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    Entries in 8 Man Rotation (149)

    Monday
    Apr242017

    VIDEO: Take That For Data

    Yes, I know this is a few days old, and yes I know the 'Take That for Data' meme has probably already flamed out from your Twitter feed, but there still may be someone out there who missed Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale's epic rant following a playoff loss to the San Antonio Spurs last week.

    Tiny bit of backstory to set this up.

    In the game of interest, (which the Spurs won), the Spurs were granted a massive advantage in free throw attempts - with one Spurs player Kawhi Leonard shooting 19 free throws himself, more than the entire Memphis team. After the game Coach Fizdale reflects on the loss, and the officiating in an already classic 2:45 minute rant.

    Check the video below, and make sure you make it to the end,  (email and RSS subscribers click through), then some comments from me about why this was a really interesting take, (that have nothing to do with basketball).

     

     

    Not one but two great meme lines in the rant!

    But the walk off line, 'Take That for Data' is the one that stuck with me. Mainly because in the same video where Fizdale asserts 'I'm not a numbers' guy, he proceeds to rattle off 12 different statistics from the game - data points that strengthen his argument that the game was poorly officiated and that disadvantaged his team.

    Why does this matter at all to anyone except hard core NBA fans?

    Because Fizdale in his little rant makes plain the challenge and the tension that often arises in organizations and with leaders when they are pressed to take a more data driven approach to business/HR/talent when they are not naturally inclined to do so.

    Don't tell me this is all about the data, then make decisions or drive toward outcomes that are incongruent with the data itself. 

    Or said differently, if you are going to be the hero in your organization that will push the 'data' agenda, then be prepared to have your data be called out and your conclusions challenged when others have a shot at interpreting the data as well.

    Take that for data.

    Have a great week!

    Friday
    Mar312017

    Final Four teams, ranked

    I'm off to the Final Four and folks who know me personally know my allegiances well.

    But for folks that may not, here I present my unscientific, unresearched, subjective, and COMPLETELY biased breakdown of this weekend's Men's College Basketball teams.

    4. North Carolina - Almost as smug and easy to despise as Duke. Not quite at that level, but easily the most loathsome of this group.

    3. Gonzaga - I am so tired of hearing about this team being the 'little guy' that has only been a contending team for almost two decades. "Crying Adam Morrison" is my favorite memory of this squad. Google it.

    2. Oregon - Don't know anything about them. Have not watched any of their games. But they always have sharp looking uniforms.

    1. South Carolina - The only team worth supporting this weekend. Have not been relevant in 45 years. First Final Four ever. And the team that ESPN gives a 2% chance of winning it all. Everyone loves an underdog.

    Of course you could disagree with these rankings, but of course, you would be wrong.

    Have a great weekend.

    Go Gamecocks!

    Thursday
    Mar302017

    Career and Life Advice #1

    New series on the blog, (calling it a series in case I decide to try this again, if so it will look like it was some kind of a plan all along), titled 'Career and Life Advice'.

    What makes me qualified to give either career or life advice?

    Nothing!

    That's why the plan is to share career or life advice from folks who have had  pretty demonstrable career success or plain to see amazingly cool lives. Ok, maybe I will try to sneak in some of my own thoughts down the line, we will see.

    First up, some career and life advice from San Antonio Spurs head coach, and noted curmudgeon Gregg Popovich, from an article where Pop was discussing the coaching ability of one of his assistants Becky Hammon, who many NBA observers feel will one day become the first female head coach in the NBA.

    What is one of Hammon's qualities that contributes to her success according to Pop, (and here comes the advice part):

    "She's been perfect," Popovich said. "She knows when to talk and she knows when to shut up. That's as simple as you can put it. A lot of people don't figure that out."

    Boom.

    Solid career and life advice in three sentences.

    And advice we can all learn from.

    Know when it is time to talk and perhaps more importantly, when it is time to shut up.

    In trying to follow said advice, I am going to shut up now.

    Have a great day.

    Thursday
    Jan262017

    Two years away (from being two years away)

    At the National Basketball Association player draft in 2014, former college basketball coach and now broadcaster and analyst Fran Fraschilla offered this classic observation of then 18 year-old Brazilian prospect Bruno Caboclo and his potential to become a successful NBA player:

    "He's two years away from being two years away, (from being ready to play in the NBA), and then we'll see."

    I thought about this gem of a line from Fraschilla in a recent conversation I was having with a friend about potential career choices. Why did the '2 years away' line come up?

    Because I think that 2 years may be the new 5 years, in terms of the old classic interview "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" question. Take your pick from fast-changing technology, new business models, disruption coming from all sides, and toss in a side dish of the gig economy and I think most people would have a really hard time seeing out five years into the future and be able to offer up a credible or coherent idea of what they think they will be doing then. Two years seems at least more tangible. The future can't move that fast, right? Don't answer that.

    The really important point isn't just that 2 years might be the new 5 years, but that just like our pal Bruno Caboclo, what you don't want is to find yourself two years from now STILL being two years away from whatever goal/plan you had set out to reach.

    It may be more realistic and reachable to set out career plans and goals in 2 year increments as opposed to 5, (or whatever your dopey interviewer says), but the downside is that 2 years passes really, really fast.

    Just ask Bruno, who in 2 1/2 full seasons in the NBA has played in a grand total of 22 games and scored a whopping 16 total points. 

    The upside? Bruno is still only 21 and has time to get to where he wants to be. 'Losing' two years might not hurt him that much. 

    But I am pretty sure that most of the rest of us don't have that kind of luxury. Or an NBA contract.

    Have a great day!

    Monday
    Jan232017

    On the balance between data and people

    Quick shot for a busy Monday. If your organization is one of the many that has or has implemented or has at least considered implementing a more data intensive and analytical approach to the HR and talent management, then I recommend taking a quick look at the comments from a young leader in another discipline where data and analytics have completely changed talent management - the world of professional soccer.

    Since Moneyball, and maybe even before that, all kinds of sports (baseball, basketball, soccer, and more), have seen a kind revolution and sea change in the approach to player evaluation, team building, and even in-game strategy driven by the increasing availability of advanced data about player performance and better tools to assess and crunch that data. No leader of even a half-decent professional sports team fails to consider metrics, data, analytics, etc. when making decisions about talent.

    And so it has also come to pass that in the 'real' world of work, more and more organizations are or have embraced similar and data driven approaches in their talent management programs. Assessments that validate a candidate's 'fit' for a role, algorithms that assess employee data to flag flight risks, or models that pinpoint expected future leaders are just some of the examples of how data/science/analytics are being used in HR.

    But if you have begun adopting these data-driven approaches to talent management processes and decisions how can you know if you have perhaps gone too far, or have let the 'human' part of human resources fall too far by the wayside? 

    I think the answer is that it is kind of hard to know for sure, but you probably know it when you see it. But i think it stands to reason that today still, in any field that human performance and human capability are what matters, then it can be dangerous to completely trust the data and fail to consider the people.

    Here's what Julian Nagelsmann, (millennial, for what it's worth), manager of the German Bundesliga side Hoffenheim has to say about blending data, analytics, and the 'human' side of management in forming his approach to leading his team. (Courtesy of The Ringer):

    I studied sports science and have a bachelor of arts. The variety of football data is becoming more and more specific. You shouldn’t make the mistake of looking at football as a science, but there are more diagnostic tools, and the examination of the human body is improving in football: What effect does AstroTurf have on the body? What does lots of shooting do? What does lots of passing do to muscles? There are always new methods and you have to go with the science, but football will never be a science.

    There will be more influence from science to analyze games, and you have to keep educating yourself. But you mustn’t make the mistake of seeing football as something technocratic or based on something that is fed by science. You can develop the person by using scientific aspects in your judgement, but the human is still the focus.

    A really interesting take from a manager of a team of highly accomplished (and highly compensated), professional soccer players. Even in sports, where every move, every decision, every physical reaction to game circumstances can and is analyzed, and the subsequent data parsed and performance conclusions reached - Nagelsmann still cautions us to not forget the humans. 

    In fact, he goes much further than that - he claims the human has to remain the focus.

    Take in the data, be open to the data, don't be a data Luddite - but don't let it become the only tool you use as a manager or a leader.

    Super perspective and advice from a leader who sits completely in the nexus of an industry and discipline that has been historically a 'gut feel' business that is being disrupted by data and analytics. 

    Use the data. But don't forget about the people.

    Great advice for a soccer team or for an organization near you.

    Have a great week!