Did the Jacksonville Jaguars err by not pushing harder to get Tim Tebow, especially during the window when negotiations seemingly fell apart with the New York Jets? The sports pundits seem evenly split, with some calling Tebow a distraction, while others are openly critical of the Jaguars lost opportunity to fill the stands. Perhaps ESPN’s Pete Prisco summed it up best, “Tebow playing for the New York Jets makes about as much sense as somebody in a Manhattan restaurant ordering shrimp and grits with a nice sweet tea.”
So how does this analogy tie into your organization? Simply put, businesses routinely make decisions—some right, some wrong, and some questionable. From the Jaguar’s perspective, it was a no-brainer not to take Tebow when he first entered the draft, as there were many better players on the board. This time around, the decision wasn’t so black and white.
Now the situation presents itself to acquire Tebow for little more than a fourth-round draft pick. The return on investment (ROI), in terms of ticket sales alone, would have been significant to the organizational bottom line.
Arguably it is very easy to play Monday morning quarterback, which many non decision makers do. For the folks actually making, and paying for the decisions, game time is a far more difficult proposition.
Ripe with Possibility
Tebow certainly has his detractors who focus on his awkward mechanics. That said, he has established himself as a winner with state and national championships, the Heisman trophy, and the NFL playoffs.
As discussed in Re-Adjusted: 20 Essential Rules To Take Your Claims Organization From Ordinary To Extraordinary, enterprises become successful in direct correlation to the quality of the talent they acquire. By identifying "A" players, motivating "B" players and eliminating "C" players, any management team can fundamentally transform any organization.
While Tebow may not be the greatest quarterback in the NFL, or any teams long-term solution for that matter, he is an A player. His demeanor and work ethic speak volumes about his potential to improve a dysfunctional locker room, as is reportedly the case with the New York Jets.
Are You Winning or Whining?
The same holds true in any organization, as winners differentiate themselves from whiners. The former lead organizations in the right direction while the latter serve as an impediment to progress, resulting in organizational dysfunction.
Collectively, the lesson learned for business leaders is to always seek the best available talent. With the three pronged measure for organizational success being people, processes, and technology, it is the people who are the catalyst to ensuring optimization of all other aspects of the business.
Of course, one of the greatest challenges is to identify the sought after talent. In a situation such as Tim Tebow, his celebrity status is evident.
He has performed beyond expectation while demonstrating an ability to attract fans. Within any industry, such talent also exists. As legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden once said, “I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.”
A Vital Distinction: Talent and Experience
To better understand this statement, it is important to differentiate talent and experience. While the two CAN go hand in hand, they often don’t. A prime example is Tebow, who does not have a lot of experience, yet he is a talented individual, both on and off of the field.
Now, let's discuss how to find the talent:
1) Recognize that there is not a linear relationship between talent and ability.
2) Acknowledge that technical skills can be taught, whereas attitude cannot.
3) Seek out those ambitious candidates, across the business landscape, who may possess the qualities that have driven success within your organization.
4) Understand that just because a person has never done the job, does not necessarily mean they lack the capability to succeed. Case in point are many of the trainees I have hired over the years who have outperformed long tenured employees.
5) Look at hiring as a combination of the draft and free agency. Building a winning franchise will come through the draft; however, key components necessary to win the championship will often come through free agency.
While nobody can predict the impact that Tebow will have on the Jets, or a lack of Tebow on the Jags, there are lessons to be learned. Let’s face it, talent acquisition isn’t a simple process. We have all had Ryan Leaf moments, but hopefully learning from the success of others will result in fewer of them as we seek to move our organizations from ordinary to extraordinary.
“For all the cries that Tebow isn’t an NFL quarterback, he is still one hell of a football player, and trading a fourth- and sixth-round pick to get him is a good gamble.” – Steve Politi, Newark Star Ledger