Thursday, December 11, 2008

Talent Management

I think in paterns. And I'm stuck on this one. This is a continuation of the discussion on "can you be a follower of Christ and achieve the pinacle of excellence in your worldly field?"

I gave examples of John Bonham (famed, but very dead, drummer from Led Zeppelin) and others to build my case. My limited readership countered with U2, John Wooden, and a few others.

So today I'd like to go down in the weeds a bit. Down into my career choice...Business Management...specifically Talent Management. The pinacles of excellence for me in this field is Bill Parcell, current President of the Miami Dolphins, and Jack Welch, former Chairman of GE.

Bill Parcell has created championship caliber teams at every stop. He's won Super Bowls in an era of parity, and wherever he's been he's given the fans hope that their team CAN win a Super Bowl...which in a competitive game, is the most you can ask for. When he arives...its all about winning championships. He is a fierce evaluator of talent, and relentless in his honesty, and ruthless as he shreads his new locker room to build up a culture of winning.

Jack Welch was very similar. He had a practice of firing the bottom 10% of any measurable group, every year. He called it culling the fields. It was very, very successful.

The results that both of these men achieved are written about in business journals. Neither would be mistaken for possessing Christian values.

However, did Christ get results? Absolutely. And He did it with weak talent. And when the shareholders (pharasees) said "How good could the results be if he culled the field, fired those 12 disfunctional salesmen, and brought in some real talent like us?" Well, it obviously didn't faze him. He stayed true to his "Relationship Management Plan".

So, here we are with shareholders screaming for Talent Management - accountability, performance standards, steady growth, etc...and a heart...a transformed heart screaming for Relationship Management - give them every opportunity to succeed, you must not be training them right, its all about coaching, etc.

And what I'm left with is the stress of trying to balance the two. Live an abundant life in Christ, building relationships with my associates, be a servant Leader...yet maintain high performance standards to ensure a winning team...a championship caliber team...a team that gives the fans (all stakeholders) hope we can win it all.

Any thoughts?


Blogger Brent said...

How you define "results" that Christ got could be a difficult proposition. Then and now.

See, spiritual formation is a slow business. Turning around a football team is a comparatively fast one. Not to mention a hard & fast bottom line: Wins/losses.

Christ was continually doing the most loving thing in any given situation. And serving. Both of those apply for your role in business.

See, you could cull the field (there's a baseball term called the "law of competitive balance" that states you might keep an average hitting/defensive catcher if your team won the world series, but the same guy might get cut on a last place team because they are willing to try to get better and have nothing to essence, overall organizational success tends to keep an average performer, etc.) because shareholders demand accountability, performance against standards, etc.

Or you could "cull the field" because, if they're in the bottom 10%, the most loving thing for you to do would be to give them a release so they could find a job they might be better or more suited for, and then treat them well upon exit because your company made an initial hiring mistake, etc.

Motivation behind the action matters, I think.

But, outside of doing the most loving thing (for your shareholders, too) as a motivation/guide, I'd be terribly hesitant to use Christ as a business model. His upside-down, counter-culture view was never designed as a way to make money. It was a way to transform lives. So, unless your business rolls that way...

5:33 AM

Blogger Hollywood said...

...which bodes the original questions...

"Can you be a growing, ever closer to holiness seeking, follower of Christ...AND...and excellent businessman?"

5:47 AM

Blogger Brent said...

The answer to the question, is "yes." Provided the motivation is doing the most loving thing.

6:50 AM


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