Recruiting and Staffing: What the Most Legendary US Athlete Can Teach Us About Teamwork
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”
– Babe Ruth
About Babe Ruth
Born in 1895, Babe Ruth is perhaps the most well known athlete in the United States. Ruth was one of eight children, however, only he and a sister, Mamie, would survive infancy. Ruth’s parents owned a small tavern and worked around the clock. This gave a young Babe Ruth the opportunity to behave as he pleased. As a child, Ruth often acted out and was frequently in trouble. As a result of his behavior, he was enrolled in a nearby parochial school called St Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. Here, through the encouragement of a priest at the institution, Ruth was introduced to the game of baseball. By the time Ruth was 19 years of age, the Baltimore Orioles (then a minor league team) saw talent in Ruth and brought him on to the squad as a left-handed pitcher.
Ruth excelled at pitching and was quickly picked up by the Boston Red Sox where he remained until 1919. By the time he left Boston, he was the best pitcher in the league. Some believe Ruth to be the best left-handed pitcher in the history of the game. Ruth was sold to the Yankees in what was considered a blockbuster deal where the Yankees gave the Red Sox $100,000. In exchange, the Yankees would get Ruth. At this point, Ruth was becoming more well known as a power hitter and was put in the outfield. In 1927, Ruth would hit an astonishing 60 homeruns. In 2001, Barry Bonds hit 73 homeruns to break the record. This was only 13 more than Babe and most speculate that Bonds was on some form of steroids. Ruth passed away in 1948.
Building a Team and Making That Team Great
Throughout history we have seen sports superstars fail again and again because they do not have a good supporting team. The same is true in business. One of the aspects I like most about recruiting is that we get to play some part in helping make my client’s team better. The best way to hire is to think about the strengths and weaknesses of everybody on your sales and marketing team. What are your strong points? What are your weak points? The best type of managers transform their employees into a team. This does not happen overnight. Team members need to learn to trust each other and should feel that their main purpose is to work hard for the benefit of the group as a whole. Team members need to know that they can rely on each other. They need to know that if they are having trouble, they will receive help from their team members without judgment or fear of the other team members will complain to management.
When you have a real team, you have little internal conflict. As the manager, you should be a part of that team. Even though you may be the quarterback, the quarterback is nothing without the other players. When hiring, it is best to have an open group discussion with the people whom you are managing and brainstorm about what the team needs to be more successful. For instance, if your team feels that they are losing to the competition when it comes to selling into a particular industry vertical, find somebody who specializes in it. As a manager, if you are simply hiring sales or marketing professionals without first consulting the team under you, you are damaging the dynamics of your support system and the business will suffer as a result.