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The Brady Bunch and LeBron James

OR . . . . . Culture and Market – How The Brady Bunch and LeBron James Fit In

Earlier this month, I was attending a networking event through TCSHRM (Twin Cities Society for Human Resource Management) and ran into a long-time friend.  (Thank you Larry Bourgerie for the great conversation and ‘idea’ for a Blog topic.)  Larry is a long-time Senior Lecturer at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and a past Human Resources Consultant.  We were talking about our experience in teaching – for Larry, this is his chosen profession.  I would be described as an invited Guest Lecturer (at varying colleges/universities). 

Larry was talking about his teaching on the topic of Mergers & Acquisitions.  I added to this conversation the topic of hiring key leaders for an established organization.  Larry’s very refreshing approach to addressing organizations coming together starts small . . . . with a small population analogy – newlywed couples dating/getting married and/or people who were previously married and divorced getting remarried and blending families (thus the Brady Bunch reference).  The failure rate for marriages is rather high.  The failure rate for mergers & acquisitions is at the same rate (50%) or higher.  While it is rarely overtly stated, the reasons for the failures are cultural in nature.  We do things OUR way – coming together on every work process is a challenge.  (Larry has been married for 43+ years; same with me.) 

Cultural fit is critical  

The idiom, Opposites Attract, doesn’t necessarily work.  While initially intriguing, accomplishing things differently can be wonderful but it can also be annoying.  ‘My way’ is better (this is not necessarily true, by the way – but my way works for me) is commonly and silently thought of but not commonly stated; ‘I don’t want to learn your way’ is the result and likely the challenge.  Remember, couples commonly date (and live together) for months and years before they 100% commit to one another. 

Mergers & acquisitions take time.  So does a strong hiring process.  A one-hour interview is just that – it is not a realistic performance preview.  Approaching a work-related coming together takes time and attention.  There is substantial due diligence for any company merger or acquisition – and these best practices need to be applied in the hiring process.  Hiring a key person from the outside is indeed a merger or acquisition. 

The Market . . . . . 

LeBron James signed a 2-year / $99,023,288 contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, of which $99,023,288 was guaranteed.  In 2023-24, James will earn a base salary of $47,607,350.  Is he worth it?  I am NOT a sports fan but the market says he is worth the price.  

Each retained search we conduct comes with a salary range.  When we talk with candidates about the role, we discuss salary in the first few minutes of the conversation.  The reason – why waste the candidate’s time if we are not in the compensation ballpark.  We learn what the market is paying for the candidates we approach who are in comparable positions with other organizations.  It’s the market.  We may not always agree or understand it (I may never understand the pricing behind sports star contracts), but ‘it is what it is’. 

Culture and Market – this is where we live  

We enjoy exploring and discussing both – they are keys to a successful executive search outcome.