Posted by Michael Potters, CEO at Glenmont Group
FIRST THE STORY BEHIND THE LESSON
OK let’s get the obvious out of the way – unless you are a diehard Giants or Knicks fan (like most of our office) you did not have a clue who Victor Cruz or Jeremy Lin were until recent press has put them in the headlines. You likely assumed they were guys that were buried deep in your IT department.
Two years ago, Cruz, a great speedster receiver that grew up in the old mill city of Paterson, NJ (think Detroit on a good day) , went to school at University of Massachusetts which never sent a receiver to the NFL, went undrafted at the 2010 NFL Draft. He was a walk-on at 2010 Giants training camp and impressed a number of the Giants coaches and a few Giants fans that recognized the blazing speed, sure hands and great moves after the catch. The Giants ended up signing him to the team for the league minimum $490k
After a good preseason he started 3 games, caught nothing, pulled a hamstring and is out for the season. GAME OVER…………..wrong!
After starting the season as the FOURTH! Wide Receiver Cruz got a break when injuries to 2 Receivers moved him to the number 2 slot…That was the break he needed and he never looked back.
In his first full year as a receiver Cruz set the Giants record for receiving yards in a season at 1536 and was a contributing factor to making Eli Manning look so good in the 2012 Giants’ Superbowl win over the New England Patriots
Next we come to Jeremy Lin (BTW I hate pro basketball but am hooked on this Lin story)
Once again, in 2010 Lin goes undrafted in the NBA draft and why wouldn’t he? He came from an Ivy school (Harvard) not Duke or North Carolina. Eight teams invite him for tryouts; he was eventually signed by the Golden State Warriors. He played a few games, but mostly in mop up rolls and showed very little to the team. During the NBA lockout, in an attempt to free up some salary cap room and not have to pay Lin’s $800k salary, the Warriors cut Lin and put him on waivers. The Houston Rockets then signed him and played him for 7 whole minutes in 2 preseason games, when they made the brilliant call of giving up on him too. The Knicks then claimed him off waivers to sit on the bench and be a backup’s backup. He moved to NYC and ended up sleeping on his brother’s couch in his Manhattan since he undoubtedly thought “no way am I buying a condo in the City if I am going to be cut”.
The Knicks who were thought to have a great team this year were floundering and the fans and press were becoming very vocal and relentless. Then fate steps in, two players get injured, and the last man on the bench has to step in. On February 4th Lin scores 25 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists (all career highs). The Knicks win. Next game against Utah (his 1st start ever) 28 points, 8 assists…Knicks win. Next game against the Lakers 38 points and 7 assists…Knicks win (outscoring Kobe Bryant) …Next game against Timberwolves only 20 points and 7 assists ..Knicks win again…Last night Lin nails a 3 pointer with 3 seconds left to beat Toronto and surpass Shaquille O’Neal’s NBA record for most points scored in his first 5 starts!! 2 Weeks ago you had no idea who this person was.
NOW THE LESSONS LEARNED
If you are a Law Firm, Vendor Consultancy or Corporate Legal department looking to hire someone:
1. Look outside the box, not all the successful recruits come from the best schools or the top companies: 32 NFL teams and 30 NBA team passed on these guys with all of their high paid research.
2. Be patient, give people a real chance to show their stuff: The Warriors and the Rockets are shooting themselves right now for having Lin and letting him get away.
3. When you realize that you may have the gem, let him/her loose to succeed. Don’t become an impediment in their growth.
4. Make sure your team embraces their success and all raise their games accordingly
5. Don’t be cheap. Just because you lucked out and got this person for a steal, pay them what they should be paid -or you will lose them as easily as you found them.
If you are the candidate looking to break into this very demanding field:
1. Don’t ever believe that you can’t compete with the big boys from the better colleges or companies, you can! 50% of the top people in our industry fit into this category.
2. If given the chance by a client, don’t blow it. Work hard, perfect your craft and when the door opens a crack (due to promotion, attrition, and firing), kick your way through it and do the job the better than you ever imagined.
3. Don’t be greedy, if the only way into the firm/company is to take a lower than desired fee, do it. You can prove yourself once you are in there and make all the money you want.
4. Don’t be selfish. Look to make your team better around you. They will appreciate it and pay you back by making you look better- which will of course earn you more money & security.
Final message to hiring authorities- Two years ago the GM of the Giants had no idea who Victor Cruz was….Two weeks ago the GM of the Knicks had little idea who Jeremy Lin was and certainly did not think that he would be a Knick.
They both look like geniuses now and are likely going to be rewarded for the serendipitous nature of these events………….Think outside the box!