SPORTS AND HR: The 8 Man Rotation - The 2013 Season (Ebook)

For those of you not down with the whole comparing our corporate talent lives to the world of sports thing...

As Eddie Vedder once said, this is not for you... 8man1

However, if you see sports news, signings, roster decisions and more through your lens of HR, Talent and/or Recruiting, then do we have an eBook for you...

It's the next installment of the world-famous free Ebook on Sports and HR - The 8 Man Rotation - The 2013 Season.

What is The 8 Man Rotation?

It is a group of my HR pals (and me), Lance HaunTim SackettSteve Boese, and Matt Stollak (me is Kris Dunn) who make it a habit throughout the year serving up the HR/Talent version of the 'hot sports take', helping you to see and then exploit what happens in the sports world in your HR shop.

Compiled and edited by mighty Matt 'akaBruno' Stollak, the 2013 Season is the longest, and most comprehensive of all the 8 Man Rotation editions, coming in at a ridiculous 165 pages, all about the intersection of HR, Talent Management, Recruiting, Leadership and sports. And in 2013, we have a great introduction from HR pro and noted New Orleans Saints fan, Robin Schooling.

Of course you don't have to read all 165 pages (you should), you can bounce from topic to topic, and article to article, as Matt did a great job organizing a year's worth of sports takes into a coherent volume.

So please check out The 8 Man Rotation - The 2013 Season here - it's worth it! 


THE 8-MAN ROTATION e-BOOK: Because Sports and HR Are Hopelessly Connected...

That's right people...  The 8 Man Rotation e-book is back for another year....and it is our biggest edition ever!!!

You chuckled when you scanned the inaugural season covering the year in sports and HR for 2010. 8man1-300x300  You laughed...you cried...when you read the 2nd season covering 2011.

Now you're invited to check out the 3rd edition of the best sports and HR writing from the minds of Steve Boese, Matthew StollakLance HaunTim Sackett, and myself

Over 60 posts!!! Over 150 pages!!!  With gracious forewords from China Gorman and Dwane Lay.

Plus world class art from Lizzie Maldonado via the 8-Man Rotation logo seen to the right.  #nice

So, what are you waiting for?!?!?  Download the 2012 Season of the 8 Man Rotation here.

Note - This post was inspired by the work of @akabruno.


Moneyball the Movie: How Can You Miss with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill? (Video Trailer)

Question to HR pros:  Have you read the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis?  If not, stop and order it Moneyball-1022176 now.

I know.  KD talks too much about sports.  HR pros, especially the women in our industry, don't connect with you when you talk sports, KD.   Blah, blah, blah...

Couple of things on that front.  The majority of my readers are women in Talent Management, Human Resources and Human Capital, and as it turns out, a lot of them get offended when people say that they don't like sports.  Additionally, Moneyball is required reading even if you don't like sports.

Why is Moneyball required reading?  Because it's about thinking differently related to valuing talent.  It's a compensation, culture and recruiting story with a limited sports backdrop.  Talent acquisition, background check and talent sourcing at it's finest.

Plus, the movie that comes out later this year based on the book stars Brad Pitt.  Interested now ladies?  Trailer appears below (email subscribers may need to click through), take a look and let's break it down after the break.

Moneyball fans - what did you think?

Here's my thoughts - I love Pitt in the role and Jonah Hill is easy to like in anything after seeing him for the first time in Superbad.  I like the vibe of the first minute of the trailer and then the movie takes a left turn...

...into doing the whole Billy Beane (character played by Pitt) is going to get fired thing... You've got Jonah Hill in the #2 role and Pitt's got a history of doing understated comedy very well - why make it a drama?  I'm not asking for the Oakland A's version of Major League, but don't get serious with this cast in place.

Your thoughts?  I'll be going to see it later this year even with those reservations in mind....


New eBook: The 8 Man Rotation (Who Says Sports and HR Don't Mix?)

Today marks the release of The 8 Man Rotation, an ebook focused on the intersection of talent management and sports.

Put together by Matthew Stollak with contributions from Steve BoeseLance HaunTim Sackett and myself, along with forwards from Bill Kutik and Laurie Ruettimann, it’s an excellent resource for anyone looking to get some more of the game into your talent management strategy (or just a good reason to read about sports while on the clock). You can read it online or download your own copy.

Go get it.  Seriously, what are you waiting for?  It's a peanut butter and chocolate like combination....


Email Signatures and Sneakers: The Perfect Place for Employees to Wear Their Cause...

In case you missed it - and you probably did since Steve Boese, Lance Haun and Tim Sackett and I are probably the only freaks following the USA Men's Basketball team at the World Championships in Turkey - NBA rising Megastar Kevin Durant wrote "1972" on his sneakers before the quarterfinal with Russia this week.  

Not down with what that means? What's it got to do with HR? Check out the former via Yahoo Sports and I'll cover the HR angle after the jump:

"Really, anyone who has ever laced up his sneakers for an NBA game -- whatever their background, Durant shoes home country, rooting interest, or age -- should at least have a passing knowledge of the controversial finish to the gold-medal men's basketball game in the 1972 Munich Olympics.

But when you actually see the best player on the 2010 Team USA men's team reference a game that happened 16 years before he was born by writing "1972" on his sneakers -- in a game against Russia played 38 years ago to the day that then-USSR beat the USA on a disputed series of calls -- well, this is just beyond cool.

That's what Kevin Durant(notes) did Thursday. He wore "1972" on his shoes while dropping 33 points in his team's 89-79 victory over a game Russian squad. The fact that a 21-year-old superstar is referencing that medal-less (by choice) 1972 team in such an understated way? And not in a showy, jingoistic stance; but in (to use a term familiar to those who were around for the years leading up to the dissolution) a show of solidarity with that 1972 team?  Fantastic."

Let's cover what's important first.  Durant goes by the handle "KD", which I think is ultra-cool.  Sounds great doesn't it?  SB, TS, LH, KD - which one you are you going to migrate to?  The answer is obvious to me...

The fact that a kid is referencing the history of the game is cool and shows why Durant is likely to be the NBA's top star in 2 years.  Mad skills plus humility/respect for others ultimately will elevate him to that level.  How can you not have Durant at the top of your list?  Holding 1972 against the Ruskies?  His moms was probably 10 at the time. Priceless.

Now for the HR angle.  What's the equivalent of writing a message or cause on your sneakers in the workplace?  It's hard to write on dress shoes, so the most visible avenue becomes.. You guessed it - the email signature.

Why don't we see more employees trying to represent causes important to them via email signatures?  You can say it's against policy, but let's face it - it's the wild wild west out there, and someone has to complain before it would have to come down.

For added effect, consider the following:

1. If an employee has passion, it's likely to be a cause that many consider to be worthy.

2. The cause may have a connection with a polarizing topic - like lower taxes or the environment.  So if it's worthy, it might cause some division...

3. The employees most likely to be passionate are more likely to be your best employees (they've got passion to care).

4. If they're repping a cause and you make them take down the message, you risk a PR nightmare.  If they keep it up and you fire them, it's really a nightmare.

At the end of the day, you want employees like Kevin Durant.

I'm shocked more employees don't use their sneakers email signatures to send messages related to what they believe in.  Regardless of what our Darth Vader policies say.

They're Luke Skywalker, you're Vader.  If they forced you to fire them, they'd find another Death Star.

Go USA.  Go Kevin Durant.  Never, NEVER hold a press conference called the decision.  You've already shown you're better than that...


10 Ways The NBA Is Like Your HR Career....

Let's face it - there aren't that many readers of this blog who are fans of the NBA (pro hoops for the uninitiated) like I am, so writing anything with "NBA" in the title is risky from a standpoint of watching readers walk to the door and hit "unsubscribe".

Still, it's a personal as well as a professional blog.  With that in mind, screw it - I'm writing how I feel andChris-anderson-birdman with the NBA season starting up on Tuesday night, I bring you these 10 ways life in the NBA is like your HR career.  Enjoy, you closet NBA fans:

10.  The Birdman works for you and you get complaints daily.  Sure, he's got tats everywhere, and once had a 3K crack habit.  He can rebound so he stays.  Plus he's clean and works hard.  Random drug tests take care of the rest, right?

9.  You've got a salary cap as well,, and based on the economy, like a lot of NBA teams you aren't using everything in the budget either...

8.  You keep hearing that the best candidates are taking less money to go with a proven winner.  That's OK - you don't need an attitude like Rasheed Wallace on the 4th floor anyway...

7.  That last visa you sponsored didn't work out so well.  Kind of like my man Sasha coming off the bench for the Lakers...

6.  You don't work for a company, you work for a King who is the founder and so wealthy he does anything he wants regardless of your advice.  At least he's not in the lunchroom in a t-shirt yelling about no calls like Mark Cuban... Wait - it's worse than that?  Nevermind...

5. Your top salesperson just had photos of him, on a company junket,; show up on Facebook like the Miami Heat's Michael Beasley.  Wait - it's OK - he said he didn't drink from any of the bottles on the table and the lady sleeping on the sectional next to him is his life coach...

4. You were proud of your city and your plush headquarters, then the C-level recruit you had to have slapped you in the face because his wife said your city wasn't European enough.  Didn't you tell her about the reputation for great BBQ?  I mean c'mon...

3.  Moonlighting is now accepted in your company.  You saw the light when one of your customer service managers started making some wholesome CD's on the side. Seems like a nice kid...

2.  Everyone at your company is the same.  See?  The CEO even sits with the team - if you squint, you'll barely notice the fact that his chair is elevated 11 inches higher than everyone else's...

1. Your VP of Engineering just married Khloe Kardashian.  That's not going to cause a focus issue, right?

Tip it off, because this is the league for which I'll stay up to watch meaningless games until 1am.  It's all about the culture, right?

Spurs win the championship, over the Cavs in 6.  Bank it!!


Michael Jordan and the Art of Getting the Interview (and raining fire on those who doubt you)...

The economy sucks and there are about 400 candidates in play for every open position.  Let's face it, you need to pull out all the stops, because AT BEST the company doing the hiring is only going to phone screen somewhere between 5 and 15 candidates for the open position.  That means you have to find a way to cut through the clutter.

Like Public Enemy once said, you need to use ANY MEANS NECESSARY to cut through the clutter.Bowie_jordan   That includes Googling the person you think can help you (recruiter, HR pro, hiring manager), finding online bio information and comparing and contrasting your background and skills to something that matters to the person in charge.

Want an example?  Here's how a guy leveraged my sizable digital footprint against me this week, evoking the ghost of Sam Bowie vs. Michael Jordan:

September 15, 2009

Dear Mr. Dunn:

Go back 25 years. It's 1984. You have the second overall pick in the NBA draft. Who do you take? Sam Bowie (other candidates) or Michael Jordan (me)? I don't say this to appear arrogant or cocky, but you won't find someone more dedicated to becoming the best trainer for DAXKO anywhere.

I have the sheepskin (bachelor's degree in Communications from Florida State), I have the experience (12 years in the media, one year in corporate communications and two years in customer service) and really enjoy speaking in front of groups. I also delight in seeing people's reactions when something I've taught them clicks. The lightbulb coming on puts a smile on my face.

I'm proficient with multiple operating systems (Windows and OSX) as well as other technologies (social media, video and audio editing software.) I'm not satisfied until I know a technology inside and out. I also delight in sharing my knowledge with those who desire to learn. And I know that SaaS is more than just an attitude.

All I want is a chance. A chance to prove that you're smarter than Stu Inman was in 1984.

That's it. I know you're in Ottawa right now, so I'll end this message here. Thank you for reading. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,  __________

For those of you who don't know, Sam Bowie was a college basketball star at Kentucky whom the Portland Trailblazers drafted in front of Michael Jordan in the 1984 draft.  As it turns out, Bowie never reached the potential everyone thought he had (broken shins have a way of slowing your progress) and Michael Jordan, who was drafted after Bowie - well, he became the best player in the history of the galaxy. Stu Inman was the Blazers executive who made the call.  The results have always been in the back of fans' minds in Portland, even the young ones like this HR blogger you might know.

So the candidate researches me, personalizes the message and guess what?  Regardless of fit on paper, he's going to get face time for no other reason than he cared enough to be creative.  That interests the hell out of me as a fit for my company, and if you're so cynical that you wouldn't interview someone who took the time to research you, then you're a Zombie.

By the way, did anyone see the acceptance speech by Jordan at the Basketball Hall of Fame this week?  He was calling out everyone who ever thought he wasn't good enough to play.  He actually brought the coach who cut him in 9th grade to the Hall of Fame ceremony, and then took the opportunity to tell him "you were wrong".

That's passion probably worth exploring in another post.  For now, learn from the master candidate above.

Personalize the message and get through the clutter.


Want a Great Manager? 5 Reasons To Stay Away From the Stars and Hire a Scrub....

Stop me when you figure out the pattern in the following names:

  • Joe Torre
  • Tony Larussa
  • Phil Jackson
  • Pat Riley

Figured it out yet?  They're all great coaches - you're right.  More importantly, they were all mediocreRambis shirt players, at least on the level in which they ultimately became coaching icons.

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 beenRambis youth 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...


Moneyball, the NBA, and Putting Your Peeps In a Place to Succeed...

Most of us assume we've done enough for our organizations related to putting our talent in a place where it can be successful.  We found the best talent for what we could afford, recruited and signed them, gave them the tools and even did a half-day orientation.  What more could they need to succeed?

Uh... Well, as it turns out, your "on the job training" strategy might leave a little bit to be desired.KobeAdvisory

More organizations are turning to intense data mining to understand what individuals on their teams make the best decisions, as well as what circumstances need to be in place to enable great performance and solid decision-making.  It'll be awhile before this makes it to you at ACME Inc., but take a look below at the lengths the Houston Rockets will go in order to control Kobe Bryant:

Remember Moneyball? That was about new ways of valuing talent in professional sports and identifying undervalued assets through the "new talent math".  The new Moneyball isn't about acquiring talent, it's about gaining a competitive advantage via data for the talent once it's acquired. 

More on the new form of Moneyball in the NBA from Michael Lewis at the New York Times:

"People often say that Kobe Bryant has no weaknesses to his game, but that's not reallyBattier 1  true. Before the game, Shane Battier was given his special package of information. "He's the only player we give it to," Morey says. "We can give him this fire hose of data and let him sift. Most players are like golfers. You don't want them swinging while they're thinking." The data essentially broke down the floor into many discrete zones and calculated the odds of Bryant making shots from different places on the court, under different degrees of defensive pressure, in different relationships to other players - how well he scored off screens, off pick-and-rolls, off catch-and-shoots and so on. Battier learns a lot from studying the data on the superstars he is usually assigned to guard. For instance, the numbers show him that Allen Iverson is one of the most efficient scorers in the N.B.A. when he goes to his right; when he goes to his left he kills his team. The Golden State Warriors forward Stephen Jackson is an even stranger case. "Steve Jackson," Battier says, "is statistically better going to his right, but he loves to go to his left - and goes to his left almost twice as often." The San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginóbili is a statistical freak: he has no imbalance whatsoever in his game -- there is no one way to play him that is better than another. He is equally efficient both off the dribble and off the pass, going left and right and from any spot on the floor.

Bryant isn't like that. He is better at pretty much everything than everyone else, but thereBattier_4-190 are places on the court, and starting points for his shot, that render him less likely to help his team. When he drives to the basket, he is exactly as likely to go to his left as to his right, but when he goes to his left, he is less effective. When he shoots directly after receiving a pass, he is more efficient than when he shoots after dribbling. He's deadly if he gets into the lane and also if he gets to the baseline; between the two, less so. "The absolute worst thing to do," Battier says, "is to foul him." It isn't that Bryant is an especially good free-throw shooter but that, as Morey puts it, "the foul is the worst result of a defensive play." One way the Rockets can see which teams think about the game as they do is by identifying those that "try dramatically not to foul." The ideal outcome, from the Rockets' statistical point of view, is for Bryant to dribble left and pull up for an 18-foot jump shot; force that to happen often enough and you have to be satisfied with your night. "If he has 40 points on 40 shots, I can live with that," Battier says. "My job is not to keep him from scoring points but to make him as inefficient as possible." The court doesn't have little squares all over it to tell him what percentage Bryant is likely to shoot from any given spot, but it might as well.

The reason the Rockets insist that Battier guard Bryant is his gift for encouraging him into his zones of lowest efficiency. The effect of doing this is astonishing: Bryant doesn't merely help his team less when Battier guards him than when someone else does. When Bryant is in the game and Battier is on him, the Lakers' offense is worse than if the N.B.A.'s best player had taken the night off."

It's pretty impressive, and all done in the name of providing Battier an edge in his head-to-head with Kobe.  Like I said at the jump, it will be awhile before this approach makes it to you and me, but from a development perspective, what data can you provide your talent to make better decisions in head-to-head interaction with competitors, as well as the decisions they make about their own career development?  What about the daily decisions they make in what to work on?

Until you and I have a plan, we're really just doing the workplace equivalent of hoping that Kobe misses a lot of shots on his own - without thinking about what WE can do to influence the performance outcome.

And that's humbling...


Capitalist Superbowl Prediction - Job Board Ads Will Suck, and One Player/Agent Relationship Will Transcend the Game...

Last chance for Superbowl predictions.  Who ya got?

My predictions (email subscribers click through for the video):

1.  I predict there will be a meaningful exchange between a Cardinals wide receiver and his agent that will transcend the game.  OK, that's probably not going to happen, but I can't watch the Cardinals without thinking of Rod Tidwell and his struggling agent, Jerry McGuire.  Here are two scenes involving both to get you in the mood to root for the Cardinals on Sunday (go to 3:11 of the second video for the good stuff in that one):

2.  The CareerBuilder ad is going to suck.  Here's one on YouTube reported to be the 2009 ad entry from CareerBuilder.  Note to the marketing guys at CB - get the customer service rep in the speedo MUCH earlier in the spot.

Oh yeah - #3 - Cardinals 34, Steelers 31.  Enjoy the game and the commercials...