You get what you hire…almost always. Granted there are a few exceptions to the rule, but the vast majority of the time, the person you see in the interview, the person you discover through due diligence: that will be the person that shows up day-after-day at work. Yet again, the Dallas Cowboys provide a case study in how not to hire thanks to the saga of Dez Bryant.
So, what do the Dallas Cowboys, well owner and General Manager Jerry Jones decide to do…again…take a chance on hiring. Unlike the 26 teams that had the choice, they selected Dez Bryant as their #1 draft pick in 2010 and pay him somewhere north of $12 million over 5 years. To date that is roughly an $8 million chance. Yes, Dez Bryant is a massively gifted and talented athlete. However, when you look at the whole package, his troubled personal history, his career at Oklahoma State of off the field issues, and just general warning signs, the risks were readily apparent. Physically gifted, but on the personal behavior front, there is a bit of a track record when it comes to reliability, maturity and focus.
So yet again the Cowboys find themselves with a personnel issue. It is actually quite funny what they have resorted to: literally a team of 24 hour babysitters, a Cinderella curfew and an off-limits lists, all for a multimillion dollar employee. Granted, everyone deserves a second chance, an opportunity, and above all the support to succeed. However, there comes a time when a leader has to make the tough call and realize skills alone are not enough.
After all these years and millions in wasted dollars, one would think the lesson had been learned – you get what you hire. Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys continue to insist on “taking chances”. Dez Bryant is just the latest in a long line of poor hiring decisions, both in players and coaches. Granted it has worked out a few times, but the majority of the time, hiring “problem children” is quite literally hiring problem children. Hiring is about the total person; always has been. Heed the warning signs, look at the total package, and never fall in love with just the skill set, statistics, or “what they did at the last job”. Skill sets can be learned or replaced, but the core of a person rarely changes.