Imagine if you will – the most succesful single company in an entire industry over the last 41 years. And over that period the company has had exactly 3 leaders (the industry norm is to change leaders every 3 – 4 years). All were recruited from outside the company, none had ever run a company before, all were under the age of 40, and none were “big names” in their profession. Is that extreme luck or is that incredible wisdom and insight when it comes to hiring?
In the NFL’s “modern era” (since the AFL-NFL merged in 1970) the Pittsburgh Steelers have posted the best record in the league. The franchise has won the most total games, won the most divisional and conference titles, earned the best winning percentage (including every expansion team), earned the most All-Pro nominations, and have accumulated the most Super Bowl wins (six) since 1970. And in that span they have had just 3 head coaches – Chuck Knoll, Bill Cowher, and Mike Tomlin.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Rooney Family are the model for sourcing, hiring and retaining great leaders. They find them young, they engender loyalty by giving the young leader “their chance” and then supporting them in the job, and they eliminate ambiguity when it comes to expectations. Above all else, they hire with a very keen awareness of the organizations culture – the leader fits the organization. And think about what the Rooney’s do not do…they do not over pay, they do not chase the “hot coach” and they do not overreact, in good times or bad. Oh, and they win – a lot.
Imagine if you will, a business that sourced and hired based on culture and fit, skill and abilities. And then actually created win-win scenarios. An environment of mutual respect, of open communications, and realistic expectations. Think about it the next time you are “chasing the market” for talent, or debating the “easy hire”, the “proven commodity”. Maybe it is time to stop playing musical chairs and hire based on talent and fit, not on titles and past performance. Who knows, maybe you can help your business go on a nice 40+ year run.