Stop me when you figure out the pattern in the following names:
- Joe Torre
- Tony Larussa
- Phil Jackson
- Pat Riley
Why's this on my mind? How about the fact that the Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA, pro hoops) are reported to be bringing in Laker legend, Kurt Rambis, as their next head coach. Need a primer on Rambis? Click here to remember that he was a safety glasses wearing, no jump shot, hustle freak on the great Laker teams that featured Magic Johnson and Kareem.
He wore safety glasses people. That's all you need to know to love this hire. Like the Rock once said, he knew his role and shut his mouth.
If you've been in the talent game, you know that the best widget-maker is widely reported to be the best widget-maker manager. Stars are often thought to have the best skills to become effective managers, so they usually get first dibs on the promotion. It rarely works out - stars have special skills, and tend to get frustrated when the masses can't do what they did - whether it's make more widgets, close more sales and yes - hit the jumper off the double baseline screen with amazing consistency.
Role players, on the other hand, often make terrific coaches - and managers. With that in mind, here are 5 reasons why you should hire a role player for your next manager opening (I'll call the role player you seek "Rambis" for the remainder of this post) rather than a star:
1. Rambis knows how hard the game is. As a result, he's patient with all the circumstances around him. Don't have money for a new break room? Rambis is OK - he's not used to the new stuff anyway.
2. Because he knows how hard the game is, Rambis is a better coach. He's patient and been humbled before, which means he'll spend more time with the role players on your team and maximize their effort.
3. Rambis will never sell your company out. You didn't have to give him the shot, but you did. In return, that spells loyalty from Rambis toward your organization.
4. You look smart when you win with Rambis. Others promoted a star to their last manager vacancy and aren't doing any better than you're doing with Rambis. You look like Bill Belichek as a result - a smart evaluator of talent.
5. Rambis is the underdog. He'll outwork the others, which goes a loooooong way. Whatever the makeup of your Rambis, you'll smile every time you see his safety glasses, the old car he won't trade in because he's practical, or whatever image reminds you that he's Rambis.
So, the next time you're going to promote someone to a manager spot, don't choose the Magic Johnson of your organization. Choose your Kurt Rambis...