I’m not talking about plays you should have called, or strategies you failed to execute during competition. And, I’m not talking about the way you coach together as a staff.
I’m talking about the way you organize what you do as a staff.
It was one of the sessions we dedicated time to during one of our past National Collegiate Recruiting Conference. Why? Because “organizing” and “planning” were big topics among the attendees that year, and still are, so I wanted to share one key concept we discussed at the Conference. It’s a concept originally outlined by business author Michael Gerber in his best-selling book, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It.
The concept is that a small business – similarly to your operation as a college coaching staff – won’t grow and prosper unless it is organized in a very specific way. Gerber contends that every small business needs a Visionary, Managers and Technicians. Tudor contends that the same would hold true for college coaches when it comes to recruiting.
Here’s the concept and the role of each individual coach:
The Visionary’s role is fairly obvious: He or she needs to set the direction of the program, develop the core recruiting philosophy, determine the goals that need to be met, and help pin-point who in their organization is right for the other two roles of Managers and Visionaries.
When we work with our clients, this is one of the areas that we try to determine early on in our work with them. Here are some quick observations after seeing different staffs change their organizational philosophy and adapt this format:
- Sometimes, the head coach is not the best person to be the Visionary. Most of the time, yes. Not all the time, though.
- Visionaries need to be able to make the tough calls, put their name on a plan, and be confident in their vision for the program.
- Can there be more than one Visionary? No. However, the Visionary can get input from other people on their staff. But there needs to be one person that is in the role of the Visionary.
- If at all possible, the Visionary should not also be a Manager. And, they should almost never be a Technician.
Visionaries on a college coaching staff should constantly be assessing where they are with regards to their recruiting class, and figuring out if the vision that has been outlined is being realized. It’s ongoing, active work. Visionaries are accountable to the whole organization for the overall success of the year’s recruiting.
The next role(s) that need to be assigned would be that of Manager.
The Manager’s role is singular in focus: To make sure that the vision your staff has established is realized through daily management and measurement. The Manager needs to make sure that the individual assignments tied to the vision are being completed exactly as planned.
Good Managers need to:
- fully buy-in to the vision that’s been established when it comes to the staff’s recruiting goals.
- be loyal to the Visionary.
- be looking for more efficient and better ways to achieve the vision sooner and more effectively.
- be able to keep the Technicians on task and accountable.
- be able to measure what is being done on a regular basis to achieve the vision.
Can there be more than one Manager? Sure. But each Manager needs to have their own separate areas of responsiblities whenever possible. Don’t bog down this emerging organizational system with double coverage.
And last, but absolutely NOT least…
Just because I’m listing this last, don’t think that it is the least important. Especially when it comes to recruiting.
The Technician(s) is responsible for making sure the Vision happens. Without great Technicians, its all just a bunch of good ideas that never actually happen.
It’s natural to assume that assistant coaches and grad assistants, who perform the role of technicians when it comes to game planning and scouting, would be the likely choice of the Visionary to carry-out Technician duties when it comes to recruiting. Here are the hallmarks of really good Technicians:
- They’re able to focus in on the assignments established by the Manager.
- They’re able to provide great communication on the progress or hurdles that transpire along the way.
- They understand that they have an equally important role in the organization. In other words, not Manager or Visionary envy (in many ways, Technicians have the best role of the three).
Why is recruiting organization like this so important? Because without it you feel burned-out. A coach that is the Visionary, but also takes on the role of Manager and Technician is going to be the coach that starts feeling trapped. Bitter. Frustrated. They won’t quite reach their goals, and they’ll always feel three steps behind every one of their competitors.
Even if you have a small staff, try to farm out roles to those in the athletic department when possible.
What if you’re the only coach on a staff? You already know you have it tough, so you don’t need me to tell you that. In that case, you’ll want to try to organize your week into Visionary, Manager and Technician roles during your typical day. Separate your duties, and try not to mix roles in the same day. You’ll feel a lot less exhausted and frustrated if you can do it.
That’s an overview of the concept, and it’s going to look different from college to college, and staff to staff. However, it’s important: Think about how much time you put in to determining how to split up scouting and recruiting area coverage, but don’t put much time into detailing organizational assignments once those scouting details are back in the office.
Once you separate and organize roles in your recruiting plan, you’ll probably want to do the same thing with the rest of your duties as a coaching staff. And why not…it works!