Building a Championship Team #1
Rajat Taneja, EVP & CTO at Electronic Arts 3/13 enhanced by Peter@Wiz4.biz 3/13
Winning Teams. It’s been a great year for sports fans here in San Francisco. The Giants won the 2012 World Series in baseball and the 49ers took their season all the way to the Super Bowl in football. These are two great teams that share one trait that has been instrumental to their success. The management & coaches of both franchises focused relentlessly on bringing in world class talent, nurturing their people & getting the best out of them as individuals + more importantly, as a team. Winning, whether in sports or in business, always comes down to one thing: people. Hiring the right people and growing the talent is therefore one of the most important responsibilities and – might I add – moral obligation for every manager in every organization. It is the one part of the job of every leader that will have the biggest impact in the long term. These are the eight (8) strategies that I use to build championship teams:
1. Never stop looking for Talent.
A pipeline for finding & bringing in top talent should be ongoing. There has to be investment in an “ongoing” process for continuously seeking & hiring the next star performer. This goes beyond your recruitment team. Everyone in the organization should be empowered to look for and motivate to bring in talent, thru rewards. One of our best candidates recently came to our attention when a scientist from our team happened to see them programming in a local Starbucks. He was impressed with the code and invited him to visit us and meet with the team. LinkedIn is also an invaluable tool for our recruitment team to spot great talent.
2. Invest in the Interview process
A typical interview is usually inadequate for screening the right talent. In the short amount of time allotted for interviews, a company has to decide on hiring someone they hope will spend many years working for them. It doesn’t add up. That means you have to spend the effort upfront and go where the talent is to evaluate their real work. Competitions at sites like TopCoder.com, American Regional Mathematics League, Google Code Jam bring talented people together – where you have more of a chance to see what they’re made of. This is exactly the reason Electronic Arts is hosting its EA Hack each spring. It gives us a chance to get to know the talent pool better that goes beyond the short interview process would.
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