Contract Renewal Strategy?

Free Agency took on a whole new meaning lately. Did not Amazon re-define the way we see books? Did not Google re-define the way we see information? Did not Michael re-define the way the game is played? Introducing Lebron James – re-defining the way we attract and retain top talent.

The Decision and it’s resulting media frenzy not only gave us some insight but also taught us some lessons – if we were paying attention. There is no doubt Lebron is the most dominant player in the NBA (sorry Kobe – accept it). Additionally, will he not hold that crown for the foreseeable future? Everyone has an equal salary cap it is simply a matter of where to spend the money. 1 team attracted 2 players, convinced them to leave their own teams and come to Miami. Could not the Raptors had done the same? Why couldn’t Wade and Bosh move to Cleveland? Is it because Riley’s tossed his “bag” of 27 championship rings on the table and told Lebron to try one on (He has a gold, silver and platinum copy of each. What? He must match – right)? And how did Cleveland lose him and be the last to know? And finally, when was the last time this happened to you?

Lebron clearly had a well-planned and better executed contract renewal strategy. First of all he based his own individual assessment and development on the open market. He was not content to be the best at his company but the best in the league – the world. Next, he accomplished the stats the conference titles and the league titles (not the big one) to ensure everyone else knew he was the best. The rest is, as they say, history. What is your contract renewal strategy?

Are you comparing your talents to that of the open market? Are there 100 people working within 25 miles of you that make 20% less than you make yet have more capabilities and competency and have the stats and titles to prove it? Are you shooting 500 free throws a day after practice? Or, are you simply relying on your organization to train you and develop you?

The more you know, the more capabilities you have, the more intellectual horsepower you bring to the table the more valuable you are to yourself and to your company. In sales there is a great saying that if you do not develop the solutions required by your clients – your competitors most definitely will. The exact same principle applies to each and every one of us. If we are not growing and developing the skills required to take our organizations into tomorrow, someone else is and someone else will.

You can not motivate a pig to fly …

Like all of you I have read and heard the overwhelming fear-based projections surrounding the next or the X or Y generation and their seemingly consistent … attributes (to be fair).

I was recently made aware of an applicant for a development position that declined the opportunity to interview due to the dress code (business formal) of the potential employer. It reminded of “this” generation and what I see as their simple lack of maturity. It also reminded me of every generation and our tendency to be narcissistic at times. In fact, it reminded me of me.

Here was a position that represented a developers dream. Or, at least what I would have constituted as a dream when I actually did the fun stuff – writing code. The position? First, the position involved full horizontal involvement and responsibilities throughout the entire lifecycle from vision to scope to requirements to BPR to design to development to UAT to deployment. Secondly, the position involved full vertical involvement and responsibilities throughout the technical spectrum from data integration/EDI to reporting and OLAP/MOLAP to UI technologies (the latest by the way) to middleware SOA development to database design/development. The intersection of these competency paths is pure gold. I would have waited overnight in line for this position – or would I?

The fact is at different stages of my maturity I probably made equally bad decisions. You could not have made me fly until I grew wings. You could not have made me think until I learned reason. Sometimes, looking for Ms. Right is a futile effort until you become Mr. Right.

From Lebron to the board room everyone is efforting to master the ability to build and manage the highest producing team. One of its core building blocks just may be the simplest (as in straight-forward as opposed to easy) of all – developing the professional maturity of the individual.