Holiday Book Special, and Lessons from Bo

It’s hard for me to believe that six months have already passed since my book The SAIC Solution was published. This time has been a blur of book signings, blog postings, speeches, panel discussions, and get-togethers with many of my SAIC friends. I am happy that the book is selling well, and that the reviewers seem to like it. The Foundation for Enterprise Development has organized a holiday special for anyone who wants to buy autographed copies of the book for themselves or to give as gifts between now and the end of the year. Please visit this special ordering page on the FED site for more information.

I have lately been keeping up to date with a number of business blogs, including Business Week, Inc., Fast Company, Tom Peters, and a couple of others. I noticed recently Tom Peters’ comments on Coach Bo Schembechler’s book Bo’s Lasting Lessons. In case you don’t know who Bo Schembechler is, he coached the University of Michigan football team from 1969 to 1989, during which time he and his teams won 234 games. Being a graduate of the University of Michigan, and a football fan, I can empathize with Bo’s lessons. In his blog post, Tom Peters emphasized one such lesson in this quote from the book, “I can’t tell you how many times we passed up hotshots for guys we thought were better people, and watched out guys do a lot better than the big names, not just in the classroom, but on the field — and, naturally, after they graduated, too. Again and again, the blue chips faded out, and our little up-and-comers clawed their way to all-conference and All-America teams.” In the football arena, there’s no question Schembechler’s advice is sound. However, my experience in the technology field is that companies do have to hire the hotshots, if for no other reason than to attract other talented employees, financial resources, and customers. Second best won’t do it. You may not always attain the best in the way of teamwork from hotshots, being that they are more independent and not necessarily oriented toward team response. But you need hotshots, and you need team players, and you need to hire and get the most out of both.

— Bob