My Week at the NBA Summer League In Las Vegas, Part 1 (Featuring Lessons on Talent)

Went to Vegas this week with a few bloggers of note - Steve Boese,  Tim Sackett and Matt Stollak. Our destination had a nerd quality to it  - The NBA Summer League, where professional basketball hopefuls convene to prove they have what it takes to be one of 450 players who play in the best hoops league in the world.

Now - you should know that only about 20% of the players who attend and play in the Vegas Summer League are actual NBA players - the rest are draft choices and free agents who are scrapping and doing whatever it takes to impress the teams. 

Why go to this event? First, we like hoops.  More importantly, I go because there's a huge morality play on talent going on at the Summer League.  If NBA veterans are the best 450 players in the world, what we saw is 451-1500, and the differences are pretty small between spots 350 to 450 in the NBA and the better players in the summer league.  Who decides? What makes the difference between making a NBA roster and going to Turdistan to play next winter?  

As it turns out, a lot of the NBA is probably no better at evaluating talent than the rest of us - and there's a lesson in that.   Here's Part 1 of the story of the weekend as told through my Instagram account (enable pictures if you viewing this in email or just click through - captions and comments included with the picture).

 

From the NBA Summer League: Meet a Summer League matchup that matters. Colin Sexton vs Aaron Holiday. Sexton was a one and done from Bama, drafted 8th overall by the Cavs with the pic that the Cavs protected for when Lebron left. Holliday is a 3-year guy from UCLA drafted 23rd overall by the pacers. Which asset is the most valuable? It depends how close the gap is. Sexton won the scoring battle 19-12, but the gap was closer than that. At the end of the day, Sexton will get lots of minutes in a post apocalyptic Cleveland and Holliday will go to the bench behind veteran guards on a good Indiana team and remain an affordable asset. Result from the Summer League: Indiana is very happy, Cleveland is hopeful. Sexton 7th in top 100 in class of 2017. Holiday 88th in class of 2015. Margins are thin in the show.

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From the NBA Summer League in Vegas, v3.0: Danny Ainge, GM and President of the Boston Celtics plopped down next to us during the game after the Celtics played on Monday like he was a tourist from Des Moines who decided to pop over to the gym after growing tired of the games on the strip. I first saw Ainge at the Summer League two summers ago in 2016, when he was courtside in the small gym checking out that years 3rd overall pick - Jaylen Brown play in the Summer League. I'll never forget how hard he rode the officials that day, like he was Jaylen's dad. Brown struggled that Summer League and had a uneven ride his first year, but the results are clear - that pick was gold. Add the Jason Tatum heist to the mix, and you get why people are likely scared to make a trade with him these days. Danny's known as an talented trader as a GM, someone who naturally understands talent and the value of a having a talent plan. I sent this picture back home and my wife commented, "that is a possessed look on Ainge's face". That's the best description of Ainge at the Summer League I can provide. When watching a game, he's constantly taking a longer, intense look at players who make a play, almost like he's running what he saw through his own algorithm and determining whether what he saw was worth noting for the future. He does this, btw, when other people are trying to talk to him, a clear sign that he's more interested in evaluating talent than talking to people who want something from him. He didn't really have a reason or need to be watching a non-Celtic game at the Summer League from the stands, but there he was. Taking it in and watching guys who made a play run down the court with this look on his face. Last time I saw someone so notable take the time to evaluate players at the Summer League with next to no shot make the league, it was Danny Ferry, the former Duke star and GM of the Hawks. Ferry built the 60 win Hawks from scratch, which now seems like 50 years ago instead of 2014. Whether it's basketball or corporate America, great evaluators of talent don't stop evaluating - it's in their blood. #nba #summerleague

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Part Two on your way on Friday!


The Art of Rejecting/Approval: Automatic Action Means You're a Complete ##$ - Or a Robot...

The problem with tech, machine learning and A.I. is that we can at times do things too fast.

This seems like a good problem to have in a world where most candidates for jobs go into black holes and never get feedback, right? Delete

Never getting action on something important to you is a HUMAN problem.

Getting action within 1-5 minutes on something important to you is a TECH/A.I problem.

Need some examples? Here you go:

1--I wrote a review on Amazon for Tim Sackett's book last week.  It may have been the first review I ever completed on Amazon.  What was interesting about what happened when I clicked "submit" was the speed at which approval moved.  I was surprised to get a landing page and a follow up email from Amazon telling me that my review was pending approval.  After all, this is Amazon - can't they figure out that I'm not a evil-doer by a systems/computer/IP scan of my review?  My surprise was soon muted when 5-7 minutes after I submitted the review, it was approved.  Think about that for a second.

2--I was speaking at a Jobvite function in Atlanta last week to a room full of recruiters, and I asked the following question - "how do candidates judge you as a recruiter?"  One quick answer that was provided was "speed".  My audience said what you already know - that candidates expect speed from recruiters.  But one voice was quick to point out that in the art of rejection, too much speed could be harsher than never hearing your status at all.  Example - recruiter has manageable workload and is committed to keep her ATS workflow clean.  Candidate comes in that is obviously under-qualified and not right for the job.  You see the application 4 minutes after the candidate pushed send.  Do you reject them that soon?  My audience said no, you needed to wait to spare the candidate's feeling. I agree.

In both circumstances, world-class speed to the next action was available.  Amazon's tech obviously approved my review - there's too many reviews flowing through the system for it to be handled any other way.  But someone decided that auto-approving my review didn't show the proper level of consideration.  Same thing with the recruiter - rejection within 5 minutes was too harsh.

Someday soon, your ATS will scan a resume and tell you whether it's good or not, much like Amazon did to my review.  You won't have to decide on whether to reject each candidate individually, but you will have to decide on how much time passes before rejection feels like you gave a resume proper consideration.

What's proper consideration mean time-wise before you reject a candidate?  I'm thinking 4 hours minimum.

What do you think?

 


Professional White Guys and Stretch Goals for Business Casual: Ricky Rubio Edition...

It's Friday, and whether you work in a software company or a bank, you had a decision on what to wear to work.

No one is more confused than the professional class white guy.  I'm on record about having opinions on this through the following tutorials:

BEST PRACTICES IN BLUE BLAZERS FOR THE CONTEMPORARY WHITE PROFESSIONAL CLASS MALE

BEYOND BLUE BLAZERS - THE PANTS CHOICES OF PROFESSIONAL WHITE MEN IN AMERICA

If you're not a white guy, feel free to partake in these tutorials as you see fit and use at your discretion - there are lessons for all in these, but as a white guy, I'm an expert in the behaviors of the caucasian male. Rubio2

But back to today's post.  Let's say you've devoured the contents of my tutorials and have your game together.  You pants game is tight and you've updated the blue blazer you wear.  You're content, but now you want more.

Where do you go?

Well, I don't want to freak you out or cause your spouse to say, "what the hell happened to my 'Dockers-sensible' husband", but I've got the next step for you.

Two words: Ricky Rubio. (email subscribers click the title of the post in the email to go to the site if you don't see the pictures)

--Ricky Rubio is a professional basketball player for the Utah Jazz.

--Ricky Rubio is from Spain.  I think many females would say he's not hard on the eyes.

--Ricky Rubio kind of looks like Jesus these days, which is good for appearing relatable.

--Ricky Rubio is hurt and was on the bench for game one of the Jazz series vs the Houston Rockets.

--Ricky Rubio showed you the path for what's next if you've complied with my first two tutorials on dress for professional (white) guys.

Ricky Rubio rocked a gray hoodie underneath a smart, stylish blue blazer. (email subscribers click the title of the post in the email to go to the site if you don't see the pictures) Can you pull this off, professional white guy?  You say no, I say MAYBE.  It all comes down to will.  Once you walk through the office one time, the shock has been delivered.  Then you're on to your day and everyone around adjusts to the new normal, but you have to keep the blazer on.  Let's say your name is Pete.  The process of the office coping with you breaking some type of professional dress barrier goes something like this: Rubio1

--Did you see what Pete was wearing?

--Pete may have lost his mind.

--You know, that actually doesn't look bad.

--Pete dresses better than anyone around here.  I wish these other slobs were more like Pete.

--Pete is a cool #*#*##.

Or maybe it goes to hell for you.  You won't know until you try, right?

Click here for all the twitter buzz on the Rubio style and enjoy.  


WEBINAR: I GOT YOUR TEXT: 5 Ways Smart HR Pros & Recruiters Use Technology and Communication Style to Close More Candidates

OK, stay with me here HR friends...

It’s never been harder to gain the attention of the best candidates on the recruiting trail. After all, we are in peak economic cycle, the best candidates are gainfully/happily employed, and it’s easy for them to ignore your pitch for the open positions you’re working.

Never fear, the gang at Fistful of Talent (my other blog) is here to help. If you’re not getting FOTcanvasthe response rate you’d like on your initial candidate outreach, join us April 24th at 1pm ET/Noon CT, 10am PT for “I GOT YOUR TEXT: 5 Ways Smart HR Pros and Recruiters Use Technology and Communication Style to Close More Candidates,” and we’ll hit you with the following goodies:

A rundown on how the smartest HR pros and recruiters are bringing Text/SMS and other tech platforms to their game to provide the immediacy every candidate, generation, and recruiting department craves.

How the best HR pros and recruiters take it a step further and maximize their image by letting technology take care of early stage process and screenings.

How world-class HR pros and recruiters use recruitment marketing elements (from their company and under their individual brand) to show candidates they are a “recruiter of choice”

Why the best HR pros and recruiters never forgot to spend time looking great on more analog tools – voice mail, email – and a plan to stay connected with candidates between offer acceptance and start date.

The hot economy we’re living in means it’s hard to get the attention of the candidates you need. Join us on April 24th for “I GOT YOUR TEXT: 5 Ways Smart HR Pros and Recruiters Use Technology and Communication Style to Close More Candidates” and we’ll show you how to interrupt the pattern and get the talent you need for your open reqs.

REGISTER NOW BY CLICKING THIS LINK!!!


Gary V. on Negative Glassdoor Reviews at VaynerMedia...

"Jonestown on Vitamin Water"

-anonymous Glassdoor reviewer on life at Vaynermedia...

--------------------------

Admit it.  You read that quote from a reviewer on Glassdoor and thought, "yep, that could be one of our disgruntled ex-employees on Glassdoor, but they aren't that witty."  

Glassdoor is an interesting beast.  It used to be that it was all disgruntled people you fired reviewing you on Glassdoor, but that's no longer the case.  The review economy via Trip Advisor, Yelp and 1,000 other review sites has normalized who reviews you and other industries in the smartphone era.

I found the video below from VaynerMedia CEO Gary V - a noted thought leader in the digital and entrepreneurial space - which finds him digging deep on his company's Glassdoor reviews.  His company is a hard charging company and he's a hard charging leader.

Find the VaynerMedia home page on Glassdoor by clicking here - overall rating of 3.0 and 46% of reviewers approve of CEO.  That means Gary V is polarizing (duh if you know him) and the culture he's built is polarizing as well.

Video below, email subscribers click through if you can't see the player.  Worth your time as you'll find a 5-minute video talking about the mindset of the Glassdoor reviewer, his refusal to ask existing employees for positive reviews and his hope that those who left scathing reviews got the poison out of their system and are ready to move forward.

Gold - take a look, you won't regret.

 

 

  VaynerMediaGlassdoor

 

 


What To Do If Your Company Doesn't Give MLK as an Official Holiday - But You Think You Should...

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (MLK) is a holiday with increasing importance in our world.  But most companies don't provide this as an official holiday.  Here's the stats I could find via Bloomberg:

"Most U.S. workers won’t get Monday off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  A study by Bloomberg BNA found 37 percent of employees will get a paid day off, similar to the 35 percent that will be off on Presidents Day in February.

The survey found that as a paid day off, Martin Luther King Jr. Day might have plateaued. Those receiving it as a paid holiday have hovered between 30 percent and 37 percent the past five years.Manufacturers are least likely to provide it as a day off, with 10 percent offering it.

Non-federal holidays such as the Friday after Thanksgiving are more common days off. About seven in 10 employees receive that as a holiday, and 46 percent are off Christmas Eve." Mlk

MLK presents an interesting quandary for employers.  If you don't have it, employees and candidates are increasing expecting it as a holiday, and MLK - rightly or wrongly - can be used as a proxy for commitment to diversity by vocal, mobilized special interest group and employees alike.  I'm not saying you're not committed to diversity if you don't provide MLK as an official day. I'm saying it could be used against you, and all of us are smart to think about the meaning and what we should do if we don't provide it.

Let's say you've determined you want to provide MLK Day as a holiday, but you want to stay net even related to the total number of days you provide.  Here's the checklist I go down...

1--It's not enough to say people can used general PTO or floating holidays to cover it.  If you want the optics and meaning  that providing MLK day off provides, it needs to be an official holiday.

2--If you have floating holidays or general PTO banked time, you could designate MLK as an official holiday and reduce that banked time by one day. 

3--Next, you could look at your existing holidaysI rank order them like this:

Untouchable - Christmas (birth of Jesus), 4th of July (birth of our country), Memorial Day (remembering those who served and gave their lives)

Less meaningful but still untouchable - Christmas Eve (wow - try it - I wish you luck) New Year's Day (just try and take that one), Thanksgiving (our right to remember Omish-like founders and eat large amounts), Labor Day (celebrating workers - try that one)

One you could trade out, but there would be hell to pay - Day after Thanksgiving (expected if you've already given it - hello entitlement!!)

Trade this one or one like it out for MLK in 2019 - President's Day, Columbus Day, etc.  (Let's face it, the presidents are on money, and damn, Columbus didn't even really discover America, right?)

If you want to give MLK as a holiday but want to stay even related to paid time off, this is your playbook.  1) Trade out President's Day or Columbus Day if have it.  2) If you have floating holidays or generalized PTO, reduce by one day and designate MLK as official in exchange. 3) Go get Friday after Thanksgiving or (winces) Christmas Eve to trade for MLK.

Good luck if you're seeking to add MLK and stay neutral related to time off.  I hope your Change Management goes well.

 

 

 

 


ASK THE CAPITALIST: Are HR Pros with MBAs Special Anymore?

Kris- 

Would love to know your opinion on a trend I am seeing as I'm screening HR Director candidates... DOCTOR IS IN 

I used to encourage HR undergrads to pursue their MBA instead of a Masters in HR. I felt it held more value for businesses and was a tough program that would advance them in ways a specialized degree couldn't. 

I am shocked at the number of candidates I am seeing with an MBA and MA in HR. 

The result for me is I am losing respect for the MBA! I mean, if sooo many people can get one, is it really a tough program? Does it really demonstrate anything special anymore? 

What do you think? Am I way off track with my line of thinking? 

-AW

---

AW - 

I obviously have to lead with a Groucho Marx quote here - "I'd never belong to any club that would have me as a member".

Your advice is still relevant, and if it's any consolation, lots of young HR pros took your advice, right?  Now they're pissed off that people like you won't get out of the way fast enough, and in a cocktail of following AW's advice and having time on their hands - they've got more degrees than they've had jobs.  I say this as someone with 3 degrees, including a MBA.  But I'm Gen X - now a veteran of all this we call HR.

You're obviously seeing the explosion related to accessibility and availability of the MBA.  Distance learning and lots of options has made the MBA tag a bit easy to gather, which I think means you've got to evaluate what the candidates are actually presenting in a couple of different ways:

1. Where did they pick up the MBA and did they actually have to work hard to achieve it? Traditional programs where you have to spend time in class still rule in my eyes - that commitment, along with the interaction that occurs when you have to work in groups with other humans is still the most important thing.  That being said, there's a lot of online MBA programs that work the hell out of people, with University of Phoenix coming to mind.  Of course, there are a lot of diploma mills as well, which is why you feel the way you do.  

Good rule of thumb - any school with a directional name without reference to a state or city is a problem.  Southeast Missouri?  Says legit to me.  Southeastern University?  Wait, Southeastern where?  Oh, university... <shudder>

2. The most important thing related to the MBA is what they learned and how it's changed them.  With that in mind, some of your interview process has to go after what they learned from the MBA program and how they applied it.  Additionally, how has it changed them?  If someone really took the MBA and ran with it, when you ask them for a portfolio of their work at their job, you'd like to think they could provide that to you.

No portfolio means they checked off a box.  Existence of a portfolio means it changed their worldview a bit and now are looking to create work product that helps them in the future.

I still like the MBA.  I just think you'll have to do a little work to figure out what Steve Martin learned in The Jerk - what's S*** and what's Shinola.  


VIDEO: Jamming Your Business Approach/Best Practice Down Someone's Throat...

The scene - team discussion about a direction with client work.

The problem - client doesn't know what they want.  They're attempting to neuter rock star work, which will hurt the end product.

What do you do?  Your choices

1--Neuter the work.  Work product suffers, but you take a "the client is always right" approach and give them what they ask for.  Cross off the client as a reference - They'll be happy, but you won't be proud of the work.

2--Battle with them.  They're wrong.  You're right.  Let's go to war.

Of course, there is a third approach - you've got to educate them why you're approach works, maybe give them a concession or two and try to work as a consultant to take most of what you know they need.  Senior level influence in this regard - you can show them others in the industry are already deploying your approach or find others in their organization who support you.

Need a video to parody this approach?  I thought you'd never ask.  Take a look at the video below (email subscribers click through to see the video) - it's from my life as a card-carrying member of Gen X.  It's a music video from a alt-rock group called Sum41, and the intro is what I want you to look at, as the band visits a music executive who tells them he wants them to change their name to the "The Sums" based on the success of groups like "The Strokes" and "The White Stripes".

Favorite quotes from the exec:

"Do you smoke? You do now, smoke 'em up Johnny".

"What's your name? (kid says Derrick)  Not anymore it's not. It's Sven"

Get out there and influence.  They need what you got, people.