July 26, 2023
Once you commit to developing the talented team members your business needs, how do you decide who to invest in? The “washout rate” at professional sports training camps is very high, even though the “rookies” have been carefully scouted by experienced coaches, team doctors, and sports psychologists. Some suffer career-ending injuries, others do not fit the “system”; and then there are the people who do not mesh with team culture. Millions spent on scouting, and still dreams are ruined because someone within the organization decides a player is just “too much trouble.” Yet some of those high-maintenance “bad fits” go on to wonderful careers with a different organization. There are teams who build championship squads with “cast-offs” and others that cannot leverage great draft positions into even a decent playoff run. You can insert the team names yourself. So how do you, with no budget for a scouting staff, find candidates with the “right stuff?” One of our motivations for last year’s “origin story” series was to demonstrate that great gear people come from many different backgrounds. Some joined a company as a college intern, stayed for forty-plus years, and retired as vice president of engineering. Others got in to the field a bit later from decidedly non-gear backgrounds, found their niche, and stayed because they loved the challenges. As mentioned last week, I get calls asking if I know someone ready to move up. That is a very inefficient query; many people feel they are due a promotion. Not all of them have the skill set needed by the inquirer. Others have geographical limitations or “defects” in their resumes that disqualify them for the typical “help wanted” ad. My standard reply is “Why not promote someone who already works for you?” Some of my best “hires” were machine operators who asked lots of questions and frequently drove their supervisors or my staff crazy. Sound like someone you know? Yes, they were rough around the edges and lacked the “book learning” needed to move into the office. But none of the five or six who were brought in from the shop ever let me down. Sure, they required training, but they understood our “system” and were determined to succeed. Training materials were harder to come by in those days and I had to devote time to really documenting things. AGMA now offers high-quality educational programs on many topics your “newbies” need. If a topic is not offered, let them know of your need or develop something in house. The team at Gear Technology is always looking for content that will help our readers; if you want to share, we can make you semi-famous.