Vault's Careers Blog

Career advice and job search strategies for the modern careerist

Posts Tagged ‘soccer

When Top Talent Should Be Allowed to Leave

leave a comment »


Consider the following management scenario: you’re the leader of a highly successful team, but one that has recently had to tighten its belt financially. While you are committed to training and building success long-term future, your current reputation and success rests heavily on one or two key members. And one of them just announced that he wants to leave.

Worse, he’s come out and criticized the organization publicly, stating that the fiscal constraints have hampered your organization’s ability to attract the top talent it needs to ensure a successful future—and he isn’t prepared to waste his time at any organization that isn’t meeting his level of ambition.

(Privately, you suspect that his real concern with “fiscal restraint” is much closer to home: despite being your highest-paid employee, he knows he could make more elsewhere.)

So what do you do?

Those with even a passing acquaintance with the world of English soccer may have recognized that the above scenario bears more than a little resemblance to a situation that played itself out in the public eye last week: the Wayne Rooney contract saga.

Wayne Rooney

AP Photo / Jon Super

For those unfamiliar, Rooney–pictured left–is the star player at Manchester United. At the start of this season, he was pulling in a salary of around 90,000 pounds per week, on a contract set to expire in two years. In August, he announced to the club that he wanted to leave at the end of his contract period—and the information became public last week. When pressed to justify his reasoning, Rooney issued a statement that essentially expressed his belief that the club is in terminal decline.

Two days later, he signed a new five-year contract—rumored to double his previous salary—with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson praising Rooney because “he has accepted the challenge to guide the younger players and establish himself as one of United’s great players. It shows character and belief in what we stand for.”

PR spin aside, the saga reflects just how dangerous it can be for any organization to become too reliant on a handful of key operators. Whatever happens for Rooney now, he has damaged both his own and his team’s brand—and while he has secured a better deal for himself, nothing else he mentioned has changed. The club that he believed to be in decline—in part because they can’t afford to match the astronomical salaries being paid elsewhere—is actually in a less competitive position now that they’ve tied up a much more significant portion of their revenue in his wages than before.

There are many who believe that the management at Manchester United did the right thing under the circumstances. But there are some cases where retaining your top talent is less important than upholding the values of your organization. This should have been one of them. Quite apart from the fact that the deal agreed with Rooney is enough to pay at least two high-caliber players, management has now set up a situation where other players may feel emboldened to do the same

There’s an old cliché in sport that says that no one player is bigger than the team. In this case, that has proved that to be untrue. Whether the fix pays off in the short term or not, it’s hard to escape the notion that it sets up a situation in the long term where the club is regarded as something of a cash cow for top talent, rather than an organization known for its excellence. And once you’ve got to the point where the only incentive you can offer is financial reward, you really are in trouble.

–Phil Stott, Vault.com

 

Tips for Dealing with the World Cup at Work

leave a comment »


Got any soccer fans in your office? Are you doing business or looking for a job internationally? Then you might want to pay attention to the following piece of information: the soccer World Cup starts next week. While that might not be of much interest to many in the U.S., it’s a really big deal just about everywhere else on the planet: so big, in fact, that more people are expected to watch it than the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

official world cup 2010 logo
So what’s that got to do with doing business or finding a job? A few things, actually, which are summarized as points to bear in mind below:

Check the schedule

Imagine if your team made it to the Super Bowl, and they held it in the middle of the day on a Thursday. Even if you went to work, you’d want to follow that game, right? That’s essentially the scenario desk-bound fans around the world face between June 11 and July 11 this year. The tournament is being held in South Africa, which poses obvious logistical challenges for fans not on the same continent. And—at least in the early stages—games take place seven days a week, meaning your overseas contacts may well be surreptitiously (or openly) watching the big game at what might seem like a ridiculous hour.

So before calling a client in Brazil or a potential job lead in England you probably want to check to see if their team (or a major contender for the title) is playing. Because even if you get them on the phone, or into a meeting, you probably won’t have their full attention. View the official Fifa schedule.

Be prepared to wait for things

It’s an established fact by now that productivity dips during major sporting events that coincide with office hours. Whether it’s March Madness, the opening rounds of a major golf tournament or a Grand Slam tennis event, people who follow the sport will likely have one eye—if not both of them—on the events. So that email you need an answer to might not get dealt with as urgently as you’re used to. The good news? Soccer is usually a quick affair: 90 minutes for the game, plus a half-time break. Even games that drag on to extra time and penalty shootout eliminations only last two and a half hours.

Follow the results

Sure, it might not be your favorite game, but there are a couple of good reasons to follow the results: first, the U.S. is participating. And, second, it never hurts to be able to congratulate or commiserate with a contact from elsewhere as their team progresses or gets eliminated. Which leads us to:

If you can’t beat them, join them

Especially if you’ll be spending time abroad during the World Cup. It’s going to be everywhere, so you may as well accept the reality. Who knows? You might even like it: there has to be some reason it’s the world favorite game, right?

Oh…and while you’re at it:

Call it “football”

At least when you’re talking to someone outside the US. That’s how it’s known almost everywhere else, and even if they know you call it “soccer,” they’ll appreciate the gesture.


%d bloggers like this: