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.

 

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Social Media vs Social Networking

LinkedIn on an IslandSince there is a LinkedIn icon on an island, I believe there needs to be a disclaimer about the following post:

This isn’t a “how to build your business on LinkedIn” post, nor is this a “10 tips to build your LinkedIn profile.”

You can find those types of posts anywhere.  This is more of a “what’s the value of using LinkedIn” post…especially if you are in business development.

On the surface, LinkedIn seems to have the most bipolar perception of all social media sites. Either people use it or they don’t.  But even beyond that, I have seen four types of users

  • The Resume Builder: Normally someone in the entry level side of their career.  This person goes on LinkedIn, builds their profile, adds their connections and then waits for a recruiter to contact them out of the blue.
  • The I was told to User: Should technically fall under the “don’t use” section, but these people use it because their supervisor or other senior company manager has asked them to use it.  This user is disengaged and rarely contributes to their LinkedIn page.
  • The Linked to other Social Sites Participant: The person who automatically has their LinkedIn account tied to another social site (i.e. Twitter).  This way when someone shares something on another site (i.e. Twitter) the message auto-populates onto LinkedIn.
  • The Power User: These are the cats who get it.  And by “get it” I don’t mean the people who find different groups to post a link to their blog.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that (I’m a recovering group blog poster).

I recently finished the American Bankers Association’s School of Marketing and Management (SBMM) and had the pleasure of learning from Jack Hubbard, Chairman and Chief Sales Officer of St. Meyer & Hubbard, Inc. One of the main points Mr. Hubbard pointed out about LinkedIn was this concept: Instead of looking at LinkedIn as a social media site, consider it more of a social networking tool.  Here are a few points that reinforce this concept.

Going Beyond a Resume

In addition to being a Marketing Director, I’m also the head of Human Resources.  Working in HR, people often state they only see LinkedIn as a resume tool; a way to get their name out there.  Though LinkedIn does fill that need for some people, it shouldn’t be seen as it’s only purpose.  In fact, if you’re in sales or any type of business development, LinkedIn has the potential to be a powerful tool.

LinkedIn UsageHere is an example of how people use LinkedIn in regard to the stage in their careers.  The blue represents time spent networking, and shows that every career stage spends a portion of their time networking, as well as reaching out to people on LinkdedIn.  With that in mind, take a look at your profile.  Instead of focusing on what you do, review your profile, and see if it shows what value you add to your customers and your target market.

Preparation

Before going on a sales call, how do you prepare?  Hopefully you research your customer, and their business; but have you ever considered performing a LinkedIn search?  You can view your customer, learn about their business, and see who else works at the organization.  You may even find that you have a connection to the business and the prospect that you were unaware of before your LinkedIn search.

Follow Up

After attending a networking function (i.e. an after hours Chamber of Commerce event) how do you follow up with those you met at the event?  How do you follow up with a prospect or customer after a sales call?  Finding people on LinkedIn and asking them to connect is a good way to follow up.  This can keep you in the loop with them (especially if they are an active LinkedIn user) and can provide you with insight to see what their needs are.

Final Point: Communication

The previous point suggest growing your LinkedIn network, but here are two pointers I have found beneficial:

Invitation: When you invite someone to connect on LinkedIn, there is an automated message LinkedIn uses:

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

Instead of using this impersonal message, try customizing it base on the person you’re connecting with and why.

Thank You: When you connect with someone, either by your invitation or their invitation, be courteous and thank them for the connection.  It only takes a couple of minutes and can go a long way.

To learn more about LinkedIn, especially if you’re in the banking industry, check out this post from Jack Hubbard and Jason Tonioli: 5 LinkedIn Myths Bankers Need to Shake.

What steps do you take to get the most of our LinkedIn?

 

Recruitment

Basketball and HoopLast week while leaving lunch, I bumped into a current SEC basketball coach.  As we were riding on an elevator, the coach was asked what he looked for when recruiting a new player.  The coach quickly listed three things:

  • Leadership
  • Character
  • Teamwork

The coach was then asked,

How about talent?

The coach then stated,

That’s should already be assumed.  Why else would I be looking to recruit the player?

Now I’m not knocking the coaches last response; but nothing should be assumed when it comes to recruitment.  Whether you are in sports or in business, recruitment is a tough task.  Being able to scout talent, conduct great interviews and perform a background check are important steps when building a great organization.

Good Scouting

When looking for the right person to work for your company, consider the following questions:

  • Does the candidate fit your company culture?  Successful corporations make sure this answer is an emphatic yes.  Zappos is just one example of how a company can grow by focusing on people who already live by the values of their corporate culture.  Regardless of the size of your company, hiring someone who has the same values as your company is vital.  Just make sure it is not a “yes man” you’re hiring.
  • Does the candidate have the right experience?  Looking to hire a sales person?  Great, but what type of sales?  Do you want to hire someone with a portfolio and experience in your line of business?  By answering these types of questions ahead of time, you will be able to scout a great candidate and not get lost in the “hype” of the candidate.

Interviewing

After the initial scouting process, the next logical step is interviewing.  Depending on the job, this can be a short or long process.

  • How many interviews do you conduct?  Unless you already have a working relationship with someone, you should never hire someone based off only one interview.  Regardless of the position, at least two interviews should be conducted.  This allows for any additional questions to be asked and give both you and the candidate a better “feel” about the position’s needs/expectations.
  • How many people are involved in the interview process?  It’s nice to have a different perspective, but don’t turn the interview into a 12 person interrogation.  Having two people at one time during an interview is a good number.  This way a company can get more than one point of view, while the person being interviewed can still be in a relaxed setting.
  • Do you conduct a personality profile?  Personality profiles like DiSC are great tools to use when hiring a new candidate.  These profiles can offer a perspective about how a person interacts with people and shows you how best to communicate with a potential new hire.

Background Check

Overlooking a background check can really come back to haunt you.  A good background check can validate what a candidate has stated about their past and can help you get a better fill for a candidate.

  • References: Have some solid questions ready for each reference.  These are the people a candidate wants you to call, so be ready to ask some open ended questions that can shed light on a person’s experience, character and attitude.
  • Previous Employment: Previous employers usually don’t give out too much information, but you can at least make sure candidates gave you the right information about how long they worked somewhere.
  • Criminal and Credit Check: Never hurts to double check to see if a person is swimming in debt or has a shady history.  If something comes up, give the candidate an opportunity to explain the situation; it shouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker…unless it’s something really, really bad.

Not every hire will be a perfect fit and may end with a termination, but by doing your part you can minimize hiring the wrong candidate.  Following the previously mentioned steps will help you find the right person and reduce the risk of hiring someone who may not live up to the expectation.

Motivation vs. Manipulation

When it comes to coaching and mentoring, there are times when people unfortunately make the mistake of confusing motivation with manipulation.

Most of the time the difference between the two are simple, but there are a few situations where there may be a grey area.  Wether you are the one coaching or the one being coached, consider the following points:

  • Selfishness vs Selflessness.  This is the best metric to use when determining if the advice you are either giving or receiving is a tool of motivation or manipulation.  Just ask yourself if what you are doing will only help you or if it will help and benefit others around you.
  • Short-term and Long-term.  When coaching, the advice and leadership given should be pointing someone in the direction that will help them in the short-term and long-term.
  • Ethical and Moral Alignment.  Coaching and mentoring in the workplace is a great win-win situation.  When a company can pair a seasoned, experienced worker with an up-and-comer, it can produce great, long-term results.  It’s important to remember that any coaching or mentoring should not only be good for the company, but good for the person.  If a coach/mentor is leading someone to grow up the company ladder by using back-door deals and agreeing to do questionable projects, then not only the future of the company is in jeopardy, but so is the future of the one being mentored.

If you follow these three points, it will be clear to see if the advice you are giving (or receiving) falls under the angel or devil side of your shoulder.

If you are the one receiving coaching from a mentor and you see a pattern of manipulative leadership, run away…FAST.  Most likely the person is not confusing manipulation and positive motivation; they are purposely using manipulation for selfish, personal gain.

In other words, don’t become Evil Homer!

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