Monday, January 26, 2015

The Cost of Contempt

"They hate us because they ain't us" - Dave Skylark

To be truly great one must possess talent, the tenacity of hard work, creativity, and a network of loyal supporters. It is hard to be successful because it us so easy to give up. People fear commitment, they quit when they feel pain, they are not bold enough to try unproven tactics, and are incapable of unique expression. It is also much easier to criticize than to risk failure.

The New England Patriots have been the benchmark for greatness in the NFL for nearly 2 decades. They have the best players, the best coaches and the best organizational leaders. They draft better than any other team, they develop players better than any other team and they never stop accelerating. Their Coach and Quarterback are among the best of all time yet they are consistently complimenting teams of lesser talent while looking for areas in which to improve. In a world filled with critics, all those blogging from their Mom's basement can do is find ways to denigrate the Patriots lifelong commitment to quality.

There are two realities in life:
1. You can try as hard as you want but the more talented almost always prevail.
2. Regardless of your talent, hard work is a necessity.

My friend and Human Resources Icon, John Hudson, recently hosted a conversation paralleling the world of sports with the world of work. The topic could not have been more timely. There is a lot organizations can learn from the New England Patriots and a lot employees can learn from the haters out there.

Talent First!
I coach 6 year old girls in soccer. If you think this sounds like a flower picking affair, you are wrong! These girls have been playing since they were 2, have played over 50 games together and have an ambition that any organization would die to have in their talent pool. You can game plan with 6 year olds all day and it will not matter, if you have the best talent, you win. Organizations are no different.

Recruitment is a term that to me means an active search for the best possible talent. Organizational development means the bold commitment of an organization to develop every employee to the top of their potential. Yet, we fill jobs for the sake of having a max head count and we cancel organizational programs that develop talent. We think it is cheaper to hire B players and are afraid that if we teach our employees too much they will take their talents elsewhere.


The Skill We Can Teach!
I've seen so many people squander their talent because they were improperly engaged. I've been infinitely fortunate to have great parents, coaches and professional mentors. I've also had a million people advise against my ability. Fortunately, I was never very good at listening to my critics because my supporters talked a hell of a lot less and said so much more.

Any company you join will roll out the red carpet for you during the recruitment process but at some point the shoes switches feet. The things you can control are your level of commitment and your ability to ignore the less talented. You should also understand that she who wears the shoe is always in charge. If you work hard and possess a mind capable of producing evolutionary ideas... no one reserves the right to judge you, your choices are your own.

The New England Patriots don't need deflated footballs or the other team's signals to win. We simply live in a world where people who fail to try feel they are entitled to an explanation for greatness......

If you need someone to explain it to you, you will never know.

Don't Forget to Remember!


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