How to leave a job without burning bridges

How to leave a job without burning bridges

By Kirk Wakefield and Chris Morales

In the middle of the Great Resignation–the Big Quit or the Great Reshuffle–no better time exists than now to emphasize the best way to go about resigning without looking like a quitter.

Let’s start from the time you first take a job until the time comes to move on.

  1. Establish an open-handed relationship with your direct supervisor:
    1. Openly share your career goals.
      • Be realistic. Look at career paths on LinkedIn to see how long it takes others to get where you want to go.
    2. Plainly discuss areas you need to grow.
      • Focus on 1-2 at a time. You have 40+ years of your career to grow.
      • Be patient with yourself.
    3. Schedule review meetings even if the supervisor doesn’t.
      • Be proactive but not overbearing.
  2. Find a mentor:
    1. Who has at least 10 years more experience than you.
    2. Who is in a place or role you would someday like to be.
    3. Who has your best interest at heart.
    4. Who will tell you the hard truth when you’re wrong.
      • Respect them for saying it. Truth is a rare commodity. Treasure it.
    5. Who will meet with you on a regular basis.
  3. Keep in touch with your professors (and mentors):
    1. Whatever you’re going through, they’ve heard it all before.
    2. Since they’ve no stake in the matter they can give unbiased counsel.
    3. Odds are they know your supervisor or others in that role and can provide insight.
    4. They can help you if/when you are ready to move.
  4. When issues arise that make you think about quitting:
    1. Talk with your supervisor about it.
    2. Don’t identify a problem without offering a solution.
    3. Look for ways to help others.
      • Be an answer.
      • Leadership will notice.
    4. Don’t complain to peers or others. It makes you part of the organization’s problem.
    5. Remember all companies have their problems.
      • Learn to manage frustrations.
      • Learn to navigate political waters.
      • Make learning instead of leaving your first choice.
  5. When you see opportunities to go elsewhere:
    1. Discuss the pros and cons with your supervisor.
    2. Run it by your mentor.
    3. Run it by your professor.
    4. Your supervisor, mentor and professor should never be surprised to learn you’re moving on.
  6. If you ultimately decide to make a career change:
    1. Provide at least two weeks notice.
    2. Be organized and helpful. Provide detailed notes so others know what’s going on after you leave.
    3. If you leave to a competitor, expect to be asked to leave immediately.
      • This is not about you.
      • Organizations have a business to run and have to protect clients, colleagues and intellectual property.

Professional courtesy, communications and grace go a long way on how you are remembered. Since the sports industry is small and everyone talks to everyone else across every league, all of these count double.

These same tips fit for almost any other big decision, like switching majors, churches, or other organizational commitments.

Other tips for how to manage careers in transition? Comment below.

 

How Sales Management in Pro Sports Can Catch Up to Corporate America

Why do parents, teachers, politicians, managers and salespeople continue bad practices? Four reasons and the ways we express them are:

  1. We do what was done to us and assume it was best practice.
    • “Look at me, I turned out OK didn’t I?”
  2. We lack the depth and breadth of relevant education to recognize bad practices.
    • “See, you can succeed with any background!”
  3. We judge outcomes based on the exception rather than the rule.
    • “Look at her, she started here and is now vice-president!”
  4. We lack the courage to meet the demands of reality.
    • “I know this isn’t working, but I can’t change what I’m doing now.”

Sports sales recruiters often ask applicants, “Why do you want this job?” The wrong answer is, “I just love sports.” The irony is when it comes to pay, work hours and benefits, they literally bank on the applicant’s love for sports to compensate for, well, real compensation.

How Do We Know the Sports Sales Management Model is Broken?

Sales 101

First, consider some basic 101 principles of sales management. These quotes are directly from a leading sales textbook 1

  1. To attract and keep the best talent compensation must be uniform within the company and in line with what competitors’ salespeople receive.
  2. Salespeople who perceive the system as unfair may give up or leave.
  3. A constantly changing system may lead [salespeople] to constantly change their activities but never make any [more] money.
  4. Companies that do not emphasize service or do not anticipate long-term customer relationships typically rely heavily on commission plans.
  5. Salespeople working primarily on commission have little company loyalty and certainly are less willing to perform activities that do not directly lead to sales.

Inside sales reps in sports do not receive compensation in line with what they can get anywhere else. Top salespeople often see the system as unfair (given effort & reward) and leave as soon as a client sees how good they are (and offers multiples of current pay). Teams frequently “play with the lights” changing compensation systems in ways that rarely favor the rep by making the rep more money. The shift toward service-only reps leaves inside sales reps relying heavily upon commission and sacrificing customer welfare and service. As a result, few have loyalty and are certainly unwilling to do non-sales related activities.

Turnover

Second, consider the effects and costs of turnover. Average sales turnover across industries annually hovers around 25%. 2 Typical sports sales practice is to recruit a new class of inside salespeople every 4-6 months, suggesting something closer to the average turnover among car salespeople (~70-75%). 3 Some are promoted (internally or externally), but most leave the industry voluntarily or involuntarily.

Costs of turnover are estimated between $75,000 to $200,000 per salesperson4, taking into account recruiting, training, and lost sales. You can calculate yours here. The NBA estimates third-year reps generate 3.4 times the revenue as first-year reps. Unfortunately, relatively few get to the third year.

If I fail over half of my students each year, you wouldn’t say I’m a good teacher. In our program, we can’t blame the students. We recruited them. The same is true for teams. If annual turnover is anything much more than the non-sports corporate average (25%), at some point we must have the courage to start looking at the system and grasp the reality.

Training

Most sports sales managers are interested in training. The problem is the low proportion of these with any professional training in personnel management, compensation structure, leadership, and other sales management responsibilities. Many make great effort to learn to compensate for the lack of formal training (i.e., business management-related degrees). A few have had professional selling courses. A few have MBAs. Most were selected on the basis of being great salespeople, rather than management skills–which are two quite different things.

Sales students not taking the sports route are often hired by companies like Oracle, IBM and other major corporations who offer starting pay closer to $100,000 than $30,000, even while spending months in training before ever making a sale. We don’t expect teams to be on par with Oracle. But, $10-$20 an hour and first year commissions won’t attract the best talent among graduates who just spent tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars getting an education and accruing student loans.5

A New Model

Sales executives and managers (in sports) routinely bring in motivational sales speakers and hold weekly pep talks. Why? Because the nature of the role and associated benefits of the job aren’t intrinsically motivating on their own merits.

One of our partners, Spurs Sports & Entertainment, decided to do something about it with the support of leadership, including Frank Miceli and Tim Salier. Lindsay Beale, Director of Business Development at SS&E, walks us through the four steps they undertook.

Step 1: Look at the hard truth

We studied our sales work force and realized we were recruiting talent, investing resources into their professional training and development and they were leaving our organizations for other local corporations in sales roles.  We thought we had the hiring and recruiting figured out. We found individuals who really wanted to sell. For years we felt our compensation was competitive to other sports organizations. This helped with recruiting, but when you hire talented salespeople, they have opportunities outside of the sports & entertainment business.

Corporations look for talented salespeople from reputable organizations. They use aggressive recruiters, signing bonuses, high base salaries and competitive compensation packages to attract them.  We realized we couldn’t compete with them–specifically with our representatives with under 3 years of tenure.

We worked with finance and HR to evaluate our current sales structure to establish a plan to address our top concern of retention.  Through our research it was also clear compensation wasn’t the only place sports sales are behind the corporate sales world.  We are currently in the process of addressing sales retention by reviewing three areas: compensation, sales enablement and culture.

Step 2: Create competitive compensation

Teams may think their compensation is competitive with other teams, but that is the wrong comparison point if the goal is to retain talented salespeople. We restructured in four ways.

  1. Supplement commission in the first few years with a higher base salary to provide stability while the sales representatives build their books of business. [Among S3 partners moving in this direction, this ranges from $30,000 up to $42,000 for base pay.]
  2. Restructure commission to reward all sales revenue. We realized our commission structure heavily rewarded products that more tenured representatives were selling but weren’t incentivizing newer representatives.
  3. Provide a strong upside for top sales representatives, with clear rewards and recognition for high achievement.
  4. Hire sales representatives at a full time, full benefits position. No seasonal positions.

Step 3: Give them the tools

We established a Sales Enablement strategy applying digital tools, analytics and strategic processes to allow our sales team to excel in their jobs.

  1. Utilize data and analytics.
    • Lead Scoring
    • Appending data to sales leads to target individuals for specific campaigns
      • Examples: Outer markets for weekend plans or high net worth individuals for premium events.
  2. Invest in technology to improve sales efficiency.
    • Conversica, artificial intelligent sales assistant
    • Zip Whip, texting platform
    • ZoomInfo, business to business prospecting tool
    • Linked-In Sales Navigator
  3. Train and develop adaptive selling skills.
    • SS&EU: Classes are offered during work hours, are hands-on, and cover a variety of topics. They are facilitated live by in-house experts to encourage the cultivation of ideas and relationships across departments. SSEU is supported at the highest level of the organization and every executive teaches a different course.
    • Internal and external sales trainers
    • On the job sales training

Step 4: Create a people first culture. Really.

  • Provide a clear path for internal promotions.
  • Recognize each seller has an individual selling style. Coach, develop and set metrics to fit each representative.
  • Promote work life balance for everyone.
    • Eliminate the following phrases from management vocabulary:
      • Grind.
      • First one in, last one out.
      • Outwork everyone else.
    • Focus on quality of work and their commitment to the sales process, goals and team.
      • Commitment (you want) vs. Compliance (you must)
  • Allow flexible hours that still meet business needs.
  • Increase self-empowerment. Encourage reps to make their own decisions on how to manage time and activities to reach goals rather than micromanage to the numbers.
    • Coach reps to improve each day and strive for stretch goals they set for themselves.

Conclusion

We believe the S3 program can recruit more and better talent to the major the more teams buy into the new model aimed at development and retention. Just because teams can recruit people to fill each sales class with low wages and benefits doesn’t make it the right thing to do–either for the candidate or the team’s welfare. Basic sales management principles show us how we can do better.

Some teams are taking the lead. Since word has gotten out, others have reached out to say they are following suit. Do you want to join them? Are you in?

  1. Selling: Building Partnerships, 2014, Castleberry & Tanner, New York: McGraw-Hill. Quotes straight from the book are in italics.
  2. https://www.ringdna.com/blog/work-to-retain-sales-reps.
  3. https://www.wardsauto.com/dealer/maxdigital-out-stem-74-turnover-rate-among-dealer-salespeople.
  4. Sales Management: Analysis & Decision Making, 2012 Ingram et al., London: Sharpe.
  5. Even if it isn’t a private school (average ~$35k/year), public school still costs at least $10k/year for tuition/fees alone.

A Different Kind of Sports Conference

A Different Kind of Sports Conference
by Kirk Wakefield – April 2016

We have all been to sports conferences that focus on best practices at work. But, can we be the best at work while also being the best at home? The Daniel Summit focuses on leadership, personal and character development. We don’t have to choose between being the best at home or the best at work. We can do both!

With that idea in mind, the Daniel Summit was founded in 2013 by several top sports executives across all leagues. The summit gathers men and women within the sports & entertainment industry, committed to excellence personally and professionally. Participants share a common goal of using the platform God has provided to positively influence the personal and professional lives of others. Check out the vision here to learn more.

The goals of the summit

  • To challenge & encourage attendees to use the sports and entertainment platform/influence they have been given for God
  • To equip attendees to be better leaders/executives, spouses and parents
  • To provide attendees a year-round support system of like-minded men and women within the sports and entertainment industries

We expect over 100 people to participate this year. The speaker line up is strong. Below are a few of them:

  • Mitch Barnhart, Athletic Director @University of Kentucky
  • Bobby Evans, SVP/GM @San Francisco Giants
  • Erik Greupner, EVP/General Counsel @San Diego Padres
  • Mark Foreman, Lead Pastor @North Coast Calvary Chapel

Join us!

Do you work in the sports industry? Are you passionate about excellence personally and professionally? We hope you will join us this July 15-16 in Carlsbad, California.

If you have more questions, need more information, or would like to register, please visit www.danielsummit.com. Follow on Twitter to get updates and leadership insights @TheDanielSummit.

How the San Antonio Spurs Grow Good People

How the San Antonio Spurs Grow Good People
by Laural Logan-Fain – April 2016

Defining Culture

Culture is defined as the customs, rituals, and values shared with the members of an organization. You can see it by watching the way people interact every day. Culture is ever evolving. Culture is not something you can necessarily control; but it is something about which you can be purposeful. Management guru Peter Drucker once said, “Company cultures are like country cultures. Never try to change one. Try, instead, to work with what you’ve got.” At Spurs Sports & Entertainment, we recognize that every employee plays a part in shaping our culture. Like any worthwhile venture, it takes consistent effort with all of us working together as a team to create a culture that is reflective of our values: Integrity, Caring, Success!

Climbing the Corporate Ladder

Biologist and educator Thomas Huxley noted, “The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.”

When we hire at Spurs Sports & Entertainment, we actively seek people who are not only highly proficient in their roles, but also fit with our culture and reflect our corporate values. Many of our staff have grown up in the organization, starting out as interns or assistants, but over time have grown to become our managers, directors, and vice presidents. This is great for stability, but as with any company, our staff (especially our ever-growing Millennial population) are eager to climb the proverbial corporate ladder. However, as a relatively small organization with many long-tenured members, the ladder may seem to some more like a step stool with only a few rungs.

Changing the Conversation

Author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, “Too many people spend more time planning how to get the job than on how to become productive and successful in that job.”

Like most organizations, we are mindful of increasing employee satisfaction and decreasing turnover rates. To accomplish this, we began to shift the conversation. Instead of focusing on promotion and ladder climbing, we emphasize continual personal growth and ongoing professional development. We implemented an Individual Development Plan (IDP) and began having career discovery (or as we lovingly call them “What do I want to be when I grow up?”) conversations with staff. As part of the IDP, staff also set short- and long-term goals and identify support they need to achieve their goals. The focus is on the whole person. We still talk about career paths and promotions, but the conversation has expanded to include “How can I grow personally? How can I develop professionally?”

Develop, Grow, Lead

As author and leadership guru John Maxwell states, “Success each day should be judged by the seeds sown, not the harvest reaped.”

In an effort to assist employee development we launched our corporate university, Spurs Sports & Entertainment University (SSEU). Our SSEU tagline reads: “Growing human capital is our number one priority.” Classes are offered during work hours, are hands-on, and cover a variety of topics. They are facilitated live by in-house experts to encourage the cultivation of ideas and relationships across departments. SSEU is supported at the highest level of the organization and every executive teaches a different course. Staff are invited to have breakfast with the president and discuss culture. They can learn about strategic planning, including the development of major vs. minor league sports, from an executive vice president.

We offer values based leadership courses that reinforce our corporate values and provide tools for staff to better handle conflict and work more effectively with one another. Our Leadership 101 series helps managers make the transition from being an individual contributor to an effective leader of people. Other course topics include game presentation, presentation skills, using data, creativity, writing skills, and much, much more. We also offer facilitated team building sessions for departments and cross-functional teams to help break down silos and build trust. Critical to having a successful culture is recognizing that employees are our greatest asset. Through SSEU, we continually invest in our human capital.

The Results

A year after launching the IDP and SSEU, our company culture survey reported increases in employee satisfaction. Employees identified that someone at work encourages their development (88%, up 15%); their manager takes time to talk with them about their professional goals (91%, up 10%); and they have a good understanding of their strengths and areas of improvement (82%, up 17%). Our culture continues to reflect our values of Integrity, Caring, Success, but it has evolved to include greater opportunities and support for staff to grow personally and develop professionally.

Pitch Perfect Alpha

How a Team’s Values Can Shape Lives

How a Team’s Values Can Shape Lives
by Joey Harvey – April 2016

HOW THE SPURS’ VALUES SHAPED MY CAREER LIFE

Spurs Sports & Entertainment operates its business on a daily basis under the umbrella of three primary values: integrity, success, and caring. The aim is to make every decision while upholding each value. These three values have led to growth not only in my career, but my personal life.

Start with integrity

It begins with integrity. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has said multiple times that he looks to bring in players and coaches that are “over themselves.” That is, people who are able to put aside their own egos and realize the betterment of the team is the most important.

On the business side, the people that stick around and build good careers do so while doing things the right way. Treating coworkers with respect, avoiding office drama, rumors, and politics, and focusing on being the best person at your job are the simplest ways to uphold your integrity and build a name for yourself.

Add attitude & effort to get results

The order or formula of what leads to success was taught to me as: Attitude + Effort = Results. When you combine a positive attitude with maximum effort, the results will come. Effort isn’t all about repetition, but it’s about repeating (or practicing) the right way. It’s not about making 100 phone calls a day, but rather perfecting your technique on those calls and using each one as an opportunity to make yourself better.

The right attitude and effort leads to success. You can be the nicest person in the world and have the highest level of integrity, but if you don’t effectively do the job you’re hired to do, there is no place for you with the company. We are a business, after all.

Ticket sales is much like a sport. Regardless of success rate or revenue you’ve brought in, the landscape constantly moves forward. You have to adjust. If you don’t adapt and think ahead about what’s next, you’ll fall behind. Always be open to sharpening your skills and learning more. Take something from each trainer or manager you come across and figure out how it could apply to your own approach. Never stop learning and striving to become better. The more open you are to being coached, the more success you will have.

Give a care

Most importantly, to me, is caring. When I approached a few of my managers to discuss some personal issues that might cause me to miss some time at work, the response was “We love you man, and we are here to support you.” Do you know how powerful that is to hear? You don’t find that level of care at just any company.

We don’t try to force caring; it’s just who you are. I sat in on a session led by Spurs General Manager RC Buford a few years ago. He said it simply: “A company’s culture is developed by the kind of people you bring in.” When the right people are brought in, the culture essentially develops itself.

My closest friends now are current coworkers or have worked for the Spurs in the past. I’m in a wedding in June between two former Spurs coworkers. The groom’s bachelor party? Mostly members of our 2010 inside sales class. Many of them live in different states now across the country. When you have a culture that treats employees like family, it allows you to invest in each other as people, develop lasting relationships, and create a network of support that only translates into more cohesiveness in the workplace.

I can’t help but believe that the values of integrity, success and caring have led to so much success for the Spurs on the basketball court. I can say with certainty it’s what’s led to my personal success in the business office.

 

Floor or Front Office: It’s all the same at Spurs Sports & Entertainment

Floor or Front Office: It’s all the same at Spurs Sports & Entertainment
by Kirk Wakefield – April 2016

Values-driven

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 organisse valueszation 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. Mlindsay bealer. 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 ’10stephen gray) 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.”

True Partnership

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.

 

Collaborating in Academics & Athletics: Events, Donors, and Development Professionals

Collaborating in Academics & Athletics: Events, Donors, and Development Professionals
Shane Crawford, Senior AVP of Leadership Gifts
Shane Crawford
by Bryce Killingsworth – August 2015

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”350px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]In true collaborative spirit, this article was co-authored by Bryce Killingsworth, Development Associate in the School of Arts & Sciences, & Shane Crawford, Senior AVP of Leadership Gifts at Oklahoma State University.

[/dropshadowbox]There’s a reason it’s cliche to say college athletics is the front porch of nearly every university —  it’s true, especially for the power five conferences.

Game days are a special piece to the puzzle of donor and fan engagement, but only when utilized strategically. Athletic events overflow with thousands of students, faculty, alumni (young and old), and donors who identify as fans. You would be wise to take advantage of the opportunity. After all, it’s much easier to get a key donor on campus for a game rather than a campus visit in the middle of summer. Athletic teams brand the institution locally, nationally, and for some, even globally because of consistent viewings of logos, nicknames, and media attention a university receives. It is crucial that we, on the academic side of the university, utilize these attractive events to engage prospects. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on football games, as Boone Pickens Stadium is a big draw for donors to Oklahoma State University.

Strategy

Boone Pickens Stadium Suite Level
Boone Pickens Stadium Suite Level

There must be a strategy and purpose behind every engagement opportunity with a prospect — for development professionals in both athletics and academics. But first things first. Let’s not invite our top 100 donors simply because they are top donors. We need a specific strategy in place. Why are we inviting them? Is it a step within their stewardship plan? Are we cultivating them toward their next large gift? How are we bringing them closer to the University, the Dean, or relevant faculty members? The point is: have a purpose.

Purpose. At Oklahoma State, the academic units or colleges share suite tickets with a limited number of games and tickets per game for each college. With a limited ticket supply, we rely solely on strategic moves to move the donor down the continuum. Each college may have the respective Dean present or a key faculty member to connect with the invited donors. Be specific and purposeful about the interaction in order to maximize the experience for prospective donors:

  • Has the donor been solicited within a few months of the event or are we planning to ask them soon?
  • Are there high-capacity prospects that you have not met face to face?
  • Are there donors whose relationship could be moved forward by meeting the Dean and returning to campus?
  • Has a donor recently made a major gift and you need to thank them?
  • Are there high-capacity donors who would not otherwise travel the distance to come back to campus?

Referrals. We also consider asking a key donor who is an advocate of our mission to invite a friend to the game in an effort to cultivate new relationships. Alternatively, we might ask donors with suites of their own to invite key prospects on our behalf. The objective is to use stadium and club level tickets to provide a chance for key supporters to sit with the Dean, Provost, or other key people.

You can develop other creative approaches. Let’s not get content on the money we raise, but think about the possibilities that could become reality if our strategy is meaningful. We can achieve so much more if we engage our donors, our most precious assets of the university, and strengthen those relationships.

Several Teams, Same Mission

 Collaboration between academic and athletic development officers (DOs) is a necessity to maximize donor engagement and support. The majority of top university donors financially support both academics and athletics. Take into account the collective interests of each donor. If we embrace this concept, we show donors a united team that values their interests above our own.

Are you an academic DO? Embrace the fact that many donors are passionate about sports and want to ensure their university has a competitive athletics program. The more engaged donors are with an athletic program, the more engaged they will be with the university. For many donors, their initial support to their alma mater begins by first becoming involved as a season ticket holder.

Are you an athletic DO? Embrace the fact that the majority of alumni did not attend a university simply to go to athletic events, but rather to get a degree that led to their present-day success. If the athletic department is the front porch to a university, the various academic units are the foundation for the entire house. Universities do not exist for athletic programs. They exist to further educational pursuits. Successful athletic DOs will fully embrace and understand this concept.

Strategies must be inclusive rather than exclusive to maximize donor support. Academics and athletics should embrace what the other side brings to the table. Always put donor needs in the forefront with a collaborative spirit when developing strategies and solicitation plans. Do more joint calls. Think outside the box. Create an amazing donor experience. Celebrate when one side of the house receives a major gift. Recognize each gift further connects and commits donors to the university. Our individual donor strategies should never be mutually exclusive from one another.

The collaboration concept is simple in theory. But institutions struggle to create and maintain academic-athletics partnerships. Each party must assume positive intent to communicate and ultimately to trust. Reach out to your counterparts on a consistent basis to understand needs and objectives. The more educated we are about each area the better we can provide a better experience for donors. Communication is the key pillar. Communication takes time. Commit to spending this time to develop trust that results in better collaboration. We will not reach our full potential as fundraisers without embracing the roles each of us play in advancing a donor’s relationship with the university. We have more to gain by working together and more to lose if we do not have a collaborative spirit.

Next month we’ll continue with this topic and share stories of how to put the collaboration concept into practice.

9 Ways to Best Use Time to Build Your Sports Career

9 Ways to Best Use Time to Build Your Sports Career
by Jeff Eldersveld – June 2015

The most valuable thing any sports professional can give is time. It doesn’t matter what stage in the career – looking for a job, recent hire at a job, or a seasoned veteran – because how time is spent defines one’s self and, ultimately, one’s career advancement.

Time management is often not formally taught in school or even at jobs for that matter. Yet it is directly mentioned in a vast majority of sports job descriptions. Entering college, students are thrust into an environment where they have to balance a workload of multiple classes, assignments, and extra-curricular activities. So, they become self-taught time management enthusiasts. Some students figure it out. But, what worked in college may not equate to success in the sports industry when it comes time to get a job, start a job, or continue as a seasoned veteran in this industry.

How to Best Use Time to Get a Job

Let’s focus on first-time job seekers.

  • 1. Intentional Internships: To get a job you have to have experience and to get experience you have to have a job. So, the most important use of your time should be finding an internship that directly translates to a desired occupation, rather than just accepting whatever will give course credit. Sometimes that means pursuing & creating an internship where one didn’t exist. You must intentionally commit scheduled time to develop relationships & connections. Your university, as well as the sports organizations in your area, often provide opportunities to network with executives. You should be first in line and last to leave after getting their business cards.
  • 2. Navigate Patience vs. Persistence: College students work their way through four years of school (or more) and have a job waiting for them when they graduate. Wrong. Not in sports! In a perfect world, sports administration programs would have rolling graduation dates to coincide with the off-seasons of the four major professional sports. Because that is not a reality, most first-time job seekers must be patient. The hiring cycle in sports does not always fit with recruiting practices of corporate America.

While patience is necessary, persistence is required to make sure your resume floats to the top of the pile when a job opens. Time must be spent reaching out to prospective employers letting them know about a related school project, something you saw in the S3 Report (duh), or some form of warm and NOT random conversation. Then when a job does open up, the decision becomes much easier on who the employer should reach out to first.

How to Best Use Time as a Recent Hire

Too many want to rush this stage without taking the time to develop their skill sets, instead diverting focus by looking for the next promotion or better job opportunity.

Figure1-Candour1
Linking Candour to Leadership
  • 3. Train like it’s a marathon, not a sprint: Rarely does someone become General Manager or Vice President before the age of 30. Developing leadership competencies (see right) don’t happen overnight or even in a few years.  Marathon runners are known for superior endurance and mental toughness. Half of running a marathon (other than the 26.2 miles) is believing it can be done. Time must be devoted to training, learning how to crash through “the wall,” and sacrificing momentary pain for long-term accomplishment.

Recent hires need to work like this. Impress the person who hired you by showing a high level of commitment and ability to accomplish delegated tasks. It may seem tough to endure while wondering if that promotion is ever going to come. That is a mental block or wall to overcome. Stay focused on the task at hand. Gradually earn more responsibility as you train, ready to go the entire distance. Don’t be the one who stops halfway and hops on the bus for the easy ride back home.

How to Best Use Time as a Seasoned Veteran

As you develop leadership skills and are in a position to lead and help others, two of the best ways to use your time are to give back and to work with the right people.

  • 4. Give Back: To become a “seasoned veteran,” others had to help along the way. Devote time to the next generation of up-and-coming sports industry superstars. These superstars could be looking for internships, first-time jobs, or taking a step to further their careers. But one thing is the same: a knowledge transfer from a veteran is what will help pave the way for the superstar’s future success.
  • 5. Hire the Right People: There is no better way to spend time than building a highly functional team. The trick is to identify resources during one’s career that produce top talent either by coming up through a highly reputable organization (led by seasoned veterans) or college students who have been given a superstar skill set by their institutions. Once these areas have been identified, finding the right people becomes much more efficient. And with efficiency comes better productivity and more time to train – making the team that much better.

Time is Always Needed for This

Here are a few exercises to practice no matter what career stage.

  • 6. Say Thank You: Handwritten notes are still king because they take time to write. But, don’t neglect a verbal thank you, either. Whether in the office or over the phone, saying thank you preaches humility – which is also why this act should be done to subordinates as much as superiors.
  • 7. Learn More to Teach More: Take time to find your inner curiosity. Discover something new like learning HTML or attending an online seminar. Better yet, gain new knowledge and disseminate that knowledge amongst peers and coworkers. It doesn’t help anyone when knowledge is concealed.
  • 8. Call Your Family: Whether it’s a special occasion like Father’s Day or just the start of a new week or month, make a point to reach out to your family – especially Mom and Dad. They are, after all, the ultimate seasoned veterans.
  • 9. Find Your Happy Place: Everyone goes through difficult days where stress pops up in unforeseen ways. Powering through it some days may work but use these opportunities to “take a lap” around the office. With most teams, a lap means walking around the arena to clear the mind and refocus but it could also be in the form of a physical workout.

Cover photo courtesy of Jeff Davidson.

 

What Do You Want To Be Known For?

What Do You Want To Be Known For?
by Dawn Turner – May 2015

Is there a difference in work ethic across generations?

Some say that work ethic has decreased from Gen X to Gen Y. Others say that it varies by individual and their upbringing. Millennials need to be aware of potential generational biases and even seek to overcompensate in order to prove such theories do not apply to them.

To combat this type of thinking–whether you are a Baby Boomer, Gen X, Y or Z–ask yourself: What do I want to be known for?  A hard worker? A leader? Someone loyal and willing to do whatever the job requires? Next, think about what you don’t want to be known for: lazy, not being a team player, dishonest, disloyal, or a bridge burner.

Burning bridges

burning-bridgeAt a recent sports industry meeting, two people on the same day separately voiced similar complaints about the need to teach today’s young adults about how burning bridges early in their careers can come back to bite them. This got me to thinking about the generational attributes I have been reading about and what we can do to help educate future generations.

The first story I heard was about a young worker who moved from organization A to organization B. After being in the new position for six weeks, the worker received a call from organization A and decided to move back. This turned out to be a rather abrupt move that left organization B in a lurch. The second story I heard was about a recent graduate hired by an organization that they really wanted to work for. This person did a great job and was promoted after just a few weeks, only to decide to depart for a job with an external client.

In both situations the organizations put their faith and resources in these young workers, but were left in the lurch. Even though organizations move on, they will never forget how these two young workers handled these situations. The industry is so small, it is virtually certain word travels around to others. In any case, future interviews will be difficult because hiring managers routinely contact previous employers.

Short term vs. Long term

In the short-term these situations may not seem that crucial. But, it could come back to haunt them in the long-term. Let’s play this out hypothetically using the first example. Once the worker went back to organization A, they stayed there for five years until they got tired of the winter weather.  During that time the president of organization B decided to move to California and run organization C. Since the worker was seeking employment in a warmer climate they applied for a job with organization C. The new president of organization C saw their name come through and remembered how they handled things five years prior. They told their hiring managers not to bother interviewing this candidate and also told their friends at organizations D, E and F (also in California) that they would not recommend this worker. Organizations D, E and F shared this information with their friends at organizations G, H and I who then pass the information to organizations J, K and L. At this point it is very difficult for the worker to get an interview in the industry, let alone in their preferred state of California.

Here’s another real life example. A professional sports organization hired a college student for an internship. The intern turned out not to be very reliable and folks in the organization decided this person was not cut out for full-time employment. A few years later the former intern realized they were not mature enough to handle the work while they were an intern and called to apologize. When they called they explained how they have matured and are ready to take things seriously. Do you think the organization hired them for a full-time opening? No way! This is very unfortunate, because even though people may change, they already made negative impressions.

Who are you?

In my nearly 20-year career I have seen a variety of scenarios similar to these play out, not many of which are positive. The time to take personal responsibility for who we are and what we want to be know for starts now.  Am I a team player? Am I clear about my goals and aspirations? Am I easy to work with? Will my coworkers and managers give me a good review and 100% recommendation?

We should all ask ourselves these questions. If we present ourselves in the best way possible, it really doesn’t matter what the studies say about generations. What matters is who I am and how others see me.

Treating others how we expect to be treated should be toward the top of everyone’s list. As long as we always remember this, we won’t need to worry about making poor decisions that have negative repercussions down the line.


Cover table source: http://www.fdu.edu/newspubs/magazine/05ws/generations.htm

 

 

3 Key Insights for Women in the Business of Sports

3 Key Insights for Women in the Business of Sports
by Hannah Bouziden – May 2014

Successful Leaders in the Wide World of Sports Business

Women increasingly move up the corporate ladder across America, but have faced a greater challenge in the once male-dominant industry of professional sports. In a world where people like Donald Sterling have been operating, what is it like for females as they progress to the highest executive levels in the business of sports?

On April 14th, 2014, Baylor University’s Sports Sponsorship & Sales Club welcomed three leading women in the world of professional sports to speak about the challenges they have overcome in their careers. The panel included, Paige Farragut (Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales & Service with the Texas Rangers Baseball Club), Tami Walker (Manager, U.S. Fuels Brand Management for Phillips 66, 76, and Conoco), and Amy Pratt (Vice President of Event & Tours with Legends/Dallas Cowboys). During the discussion, the women touched on three main topics they believed to have an effect on women in the business of sports and in corporate America. They shared their insights on how to deal with maternity leave, sexual harassment, and the glass ceiling.

1. Maternity Leave

Paige Farragut
Paige Farragut

Having the ability to balance a family life and working in the fast pace world of sports is a concern for many women. Farragut and Walker were able to handle the pressure and become successful women in their industry while raising children.

Walker’s advice is to make sure you build up enough good will prior to maternity, so that others recognize your value to the team and want to make sure the entire process flows smoothly for your return. She also advises to do what is right for your family and just roll with it!

Farragut decided to wait until she was in management to start a family. According to Farragut, “In sales, time away matters.”  Therefore, her advice is to make sure you are flexible and have the ability to put in the hours, even if that means having to manage work at night.

2. Sexual Harassment

Walker’s advice on how to handle sexual harassment in the workplace: First, define what harassment meant to you. Then, make sure you set boundaries and establish awareness among others in a gracious, but firm manner. Both Pratt and Walker stated that you should always be cautious of what you say and how you say it.  “You have no idea what the experiences of other people are,” stated Walker.

Each of the panelists urged young women to find mentors within the organization, others in whom they confide and seek counsel if/when such situations do arise. Different situations and people may require different approaches.

3. The Glass Ceiling

Amy Pratt
Amy Pratt

Although the panelists are aware of potential glass ceilings, each operates under the assumption that it doesn’t apply to them.

Walker’s advice for young women revolved around the idea of never allowing yourself to become your own worse enemy. Never doubt yourself, but instead ask, “why not me?”

Farragut’s advice was just simply proving yourself, because it will eventually pay off. If you are the very best in every position that you have, then you will not be overlooked. An issue Farragut sees among young women in the business of sports today is that she has never had a woman tell her that she would like to be in management some day.

All three of the women agreed that there are opportunities for women, they just have to have the desire to seek them. Pratt stated, “There are tons of opportunities for women to open new doors . . . to make themselves of value.”

Closing Advice

Tami Walker
Tami Walker

Women increasingly moving into senior positions in corporate America. These three women are an encouragement to all young people, especially young women who aspire to make their own success story in the world of sports. Walker left a great piece of closing advice for these young professionals, “If you have a drive as a woman to excel . . . then the opportunities are there, there is nothing that can hold you back.”