The recently concluded 2016 NFL Draft proves that successful recruiting is the cornerstone of team success. Additionally, during my 30 years of executive search I have repeatedly witnessed a strong correlation between exemplarily staffing practices and exceptional organizational achievements. This has been the case not only for technical recruiting, which we specialize in, but also recruitment of top management in any field!
Two Examples Of Successful Recruiting: The Chicago Blackhawks And Microsoft
For example, despite the disappointment surrounding Chicago with the Chicago Blackhawks elimination by the St. Louis Blues, the hiring of coach Joel Quenneville stands as one of the best recruiting coups in the history of one of the oldest NHL franchises! This is confirmed by not winning three NHL championships in eight years as coach, but also by guiding the team back from the brink of elimination with a 3-1 deficit to just barely loosing the seventh game 3-2 on their enemy’s home ice!
Additionally, Microsoft’s recent accomplishments also demonstrate this. As I shared previously, I was one of the few executive recruiters who thought Microsoft’s naming of Satya Nadella as CEO was a stroke of genius. History has proven me right with the share price of Microsoft stock more than doubling since January 2013.
One of his main projects, the Cloud, has been a particularly bright spot for the company. Mr. Satya’s vision led to heavy spending on state-of-the-art data centers and infrastructure necessary to provide cloud-based services to businesses. As a result, Microsoft’s “Intelligent Cloud” accounted for about 28% of the company’s revenue in the second half of last year, which was up from 23% in 2014. This has helped Microsoft to offset losses in its businesses tied to personal computers. Moreover, the share price is less than 7% from its December 1999 record!
An Example Of Poor Recruiting: The Chicago Bulls
However, the reverse is also true, not only in technology, but also in any field. Case in point, the very team that shares the stadium with the Blackhawks, the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Last year, their inept leaders John Paxson and Gar Forman erroneously fired one of the best coaches in the NBA in Tom Thibodeau. At the same time, their recruitment of an unproven, college replacement in Fred Hoiberg resulted in disaster for the team!
A pre-season pick by many to win the NBA title, the Bulls meandered their way through the year winding up with only 42 wins and failing to make the playoffs after succeeding for 7 straight seasons! Two facts make this even more astonishing. First, Forbes valuing the Bulls as 3rd highest franchise in the NBA at $2.3 billion. Second, their owner Jerry Reinsdorf being recently named to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Based upon these two facts, one would expect that he would quickly fire these two ineffective managers. However, unlike a similarly successful organization in Microsoft, which moved quickly and decisively to replace its ineffective leader, Steve Ballmer, Reinsdorf demonstrated the epitome of nepotism by enabling bad behavior!
In summary, in technology or any field, the key to success is recruitment of strong leadership. This will result in a vibrant organization that will create new jobs, have strong esprit-de-corps and outshine the competition. Successful organizations like technology based Microsoft or sports teams like the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL, successful engage in strong and decisive recruiting practices. When the leader is not performing up to par, they move quickly and effectively to replace them as was the case with Microsoft replacing Steve Ballmer with Satya Nadella. Incompetent ones like the Chicago Bulls do just the opposite. As a result, their fortunes turn southward.