by Kirk Wakefield – April 2016
What values drive your organization? What values drive you, personally? If you had to choose one word–one value–to describe what is most important to you, what would it be?
Integrity–doing the right thing–is the most important value of the San Antonio Spurs Sports & Entertainment (SS&E) organization. You can’t miss it. The values of the organization are posted throughout all the offices, meeting rooms and on the desks of the over 250 employees, which is sure to grow as SS&E recently added a fifth franchise, San Antonio FC, in the USL.
The success of the Spurs on the floor and front office is no accident. From ownership to the coaches and players to the interns, the values are clear. As Frank Miceli, Senior Vice President, Sales & Franchise Business Operations, shared, “They are openly discussed and shape everything we do from our ownership down to every member of the staff. We have a common vision, engage in transparent communication and everyone has a voice. We are deliberate in our decision-making and are open about questioning everything in an attempt for continuous improvement.”
How do values shape the culture?
The three values of integrity, success and caring are the basis for daily operations. The same respect you see on the court you see in the offices, as employees are encouraged to collaborate, display humility and demonstrate a team orientation where no one person is more important than the team.
As Mr. Miceli points out, “Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but of strength, to utilize the many talents and resources of SS&E.” Employees are more likely to ask for help and achieve personal and professional growth in a place where they know caring, respect, sincerity, support and compassion are part of the DNA of ownership and management.
Success is important at SS&E, but the process is as important as the outcome. An individual may have great personal success, but it must not come at the expense of the team. Rather, the team achieves targeted goals together, each pulling together and demonstrating care for others in the process. It’s not all about work for the sake of work; employees are encouraged for being creative and innovative and having fun along the way as they enjoy the journey together.
Baylor S3 success stories
Thanks to the leadership which began with Russ Bookbinder and continued thanks to Rick Pych, Frank Miceli, Joe Clark, Tim Salier, and Lawrence Payne, SS&E has hired the most graduates from the S3 program than any other partner.
Lindsay Beale (S3 ’10) started as a summer intern her junior year and joined SS&E after graduation as a group sales account executive. Mr. Miceli observes that Lindsay consistently exhibits all of the traits valued by the organization and climbed the ladder with patience and humility from account executive, to senior account executive, and now Group Sales Manager for all the SS&E properties.
Stephen Gray (S3 ’10) joined the SS&E inside sales department after graduating from the S3 program. Stephen’s hard work led to a promotion with the organization’s AHL team, the Rampage. Stephen did very well selling, setting Rampage individual sales records. But, more importantly, as Mr. Miceli points out, “Stephen really understood the sales process and how to motivate others. He became Manager of Ticket Sales for our NBA D-League franchise in Austin and has really helped turn the franchise around.”
Many of the teams and companies who partner with the Baylor S3 program do so because of shared values. The relationship between the Baylor S3 program and SS&E operates as a true partnership, where the values of both organizations closely match. Issues and opportunities are discussed with transparency. Each is concerned for the welfare of each other, but most importantly, for the welfare of the young people entering and growing in the industry.
As Mr. Miceli shares, “We are honored to be members of the Baylor S3 Board. The relationship with the program and students has been very valuable for us from the standpoint of meeting(and hiring many) well-trained students ready to join the sports world in sales and customer data management.” In return, Baylor is deeply indebted to the leadership of the SS&E organization and their contributions to the school and the program.
The Baylor Sports Sponsorship & Sales (S3) program is the only academic program housed in a business school with a complete major focused entirely upon sports sales & analytics. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about the Baylor S3 program by visiting www.baylor.edu/business/S3.
Cover photo courtesy of Chris Covatta, SS&E and USL Soccer.