Hiring: How The Spurs Did It Right With Becky Hammon
One of the most exciting sports headlines in recent memory came through in the last 24 hours:
Becky Hammon, a sensational WNBA player, has been named the first woman to coach a men’s team in professional sports. She was announced as the Assistant Coach for the NBA Champion San Antonia Spurs. While this may raise some eyebrows in some circles, it stands as a testimony to two points. First is Becky’s hard work and qualifications to coach in the game, men or women’s. The second is the way the Spurs’ did the hiring process properly as an example of how every organization should carry out it’s hiring decisions.
Here is why the Spurs’ approach was a model for everyone:
- Right credentials – Becky Hammon was sought out as a candidate for her basketball knowledge, first and foremost. A 16-year professional basketball player with All-Star credentials, she had a working knowledge of the game that transcended her resume.
- Right Fit – The Spurs have a basketball-first mentality which has attributed to 5 NBA championships in the last 15 years. Each coach candidate needed to fit that mode. Hammon’s passion for the game and mastery of the fundamentals ensures that this tradition will continue to flourish.
- Set Up For Success – Organizations that know the value of finding complementary pieces in the hiring process are far more successful than others. The professionalism and openness of the players, coaches, and staff set the proper culture for Hammon to be folded in and ensure she will have the needed support to flourish and be of integral value.
- Consistent With Organization Values – A consummate professional and team player, Hammon’s values aligned with the Spurs’ team-first principles. Coupled with the focus of basketball and selflessness, Becky’s values are congruent with those of the Spurs’ organization from top to bottom.
- Hired in Her Own Right – Hammon was considered for the job based on her qualifications. There was not an agenda for diversity or equality that forced the decision, but for the right person in the right position.
- Timing Was Right – Even a decade ago this move may have received resistance in any organization, even the Spurs. But with the advent of some more transparent hiring practices, as well as the elevation and recognition of the quality of basketball the WNBA has long possessed, it was the proper time to consider a female coach to transcend into the NBA world.
- Done With Right Purpose – The Spurs’ never grab headlines for marketing purposes. They have been THE most consistent franchise in conducting themselves in a professional and proper manner. They work hard to make the players accessible to fans, and bring a quality product to the floor each game night. The Spurs intent was to merely hire the best assistant coach to learn under future Hall of Fame coach Greg Popovich, and they have succeeded in this endeavor.
Any company, if hiring with the above goals in mind, will see unprecedented success and sustainability in their people development and goals by hiring the right person for the right job in the right manner, every time.
(image courtesy usatoday.com)