In the progression of building a team, by the time you reach the on-boarding phase you have done much of the initial heavy lifting. Where in years past candidates would seek out your organization looking for an opportunity for employment, the tables have now turned and most companies are actively engaging in proactive recruiting measures.
According to Fit Small Business, a 2017 study from Hire Well noted that, “52% of hiring managers claim that passive candidate recruitment has been less effective.” When your corporate and/or local listing are competing not only with a void in the labor market of available candidates but also the likes of professional recruiters on sites such as LinkedIn, your traditional methods of recruitment are going to lose their effectiveness. Employers that are looking to add talent to their organization are going to have to adopt the posture of hunters who understand their target and are adapting to the surroundings which would include a shortage of prey.
One quick tip is to expedite the screen process through simple means such as texting candidates as introduced in our article, Text For Hire.
If you have new employees to on-board into your organization than you have at least been able to chip away and some fragment of the quantity issue. You have increased your headcount, even if that is only one employee, which is something many companies are struggling to do. This deserves at least a golf clap. Now we want to begin the quality aspect of team additions, we want to create an entry experience that excites them to engage in the organization’s mission. In their book, Insuring Tomorrow, Tony Canas and Carly Burnham work to bridge many of the gaps between organizations and millennial employees. Tony and Carly have some practical tips for the first day and orientation throughout their book in addition to reversing a myth about millennials and criticism, “They’re absolutely comfortable with getting constructive feedback, but worry much more if they get no feedback, which is what is truly demotivating for a Millennial (p 58).”
When on-boarding new team members, those in positions of leadership should correct bad habits and details early. As the Hall of Fame UCLA basketball coach John Wooden states, “A coach is someone who can give correction without creating resentment.” If your hiring process has enabled you to attract candidates that connect with your organizational mission and values then this tone of coaching should already have been outlined. The right additions want to know how to do things the right way and how to excel in their roles within the team. Honest feedback is good feedback when progressing towards a goal. If there is push back on the feedback given, leaders will need to determine whether there was a miscommunication, an inability or an unwillingness as outlined in our article Conflict. Each response requires a different approach and will result in a different outcome.
All of our processes should be geared towards creating clarity as a lack of clarity is the prime catalyst for the corrosive effects of confusion and explosive tension of negative conflict. As we establish clarity in our vision, our values and our systems then we can develop consistency in our processes as well as accountability in our organization. Every phase is important and clear communication is essential from recruitment, to on-boarding and on through employee development. Be clear about your values and consistent in your approach and the process will create team members who are engaged and able to assist with building accountability throughout the organization.
// References // 1) Fit Small Business; 2) Insuring Tomorrow
I didn’t start making any real money until I got into remediation work, does that mean that my wife is a mold digger?
Would anyone other than a property restoration professional think this was funny? How did you get into water damage mitigation and microbial growth (the four letter word – mold) remediation or bio hazard (crime scene) clean up? I answered job posting in the local newspaper, when that was still a thing, for carpet cleaning at a time when the job market was thin and I wanted any job that would 1) get me away from my current employment and 2) allow me some flexibility to go to night school. In my initial interview I expressed that I was studying for a degree in criminal justice and the owner of the local franchise restoration company told me, “You would be great for our mold division.” Not having any idea what that was, I
replied, “Why yes. Yes I would.”
I have had many people over the years ask, what is a mold remediation division? It may be difficult for many to imagine but there was a time when insurance companies were paying on mold claims and there was plenty of work. Our organization had a good section of the local market, something that many franchises are no longer allowed to do, and our team was knocking out projects. In my professional pursuits doors were not opening in the path that I anticipated heading down while doors were opening in this new profession that only months before I did not know even existed. Sometimes we can be slow to recognize the clear turns that our journey is taking, but thankfully I was able to see a real opportunity to grow thanks to good leadership and support from my family.
I always tell new recruits – if you are honest, hard working and willing to learn, we can teach you to be productive in our industry (see article Hiring, 3 Character Keys). How do I know this? Because this is exactly what I brought to the table and was fortunate enough to have good leaders who were willing to teach me the skills necessary to succeed as well as provide opportunities for me to grow in the property restoration profession. Good leaders are a blessing to their organizations and their employees, if you are in leadership you have the privilege and the responsibility to keep those torches burning – whether you were provided with good examples by good leaders or if you had to carve your own path.
The reality of the superstar and their impact on teams whether in the business, professional sport or youth competition realms is a dynamic that all leaders need to understand. Celebrity and sports (as well as business) is a common modern narrative and it is arguable whether an individual can successfully navigate an elevated status of both their personal brand while maintaining their professional excellence over an extended period. The Beckham Experiment by Grant Wahl (2009) reads as a what-not-to-do when you’ve acquired an international mega star the likes of David Beckham. While David was not the first star that American soccer brought into the fold to attempt to elevate the environment but he certainly was the one whom many thought would be the bearer of the awakening of Major League Soccer (MLS). Most readers will recognize the Beckham name but likely share a lack of knowledge for his skill as a player nor the early history of professional soccer in the United States, to this Franklin Foer notes about this book, “David Beckham is more than a gifted player. He is a multinational conglomerate. And in Grant Wahl’s extraordinary telling, his sojourn in Los Angeles makes for a gripping tale about the business of sports and the growth pangs of American soccer.”
Team owners and management groups drool at the potential for positive financial as well as performance enhancements by bringing a celebrity figure to the team. There is a mythical formula in business, professional sports and even in youth competition that theorizes the missing component is that one player who will take us over the top – and of course that one player is always somewhere other than from within the current program so that one player is cyclical pursuit by struggling organizations. For the Los Angeles Galaxy, the Beckham move brought the spotlight for a time and yet the wide angle view of the behind the scenes story serves as a modern day Aesop’s Fable for any leadership team when working with star athletes or employees. If you were compiling a list of what you should not do, the list might include rushing an injury, mismanaging personalities, surrendering control and poor communication, which not too coincidentally are all plot points in the account of Beckham and the Galaxy.
Good teams become great ones when the members trust each other enough to surrender the Me for the We. – Phil Jackson
Of particular significance to the soccer community affecting team dynamics and the nature of the game was how the Galaxy management handled the captaincy of the club. With what appears to be total disregards for the process of the honor of donning the team captain’s arm band, rather than allow nature to take its course, one that likely would have arrived at the desired result, those in leadership positions attempted to force the issue. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, the team captain in soccer is a cherished position which recognizes a player who emulates the team values, sets a tone for the group and serves as a key intermediary between the coaches and players. Alexi Lalas, a former player and American national team star now serving as the general manager of the Galaxy noted, “In a professional sports environment you’d be surprised to know the gravity with which it’s [captains armband] seen and how important it ends up being.” Given David Beckham’s prestige as a player as well as a star, if David came to camp and played as expected it would have been a natural progression for him to be named captain voluntarily by the players as well as the standing captain, the young Landon Donovan who was an up and coming star in his own right.
Instead there was a table side meeting wherein the suits of the organization in all their wisdom decided they would prime the pump for Beckham’s reception within the LA Galaxy by awkwardly asking Landon to hand over the captain’s armband before the international celebrity had even set foot on the pitch. As the story goes, David either was not the leader that the Galaxy expected or perhaps so much of the star’s life was manufactured behind the scenes as it was being done in Los Angeles. As noted by Wahl, “It was one thing to take part in team events, but it was another thing to lead, to act like a captain, to rally the players during tough times and represent the greater good of the team—with the coach, with the front office—even when it might not have been in the personal interest of the captain himself.” There came to be a recognition that David was a good teammate who knew how to joke around as well as when to turn in on to be serious and/or competitive, yet when the team needed a boost or the captain to take the lead, Beckham did not take the prompts to intervene as a captain. So, Captain Galaxy, as some referred to David, was known to be a good teammate yet a bad captain. David was placed in a role that he had not earned and perhaps was not the right fit for which was one of the many examples of the bumbling of the Beckham Experiment. This process sold a lot of tickets for many clubs which were struggling for revenue within the MLS but ultimately did little to propel the Galaxy’s success internally nor externally.
Someone once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become. - Anonymous
Internally the Los Angeles team enjoyed the elevated status on road trips as they stayed in more elegant hotels than they had prior to David’s arrival and were received as rock stars whenever they went out on the town following games but were split as a locker room with regards to how the team dynamics developed with Beckham on the American pitch. The right players in the right roles executed within the clear vision of the team was absent. A team needs clarity from top to bottom in order to execute a plan with any chance of attaining success. Externally the Los Angeles organization made money on their experiment even though they could not put a consistent winning effort together in the three seasons that Beckham was associated with the team. The dawn of the Bruce Arena era demonstrated a glimpse of how to effectively hold a mega star accountable to the mission of the team even if their coaching group was unable to keep the elaborate experiment that they inherited on its tracks. Leadership, identity, clarity and accountability were all essential ingredients for success that came after the Beckham experiment was over. The responsibility for these failures should not be solely applied to David as the organization as a whole failed to plan clearly, execute consistently or create accountability within the system that would allow the Galaxy to optimize the opportunity.
Every team that hinges their turn around and success on the acquisition of a star player soon finds that most problems are not solved by a single individual. With The Beckham Experiment and the LA Galaxy there is so much more that rests in the column of what could have been than in the account of what transpired for the good of the team. For a team to be successful it needs to operate on clear vision, values and principles that are carried out from top to bottom. Superstars need a solid structure around them as much as any other player does, it is only with a strong organizational framework that all parties will have the greatest chance for success. Managers need to manage. Coaches need to coach. While stars get some fringe benefits as well as some special treatment, at the end of the day all players need to play regardless of how famous they are. When everyone understands their roles and focuses on being the best they can be in that role, even if that means sacrificing personal glory for team achievement, within this combined effort is the recipe for sustained success.
It’s wild how often we fail to empathize with persons we should so readily be able to identify with. In the world of coaching youth sports, we adults often forget what it’s like to be a kid. Even though, like our students, adults spend most of our day locked in a prison like facility, being barked at by our superiors while we follow directives that may make little sense.
Kids come to practice wound up after being held captive for hours – aren’t we adults wound up after being mind numbingly sedentary in our work environment?
We show up at practice and the kids are out of control, is it because –
A) These kids just don’t comprehend the value of the skills you are imparting to them?
B) These kids have terrible parents who have no discipline and therefore have low thresholds for paying attention or valuing your unpaid investment in their futures?
C) The education system is failing these kids because…Obama or Bush or whomever you like to blame for our nations current conditions?
D) Your practice is boring…
Coaching kids is no easy assignment. But if you passed the rigorous requirements of being the only one brave enough to volunteer, you have committed yourself to doing your best with what you have to help these kids learn and enjoy the sport.
For every youth sport team there are 1) the kids that want to be there, 2) the kids that have a mild interest, and 3) the kids that their parents just signed him up for something to get them out of the house. Regardless of where they are coming from it’s your job as the coach to find creative ways to engage them to commit in some level to the team. Unfortunately the same approach won’t work for all kids.
A few tips we have learned through years of experience coaching youth of all ages and skills:
1) Get as much help as you can.
Draft other parents to assist with practice or even components in practice. Enlist their help and give them assignments, especially if they are vocal at games about what is going wrong. “Thank you for your passion and input, since you know so much about this sport why don’t you come and assist.”
Empower your stars to assist in teaching their teammates core skills.
Often kids that are the most challenging need to be challenged, give them opportunities to assist you with the team.
As you solicit assistants, keep control by giving helpers specific assignments or areas of oversight.
The kid has a mild interest your goal here is primarily to make it fun especially at the younger ages then they can fall in love with the sport or activity and see the value in what you are trying to do. These kids for the most part if you can show them how to win or score they will engage more fully in the process. Often you can make a challenge to get them engaged.
2) Have a plan.
Reading accounts from successful coaches they all come to practice prepared to maximize the time and efforts of all involved. We like to break our practices into 10 minute segments so that practice is structured and keeps a tempo.
When you have a plan as a coach you are mentally organized, you can enable people to assist you and the kids will better respond to the structure (See more on constructing a practice plan in our Dyojo Article – Yes, Practice).
An important aspect of the plan is to mix the fun of tea sport with the skills of the sport. As a youth coach your goal is to make the memory of your sport a good one, to progressively teach your team core skills (they won’t get them all at once) and to be a physical outlet for kids. If the kids are having fun and learning something, you are doing your job right.
3) Remember to have fun.
In most sports kids need to be fit enough to play, which usually involves running, find creative ways to get their lungs burning. For basketball and soccer, a simple running drill is to have two players on the line, throw a ball as far as you can and have them scrimmage 1 v 1 back to the starting point. Running + skills + competition = good drill.
For those kids that mom and dad just dropped them off and they want nothing to do with your activity, you are fighting an uphill battle. Find a means to challenge them to engage – for example some kids respond to pointing out that another kid is better than them and you want them to see if they can beat the one who is excelling. Some kids respond to challenges related to certain benchmarks, determine if you can help them set achievable goals that will boost their confidence in the sport. At some point if the kid is just relentless and will not listen you need to engage the support of the parents and or your activities supervisor because having them in that environment isn’t fair to you as a volunteer to the other kids who are working hard. This should be a last resort, not your first option.
Coaching, like many things in life, can be fun or frustrating. Much of your experience has to do with your perspective and how you approach the challenge. Start by setting aside some time to prepare yourself, get your bearings and stick to the plan. Get yourself some help and try to have fun. Remember that these kids, much like you, have been penned in for most of the day, your time at practice is an opportunity to get some of those physical and mental frustrations worked out in through a positive medium.
At the end of the season if each kid had fun and made some progress in their skills, your efforts were successful. Good job coach.
If you are an adult looking to burn off some steam from work or coaching, check out our article on adding competition to your fitness routine.
Jon Isaacson / IZ Ventures - More than coaching and consulting, we help you Connect, Collaborate & Conquer. #MTWSL
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