Last week, the 2011 NFL draft took place. From those available, the NFL teams recruited who they believe will become the most helpful players for them.
If these bets will pay out remains to be seen, though most people don’t expect the likes of Cam Newton, Von Miller or Marcell Daraeus to fail completely in the NFL. They’ve shown what they’re capable of during their college career, statistics are available and basically the job of a e.g. linebacker is not too different in the NFL, except for higher speed, complexity and stronger opponents.
Statistics and figures are helpful when recruiting for rather standardized jobs like the positions on NFL teams. They create some kind of comparability.
Some kind of. The pure number of sacks Von Miller had in his last college year doesn’t guarantee he will be an NFL superstar: Even in an area like football, where stats are available for almost anything you can imagine, it’s those things that you don’t see in the stats that differentiate one player from another: Their agility, their motivation, their will, etc.
That’s what makes the draft such a challenge for NFL franchises. And just to repeat: The positions in football have a relatively standardized job description, as there are clear rules of the game.
But how about your job or your company?
Management guru Tom Peters likes to open presentation with the quote “We are in a brawl with no rules” (original quote from Paul Allaire/ Xerox). And he’s right: While the NFL rulebook has 297 pages and can be ordered as a paperback, where’s the rule book in your market, your industry, your competitive environment?
Couldn’t find it on Amazon? Here’s why: The trend of acceleration in business also means that putting a lot of emphasis on explicit or implicit rules will make you vulnerable. It is speed and flexibility that decide, standards are deteriorating.
But if the jobs will be less standardized and factors like those mentioned above gain importance, how to find the right people to do these jobs?
We are facing a major problem: Business “drafts” (or call it recruiting) are built on stats and standards as well. Good grades, number of years of experience, Hay points of previous jobs, etc.
All of these are becoming more and more irrelevant:
“A young person in Britain or America with a few years of university can expect to work for at least twelve employers in the course of a lifetime; his or her ‘skills base’ will change three or more times so that, for instance, the computing skills learnt in school will be out of date by the age of thirty-five.”
(Richard Sennett, sociologist)
Recruiting companies will be overextended: How to measure curiosity, creativity, state of mind, flexibility, agility, etc.?
Not that many of them would have realized the problem yet, but some did, and it’s those companies that you want to work for, as obviously they are doing things better than others.
As a reader of this blog I expect you – in all humbleness – to have strengths in many of these areas. So the inability of companies to identify candidates like you because of missing criteria for comparison is not only a problem for the companies, but for you as well, as it prevents you from finding the perfect match.
The key words is – as often in this new economic world – sharing!
If standards don’t count anymore, offer the non-standards. Offer your views, your examinations and your interests. You may call it personal branding, although this term is already a bit overused and a bit too straight forward. You may also call it sharing. Share what you do, where your interests and activities are – share what you are up to.
Share your enthusiasm in playing your favorite instrument rather than your good grades. Share the fun you had last night brainstorming with others on how to improve the rules of poker. Share why you loved the last book you read any why. Share how you believe the tactics of your favorite team should be changed in the next game. Share the great new idea you had a few minutes ago – even if it sounds pretty weird at first glance.
Share who you are, share what you stand for, share why you are not standard. Those not looking for standard will thank you.
We tend to overemphasize the risks of social software and social networks.
Yes, it’s true: If someone looking for a standard employee with only a slightly above average performance, pictures of you partying with your friends on Facebook may not support your case. But companies that are irritated by your party pics aren’t the right place for you to work at anyway.
If you have to disguise for years just to please your boss, how can that not drive you mad? The right company to work for is a company that not only accepts you the way you are, but that appreciates you for being the way you are: Non-standard great.
So if you’re looking for that right company, offer the world a view on how you are, how you think, what you do and what drives you and – be a little patient. The world will find you.