Talent Matters: Coaches Win with Recruiting


By Kristen Harris

Talent Management. Bench Strength. Topgrading. No matter what you call it, having the right talent is the top competitive advantage for a modern business. We are in the Information Age, and having the right people on your team is critical, regardless of industry. Even the most traditional, labor-intensive businesses require more technology use and strategic thinking than ever before.

So winning is all in the recruiting. It’s all about getting the best people on your team. Think about a great college football team–a top coach may be strong on the field or in practice, but their strength is in recruiting. If they have successfully recruited the best possible raw talent, they’ve won half the battle. Great coaches see potential and are willing to put in the work required to take a recruit from good to great. They’re working with young talent, people who have not yet hit the pinnacle of their abilities.

Successful recruiting is identifying that potential, perhaps in a person or a way that others don’t immediately recognize. It’s easy to identify obviously gifted top talent. But there are only a few of those people; we can’t all have them or afford them. Much more rewarding is identifying a recruit that, by releasing unrealized potential, rockets to the top. Someone others didn’t notice because they didn’t see the potential. That’s a win for the coach or manager, and most definitely for the person. Often they didn’t even know their own potential until someone helped them discover it.

A large part of realizing a person’s potential is making sure they are in the right role, the right setting and on the right team. Being in the right role means that they have both the hard and soft skills necessary to succeed. This may be a different role than they’ve been in before…football players often play different positions from high school to college to professional…so you must identify if they have the ability to succeed. Some skills can be trained, but you can’t develop or train your way out of a cultural mismatch, a misalignment of values, or lack of passion for what the company does. Someone with the right skills to do the job and who is engaged, who truly lights up when they talk about their work, is in the right role.

Finding the right talent for our teams is critical to success. The definition of “right talent” is specific and unique to every business; every company must specify that for themselves. Once it’s defined, never settle. The value the right person brings to your company will always outweigh the time, money and effort it took to find them.