance.  It wasn’t until I started performing balance exercises that I realized how out of balance my body was.  Fortunately no one was around to video my balancing training.

Balance in life is just as important.  Not being focused on the job can lead to a termination; but being so focused on work to the point of neglecting your family can lead to divorce.  Instead of thinking about juggling, think about integration.

Juggling vs Integration

People often think of time management as juggling which often leads to conflict.  This conflict causes an internal struggle of deciding what should be more important in your life.  Instead of thinking of it as choosing one over the other in a battle of supremacy, think about how each positively balances the other.  This type of perception eliminates any negative tendencies and instead focuses on how different aspects of your life complement your total well-being.

Closing the Gap

By keeping an eye on the details and living a balanced life, you will be able to close any gaps in your life.  This will, in turn, help you conquer tough challenges and uncover new opportunities.

Hopefully you have found this post insightful and entertaining.  Again, big props to Provision Therapy.  Check them out at www.provisiontherapy.com or find them on Facebook.

What mistakes have you experienced in life that you have walked away from knowing you won’t make again?

Drafting the Right Person

NFL_DraftThe 2014 NFL draft is now in the rear view mirror.  Did your team(s) select the right players?  As a Titan’s fan, I’m always left guessing but overall, I’m happy to see they picked a strong running back, and time will tell if Zach Mettenberger is a good pick.

When hiring for your organization, do you treat it like the NFL draft?

Though not as glamorous as the draft, there are some pointers from the draft that you can apply to your job searching process.

Do your research

Scouting_FootballNFL teams spend countless hours and a small fortune on scouting.  They research players, view their performances and decide if the player would be the right fit for their team.

Should you treat your job search any different?

When interviewing for a position, a candidate will submit a resume and fill out an application.  Since they have done their part, you need to do your part and conduct research.

  • Call former employers:  If you call the HR department, most likely you will receive a boilerplate statement, “Candidate worked from point a to point b.”  But if the candidate has the supervisors name listed, why not call them too?  If they left on good terms, then the direct supervisor may give a more accurate picture.
  • Call references: People often chuckle when I mention this one due to the fact that references are hand picked from the candidate.  I don’t disagree with their logic, but I challenge them to be creative when reviewing the references by seeking the answers to the following questions.
      1. How long have they known the person?
      2. How they know the person?
      3. Can they give an example of the person’s work?
      4. Can they explain the person’s character?

If you get those answers from different personal references, you can get a better understanding of who the person is.

  • View LinkedIn: Hiring based upon social media sites has recently been scrutinized; however checking a LinkedIn site can help you get a a better idea of who someone is.  Also be sure to review written recommendations; though I would be cautious of endorsements due to how easy it is to endorse someone on LinkedIn.

Draft Someone Who Fits In

Quarterbacks_DraftDuring the first night of the draft, Jon Gruden kept questioning why teams had not drafted Johnny Manziel.  Gruden’s question was finally answered by the Cleveland Browns when they picked Manziel in the 22nd spot.

But why didn’t the other teams pick Manziel first?

The Jacksonville Jaguars had the opportunity, but chose quarterback Blake Bortles instead.  But why Bortles over Johnny Football?

It is simple, Manziel wasn’t what they were looking for in their draft pick.  The Jags needed a quarterback who they could develop into their system and could prevail when faced with certain adversity issues.  Take a look at some of the performance examples of Blake Bortles.

  • No injuries: While at UCF, Blake was sacked over 50 times!  Despite this issue, he was never injured.  This may seem like a laughable point, but considering that Jacksonville has offensive line issues, this statistic bows well for Blake.
  • Performance under pressure: In addition to the 50+ sacks, Blake was able to complete over 50% of his passes while under pressure from the defense.  This puts him in the top five amongst Automatic Qualifying (AQ) conferences.
  • Comeback Kid: Continuing with the under pressure theme, Blake had six second-half come from behind wins last season.  This ties the record with the most in college football for the 2013 season.

Add these examples to the fact Blake played college football within a two hour drive to Jacksonville and you can see why the Jags chose Blake Bortles.

Similar to hiring, you have to find the person who fits your company’s culture; not just a person who can fill an open position.  Many times companies will hire a rising star in their industry and then be dissatisfied with their results.  Don’t be fooled by a rising star and instead look for someone who has the natural fit for your company culture.

Does your company handle hiring like this?  When hiring, what strategies have you used that proved to be successful?

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