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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A bright spot

You don’t often hear world class athletes saying things of great intelligence, but sometimes you do. Martin Johnson, captain of the 2003 World Cup winning England rugby team, has just earned a great deal of my respect. It seems that some people (who exactly, I don’t know) have called for Mr. Johnson to become involved with the England rugby team as coach or manager. Mr. Johnson, to his great credit, has declined to consider a role at this time. His reason? "I'd never be arrogant enough to assume that I could go in and be a national coach or manager without any experience." And, "There's nothing to say that just because you've played at the top level you'll make a good coach or manager.” Mr. Johnson retired from rugby in 2005 and has had little involvement in the sport since. His ability to see that coaching or managerial experience trumps past athletic prowess is quite refreshing in this era of the super-ego’d star athlete. Mr. Johnson, I salute you. With an attitude like that, I think he’d be great at coaching or managing, and he should start building up that experience.

Now look at your business. How do you go about promoting people into management positions? It’s usually somebody who’s very good at what they do. Meaning they have very good technical skills in their field. They don’t have management experience, they have specialized technical experience. Is that the best criteria? Probably not. There are very different skill sets required for management. People should be selected for promotion to management based on those skills. You have to look out for those skills within your workforce. Keep your eyes and ears open. Then start developing those skills and send people out for management skills training. You shouldn’t just throw people into the role without training and expect them to sink or swim. It’s just not good business, not a good investment in time and resources.

And remember, Adopt-A-Rugger and Hug-A-Rugger.

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