Losing teams need a substantial upgrade in strategic talent, both on the field and in the decision makers who decide who to draft, who to sign and who to put into the game. These are difficult decisions because star players often don’t have long careers. Sports teams must refresh talent on a regular basis because the challenge of winning keeps changing. There are constantly new strategies and new ways of winning in all sports, whether it is European soccer, American football, baseball or basketball. New talent emerges to meet the demands of new roles created by competitive marketplace challenges.
Talent leaders who want to transform their firms’ losing seasons into winning ones must think about talent opportunities. These need not be considered in all positions, only in those that create incredible value in the eyes of the fans and the people who support the team, as well as by the individuals who make the talent and economic decisions that enable the team to sustain itself. Talent that differentiates in ways that continually add value is difficult to replicate — just ask the New England Patriots.
In a corporate or athletic setting, talent leaders need to better understand what capabilities or core competencies have a profound impact on the firm’s differentiation in the marketplace. The “who” question is critical — to what extent does a firm have top talent in strategic roles? Those in strategic roles must be from the top of the labor market to best differentiate the firm from its competitors. The object is to restrict the range of performance to the top of the distribution.
HR’s challenge is to think more strategically than ever before, and to be a strategic player, talent leaders must learn how to assess the firm’s customer and economic scorecards.