Free Agency began Tuesday for the NFL. That means that players are being traded from and acquired by the 32 teams. We talked about the three criteria used to assess players for the Draft. These are also used in these Free Agency decisions: Capabilities, Character and Chemistry. This week we explore Chemistry, which is so important in your hiring practices, and we are even more clueless about it than the NFL. This morning on First Take on ESPN, ex-Coach Eric Mangini talked about Chemistry! He said “What drives me crazy about people on the outside looking in (when they comment so flippantly about acquiring a player) it’s not Fantasy Football! When you insert a human being into the locker room there are effects to the chemistry of the room, and you say ‘What is this player gonna do? Is he gonna be a force multiplier for good things or a force multiplier for bad things?’”
I love Eric Mangini. I wrote a blog on Fantasy Football (see post on August 11, 2011) where I scream about choosing your Fantasy team based on individual performances, not Chemistry. Chemistry means having the right fit of skills and personality to meld with current team members. Football managers and coaches constantly keep this in mind throughout the entire recruiting process. And employers need to as well. Hiring the best talent doesn’t necessarily translate into the most wins; if the team needs a big burly defensive lineman, the coach may not want to draft a new speedy running back. Make sure your latest “find” not only complements existing players in your department, but also fills a gap. Finding the right candidate may require more than one interview. You may need to closely observe your interviewees and meet with them more than once to gauge how they interact with others and what their tendencies might be. This extra effort usually pays off. In football it makes things better for the players, better for the coaches, and better for the team. Why would you want to settle for anything less with your team?
Make sure your candidate has PASSION; make sure this person absolutely LOVES playing the game.
Over the course of any interview, always be sure to find out how passionately the candidate feels about the job at hand and about the mission of your organization. Passion is a significant element in the success of your team. It keeps the fires burning when things fall apart. It keeps the players getting back up after they’ve failed or been knocked down. Passion is something you can’t force on another person. It has to be there, deep inside. It makes all the difference in the world. Any coach will tell you that.
The NFL has a big advantage, and I think you’ll appreciate it. If a player isn’t working out for them and their team, they can always trade him. That’s not quite so easy for you, and that’s why you want to make the best possible choice the first time around.