Red Auerbach

Heard several interesting interviews with and about the late Red Auerbach today. One of the best was on NPR in Silicon Valley (I think it was a Santa Cruz station) around 5 p.m. today … an Auerbach biographer was talking about the way Auerbach built and managed a team. He knew who was good at passing, who was good at rebounding, who was good at scoring, and so on. That’s what he asked them to do — rather than doing it all.
 
Also: at press conferencs after a victory, Auerbach talked very, very briefly, and then told reporters to talk to his team, as they were the ones who won. After a loss, he spent almost as much time as reporters wanted, because he felt at fault. He didn’t feel that his players, who were trying their best, needed to explain what happened.
 
Auerbach wasn’t necessarily trying to be a diversity pioneer when he made Bill Russell coach; he was merely managing in a colorblind fashion and the candidate he wanted was black.
 
Apparently he saw talent and not color.

The Opiate of the Masses?

A few notes from day one of the DirectEmployers conference in Vegas.

Joel Cheesman’s sporting a T-shirt with the line: “Monster is the opiate of the masses.” Cheesman also posts word that Craig’s trying to crack down on the verticals. Jason Goldberg calls Monster a “crap product.” (Mark Roachell, for one, recently disagreed.)

Avery Dennison (whose labels aren’t just on office products; they’re on everything from Old Navy jeans to Bud Light bottles, and the company sells $5.5 billion worth annually) has been quite happy with its VirtualEdge ATS (though it likes what Icims can do with reporting). It’s now working on integrating VirtualEdge with the PeopleSoft HRMS.

It’s also getting hiring managers more involved in the hiring process. “They’re not going to be on the sidelines anymore,” says Avery’s Ginger Barnes. The company’s referral program isn’t working well, but it’s going to beef it up, and may offer money to people outside the company who refer candidates.

Barnes says that the companies “winning the war” for talented candidates are “winning on salary. More sign-ons, stocks, more vacation for new employees with experience.” Companies giving three weeks’ vacation to new employees have a substantial advantage over those giving two, she says.

LinkedIn, she says, “has been very successful for us.”

Smaller companies, she says, are beating bigger companies for recruits by offering faster employee growth and higher titles. “Avery Dennison doesn’t give a lot of VP titles,” she says.

Also, Barnes is hearing that “candidates are receiving multiple offers and staying with present companies after counteroffers,” she says.

Several companies here are working on trying to tie quality of hire to recruiters. They’re trying to figure out, “Are Jane Doe’s recruits staying longer and performing better?” The problem is, a lot of that has to do with the opportunities they’re given to excel and use their talents once they’re on the job, something often out of the hands of recruiters.

Barnes says recruiters have seen a big reduction in administrative support in recent years. “Recruiters are doing more themselves,” she says.

Lea Soupata's 3 Suggestions

Preaching good music to the choir, UPS’s HR VP Lea Soupata gave her three suggestions for other leaders today at a Linkage HR conference in Palm Springs:
 
1) Know the business. Soupata started out as a driver. ?I wasn?t a great driver, but I was a driver,” she says. “Not everyone can start [computer] programming but you can understand the issues.”

 

You can be “great people-people but if you don?t know finance, you can?t be a strategic business partner.” She wishes she had a finance foundation earlier on.

 

2) Succession planning needs to be “instituionalized.” It can’t be only when there’s money for it. She gives the example of Alexander the Great conquering the world and then leaving no clear successor upon his death. “If he had a successor, we?d all be speaking Greek now,” she jokes.

 

3) Be with people in person. Organizations, she says, are getting too far away from face-to-face communication because of Blackberries and IMs. 

 
Also: she says many of the recent corporate scandals could be avoided if a climate in companies was created in which employees feel valued and have “someone to go to if something’s not right. … people need to feel they have an advocate, somebody will stand up for them. Somebody has to stand up for what?s right.”

 

Monster's CEO Resigning

Some links about the resignation of Monster’s CEO, and other Monster info:
 
 
 
 
Also recently:
 
 
New head of Monster – Asia/Pacific.
 
Some say Monster media deal was a smart move.
 
 
 
 

Mark Cuban's Three Business Steps

Mark Cuban, billionaire Internet success story, is speaking to a group of media-industry executives here at the Capital Hilton in Washington.
 
Cuban says he does three things with his businesses and he suggests that others do the same:
 
1) Find out what I do well
2) Find out who’s hoping to kick my a–
3) Focus on what differentiates me from everyone else.
 
He says marketing can make or break whether anyone’s heard of good projects. His “Akeelah and the Bee” movie, he says, was a great movie that was a box-office dud because of poor marketing. “Marketing your brand … what’s important in the minds of consumers” is critical. “Everything’s a click away [now] — how will you get the message out?”
 
Meanwhile, in other areas, the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks, says that youtube is playing with fire by allowing copyright violations all over its site. Similar to how it monitors for porn, it needs to monitor copyrights, he says.
 
Says that after the Mavericks’ great season he did the opposite of what many sports teams do after great seasons: he lowered prices, some to $2. He says that “I want people to know I was thinking about them” so that when his team goes through down years, they’ll remember his loyalty to fans and want to stick with the Mavs.