With Purpose

On Recruiting

The college football coach must recruit. A football team needs talented athletes in order to succeed. Year after year, a straight correlation can be drawn between the number of high-profile recruits and wins. And so, the coach and his staff hit the road to recruit in season and out of season. Chief among their key observations are the handful of attributes associated with quality performance. The coach looks for players that can throw a pretty spiral, athletes that run faster than the pack, and brute strength.

When a prized recruit signs on the dotted line, the coach begins the initiation process. The athlete enrolls in school, learns the code of conduct for the university, and comes to understand what it means to be a college athlete in the system.

But what would happen if the coach stops at the initiation process and begins to look for the next recruit? The athlete might understand in a vague manner what it means to be a successful athlete, but without continued instruction, practice, and encouragement, how likely will the athlete reach full potential? Likely not.

Recruiting for the Organization

But this anecdote highlights a consistent pattern within organizations. Recruiters try their hardest to find the best available talent for a position, hires are made, orientation and training occurs, and then the employee gets to work.

While organizations might have structures in place for reviews (likely yearly or half-yearly at best), the daily work of the employee goes unchecked unless something is clearly wrong. Is it any wonder why so many employees find frustration in their job situations? Even though some might appreciate the “hands-off” approach to management, the lack of structure and constraints can leave employees feeling unrooted, and often frustrated when their work isn’t up to par and they don’t know why.

With Purpose

Just like the coach must continue to reinforce the expectations and purpose underlying the collegiate program, a manager must manage with purpose. Every day, the team has an opportunity to practice the mission, vision, and values of the organization. Without clear guidelines or “practices” there’s little opportunity and no roadmap to help employees understand how to connect their daily work to the bigger ideas of the organization. Without that link, the employee may succeed on talent alone, but why leave it to chance? Such an approach is no different than the coach telling the quarterback to go practice and study the playbook by himself and then arrive at the game without any sense of a gameplan.

Operating with purpose means developing a daily gameplan for the organization, to help embed the mission, vision, and values of the company into the daily work of its employees.

Photo Credit: Geoff Scott

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