Friday, July 6, 2012

NFL Rookie Symposium: Another Lesson for Business

Check out Michael Irvin schooling NFL rookies at the 2012 NFL Rookie Symposium:

This is another innovation brought to you by the NFL.  It's worth mentioning that Michael Irvin asked to speak to the incoming class of NFL rookies at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony where he reflected on his hard lessons throughout his career.  Michael Irvin had numerous run ins with the law over the course of his career.  Also speaking at the symposium was Adam "Pacman" Jones who was recently ordered to pay $12 million for his role in a nightclub shooting that left a man paralyzedMichael Vick also spoke about his dog fighting ring that resulted in jail time and a suspension from the league.

So here's the lesson for business.  Everyone can learn from other's mistakes and nothing is more rewarding then helping others to learn from your mistakes.  Unlike business, the NFL clearly understands this.  Unfortunately organizations tend to hoard and protect business mistakes and lessons that lead to success.  Maybe you can get access to those lessons if you have a good mentor and manage to hang on and perform before the lessons you haven't learned catch up to you.  But should it be that difficult to learn from others? 

There's a big difference between sports and business that causes this issue.  In sports performance and results are remarkably transparent.  We witness firsthand  the score of the game, statistics, effective plays, mistakes, personnel changes, off the field issues, etc...  In business you can be rewarded for hiding true performance or results, and therefore employees attempt to hide their faults and create a perception of high performance.  Athletes attempt to do so as well, but it's much more difficult to accomplish in professional sports.

Here's a challenge for HR professionals.  Discover ways to increase the transparency of your employees' performance and results.  In addition, enable your entire organization to learn from everyone else's mistakes.  This will give managers more time to focus on the right things, by putting more emphasis on the "performance" side and less emphasis on the "management" side of "performance management".

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