1. Love for Austin, TX and the Lonestar State.
2. Exhilaration/Exasperation while following University of Texas (UT) Longhorn Football (Hook ‘Em).
3. Grilling/Smoking just about anything – preferably with a cold one within arm’s reach (Shiner Bock, anyone?).
I am here to be both a realist and an optimist while comparing UT Football to company leadership. Both of these fine entities hope to follow the same path:
Aspire to Greatness → Achieve Greatness → Reload, and Do It Again
From 2001 to 2009, the Texas Longhorns won at least 10 football games each season. In that span, they won the National Championship in 2005, and they had a legitimate shot at another National Championship in 2009 before Colt McCoy was hurt in the first quarter. Fans of the 45-35 win over Oklahoma will even argue that Texas should have played for the National Championship in 2008!
Texas aspired to greatness, they achieved greatness over a long tenure, and then along came 2010 and a 5-7 record! What happened?!? Leaders and key players moved on to the next level.
Star players like Vince Young, Jamaal Charles, Brian Orakpo and Colt McCoy went to the NFL. Will Muschamp went from “head coach in waiting” at Texas to head coach for the University of Florida. Succession plans stumbled, the players/coaches left behind felt the weight of missed expectations, and the dreaded “rebuilding” word reared its head.
We experience similar circumstances within successful organizations:
- Key project contributors get bumped up into a management role or hired away from us to pursue that “perfect opportunity.”
- Key leaders on our management team get impatient with the succession plan, and they strike out on their own or get stolen away by other companies who can fast-track them to their leadership goals.
- Our blue chip hires prove to be more suited to complementary roles versus leadership or innovation.
- Our fans – our clients – let us know we are missing their delivery expectations as we work through these transitions.
So how do we approach this rebuilding process, and reload for another long run of success?
1. Always Recruit the Blue Chips – Your recruiters should always be on the lookout for the next superstars. This might be graduates right out of college who embrace and pursue the efficient use of new technology, or juco transfers who have proven themselves within competing organizations and are looking for the next challenges.
2. Maintain a Winning Program – Success breeds success, and everybody wants to play for the winning team. The University of Texas annually has a top-5 recruiting class because they have a tradition of success while preparing players to play at the next level (the NFL). Build your company for sustainable success, and the recruits will choose you over your competitors. They are also less likely to transfer to another program as they witness your continued commitment to success.
3. Grow Talent Within – Signing top recruits is crucial. Grooming them to take on greater responsibility is the next step. You should also provide training for your assistant coaches – your managers and directors – so they feel appreciated and equipped. As more senior employees and leadership move on, this well-groomed next generation can step into leadership roles without breaks in continuity.
4. Define and Execute a Succession Plan – Blue chip players want to know their timeline for getting their chance to shine. Productive assistant coaches want to know when they get a chance to take on a greater role, and recognition, for the team. Employees and management team members feel the same way. Provide them a clear, performance-based strategy to help them reach their career goals.
Is your organization in the midst of a long run of success? Are you focused on recruiting and growing young talent? Does that talent have a clear picture that matches their career goals? We would love to get your comments!
Home page banner image courtesy of DaveWilsonPhotography licensed via creative commons.
Feature image courtesy of Dominick27 licensed via creative commons.