||36th NACDA Convention|
Salt Lake City, Utah
June 10-13, 2001
NAIA Breakout Session
How To Mentor, Hire and Administer a Diverse Staff
Tuesday, June 12, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
First of all, we'd like to recognize Southwest Recreational Industries, who is our audio-visual sponsor. We kind of struggled a little bit with what to call our session this morning. We came up with How to Mentor, Hire and Administer a Diverse Staff. That gives our speaker ample ammunition for a workshop for maybe more than two hours, but we're going to squeeze this into two hours.
The gentleman speaking this morning, you will find very interesting and very entertaining. He's a gentleman I haven't known too long. He's a member of our group and Greg Feris introduced me to him. Dutch Baughman is the executive director of the Division I-A Athletics Directors Association. That's his full-time job, taking care of the guys from Division I. He's got a lot of good stories to tell. He's come up through the ranks as a coach. He's been where we are and where we've been and has a lot of good insights in administering staffs in athletics departments.
I'm not going to take any more of his time, but I do want to thank him very much for meeting with us today. If you were in Tommy LaSorda's sessions today at 8:00 a.m., Dutch also believes in free speech and we're very appreciative of that. Thank you all for coming and Dutch, we're happy to have you here.
Thanks David. It is a pleasure to be here with you this morning. You're going to have to help me though. I'm not the kind of person who likes to stand in one spot for very long so, I understand this microphone has a cord on it and if I start to wander off, remind me that I have the microphone so everything can be recorded. I also don't like to stand behind podiums at all. Being a Southern Baptist, at the podium, I'd probably want to talk about the book of Timothy.
Dave had mentioned the title and I kind of re-titled it a little bit. I changed a couple of words around. I thought it would be best to look at this as How to Hire, Mentor and Administer a Diverse Staff. We're going to start with how to hire. We need to hire these folks before we begin to mentor them. I want to emphasize the fact that I'm not here today to tell you about I-A. As a matter of fact, that's part of the big pleasure I have today is to be able to talk about these issues and not be talking about I-A. I have to tell you that, quite honestly, most places I go to speak that are not I-A immediately expect to hear comments about what's perceived as "big time." I told David that we could spend the rest of our time here today talking about why big time is not big time. I am pleased to be here.
The problems we see in I-A are no different than the problems you're faced with. The zeros might be different, there might be different commas, etc., but we all deal with student-athletes. We all have coaches and staff we deal with. We have personnel issues, many of the same kind of problems. We have NCAA, NAIA legislative issues that we deal with, so basically, there's an awful lot of common threads that runs through this. Today, I want to talk about the concepts of hiring, mentoring and administering. I might make some references to things along the way I've learned, and because part of my background is in I-A, I'll refer to that, but I'm not here today to try to sell you or convince you or talk about anything in I-A in particular.
If you take that handout I've brought, it's a fill-in-the-blank as we go-along kind of deal. I started out as a high school coach and I had a chance to go up to Ohio State to play football. I'm from Texas. I played for Coach Woody Hayes. After the Marine Corps, I had a chance to go back to Ohio State and coach there. That was a terrific opportunity for me to do that. After that, I immediately began my career in athletics administration, so I've been doing this nearly 30 years now. Over this time, it's occurred to me that there are certain things we need to do as athletics administrators so that we don't re-invent the wheel every time we have to hire somebody. I'd like to pass out a little later another handout that is a composite of information I would actually give to people who would be part of a search committee. It has 20 questions if you're going to hire an administrator, 20 questions if you're going to interview a coach. It's all about how to prepare as a search committee member for the interview process. We'll pass that out a little later.
On this particular handout, I thought it would be wise to start at a place before we actually get into the hiring process itself. There are some things that, as athletics directors, we need to make sure we understand and that we have in place before the process begins. I'm a strong advocate of having a plan for whatever it is we do, no matter how big or small, we need a plan. We need to anticipate and have some idea of what it is we want to accomplish and what we are going to do. We want to have a plan in place.
To start with, you need to determine the search procedure you're going to have to deal with. We all recognize there is not one single kind of procedure you are going to follow in every single instance. To start the plan, you need to determine what kind of search procedure you are going to follow. Or, are you governed strictly by institutional policy that says every time you conduct a search of any nature, there is an institutional policy that determines exactly how you have to proceed. Let me say at this point, if you have questions at any point or comments, please fire away. We can make this as much of a discussion as anything else. Please don't hesitate in that regard.
There are a couple of questions you have to answer for yourself. If your institution is involved in the telephone interview process, you need to determine whether or not telephone preliminary interviews are going to required or are they optional and do you intend to use them. Some positions you may not find them necessary. But, there are some precautions you want to take if you go into the telephone interview process. You want to make certain that the people listening in on your interview are well prepared for that kind of a process in itself. They all need to know who it is they are going to be listening to. It's embarrassing if you're the candidate and you can tell from the questions people are asking that they haven't prepared at all. By the fact that it's a telephone and it's impersonal because you're not looking into a person's eyes doesn't mean you don't have to prepare for that interview process. If it's an interview process, make sure you are prepared for that.
Is there going to be a search committee, a screening committee, who is on it and who determines who will be on it? People will refer to a search committee as all encompassing. Really, there can be two different things. You might have a situation where there is a search committee. That search committee might be representative of many different factions from within your institution. Everybody comes to that kind of environment with their own personal interests. In addition to that, there might be a sub-group from that search committee or, yet, a different group you might refer to as a screening committee. The difference between the two is that the screening committee is typically a smaller group. If you get involved in off-campus interviews, that screening group might be the one to go off campus with you to help screen the candidate and ask a bunch of questions off campus before you even bring them onto campus for a more formal kind of interview. That's part of determining this plan. What kind of structure would you have? Is it a screening committee, strictly a search committee? We see that a lot of search committees are so large, it's almost impossible to deal with them.
There are a couple of things that happen. I don't think this is any different at any particular level. The more ears you have listening, the more mouths you have telling people about it. If you have a search committee that has a whole bunch of people on it and they all have some interest in this particular position you're going to hire, most of those people will want to come and participate and might think of people ahead of time they know that would be a good candidate and a right fit. I'm probably going to overstate today the right fit. You can't emphasize that enough. The right fit is crucial and we'll get into a lot of reasons why. When all of these people come to this search committee and there are so many of them, they all have somebody they want to push as their candidate. Too often, when that happens and the search committee is so large, the person you end up with is sometimes a compromise choice. That's unfortunate when that happens. When you go into a situation where you've got a large screening committee, there are other processes you can put in place to help that large group understand what the plan is going to be and how you intend to proceed with the process.
There are Affirmative Action Guidelines. I know there has been some legal action lately on some institutions not being required to follow strict Affirmative Action Guidelines. But, many schools call them different things now. You need to be sure that you're aware of whatever your institution requires of you in the area of Affirmative Action Guidelines.
One thing I would caution you on that really irritates me a lot in search processes, is when there is a search that comes open in I-A, I talk to the president immediately and help them understand what services we can provide for them in their search process. There are usually three things we talk about on that initial phone call. One is, I ask the president if he has a profile. They don't have a clue about what I'm talking about. We spend some time about what is a profile. Then we talk about the marketplace. What does the marketplace bear as far as candidates and that type of thing? We get into compensation levels, etc. The third part of that conversation gets into whom would I recommend for this position. I have to be very careful that I don't begin to recommend individuals for positions. If they have names about people they want to ask me about, I would be delighted to talk with them. Just about the time I recommend so and so, there's 115 other ADs who will be upset with me because I singled out one person. So, you have to be careful about that.
If there are Affirmative Action Guidelines, oftentimes, I hear from a chair of a search committee or from a president, we better have a couple of women candidates and we better have a couple of ethnic minorities. When I hear that, we stop the conversation in place. I can't help myself sometimes but I begin to lecture them about when you're ready to understand the right fit for the position you have and the responsibilities that this person is going to have regardless of ethnicity, regardless of gender, call me back and we'll talk. One thing I don't want to be party to is a search where you've got five finalists for a position and you've got the obligatory woman, you've got the obligatory black and the minority and you've satisfied some guidelines. It's easy for me to stand here and say this, but I can tell you that in all of my years as an AD and all of the hiring I've done, any person that was a finalist for a search we had going on was a legitimate candidate for that position. I think you develop a bad reputation out in the marketplace among minority candidates if they know you're going to have candidates for that position, but they are not going to be serious about you. They only need to fulfill an Affirmative Action obligation to make certain they can say on some form they fill out how many minority candidates they considered. Please be cautious about that part of it.
Sometimes these requirements require you to advertise that position for a certain length of time in certain kinds of publications. Here again, if you miss that step, somebody at your institution could come back to you and say you need to start over because you didn't advertise properly. It's almost like giving the Miranda. If you arrest somebody and you didn't tell them all of the things you need to tell them, you let them go. Well, make sure these kinds of things are covered before you begin your process.
Here's one that a lot of folks don't think about when they have a search. Can you explain to someone why the position is vacant? We're going to get into media stuff in a little bit. If you have a search going on, you might get a phone call from a candidate or somebody that wants to recommend a person for your position. Somewhere along the way, you might get the question, "Why is this position vacant? Why do you have a search going on?" You want to be real sure you think ahead of time how you're going to answer this question. What's your company line going to be? I guarantee you that if you have other people involved in your search, it's worth your while that they understand what that company line is. Whatever the answer is, the truthful, honest answer to that question has to be understood by everyone. You can't afford to have a candidate find out who all is involved on the search committee and contacting them and asking the search committee members why the position is vacant and have everyone give a different answer. That is not a good sign. This is part of the process of educating the people that will be part of the search process.
In some instances, the athletics director does not interview everybody that's a candidate for the position. Do you interview every candidate or just those that have already passed some preliminary interviews? Here again, this is a step you want to be certain that people in the search process with you, whether it's you and one other person or a room full of 20 people, everybody understands what your role as the athletics director is going to be. You need to manage the process, organize it, but what is your physical, personal involvement going to be? Do you want others to interview the candidates preliminarily but then you interview the finalists? Do you interview everybody? You want to make that clear at the outset and whatever you determine, don't change it. You're going to have legal problem on your hands if you change it.
For example, suppose you start a search process. You decide you're going to wait and interview just the finalists. If you say in your search process that you, the AD, or you, the person responsible for the search, will only interview the finalists, then don't interview any preliminary candidates. If it's found that you did and somebody that's a preliminary candidate doesn't make it to the finalist state, they have grounds for a grievance. Well, why was the AD involved in that search and not in mine? I didn't have the same chance to get this job that the other person did. Whichever way you determine is going to be best for that particular position, make that decision and stay with it.
Sometimes it's very awkward for the AD to be involved in preliminary searches, because oftentimes candidates for those preliminary searches are people you might know personally. They might be internal candidates that work for you already. Sometimes if you interview all of the preliminary candidates, it can be an awkward experience for everyone involved if that person you know does or does not make it on into the finalist state. Whatever the decision is on that, stay with it.
Who are the stakeholders? How are they involved? What is their level of influence and who the heck are the stakeholders? This is a Franklin Covey thing I've borrowed. I don't want to say it's stealing, because it's really good research. That's different. Here's how we look at this. In I-A, we characterize being the athletics director, and this is no different for anybody at any level. You're the home plate umpire. You've got to watch every pitch that comes to the plate. You've got to make a decision in that amount of time, is it a ball or is it a strike? Everytime you call something a strike, other people that saw that pitch will say that was a ball. Years ago, somebody asked Frank Broyles at Arkansas, who had already been at Arkansas for 20 years as AD, what's it like to have been at one school for so long? Coach Broyles said he was there just long enough and made just enough decisions that he had no friends. You make enough decisions, half of the people are going to disagree with it and you've alienated half of the people. You do that enough times, there will be just about everybody that will have some beef about your decisions.
Here are the stakeholders. We sat down with the I-A directors at a meeting and, to get this point across, I went to the board and said, "Let's begin to list all of the people that have some influence over whether or not you have success." Initially, you think student-athletes, my president. Then, it gets rolling. What about the president? What about the parents of the student-athletes? What about the central administration in your university? What about other faculty in the university? What about the coaches? What about the people that supply your equipment? What about legal people? What about media? When we were done, we had a list of about 35 stakeholders. We stopped counting at that point. Everybody on that list had some influence over whether or not the athletics director was going to have some success. Sometimes you don't hear from these people, but sometimes you do when you have a search going on. Why is that? They have just the right person for the job. That stakeholder wants to exert their influence on you. You better consider this person because I'm a donor or I'm a season ticket holder or I'm a whatever. You better listen to me because this is a person I think is just right for the job. What do they really know about the responsibilities, expectations, consequences, etc., of that position? Not very much. Yet, they will try to exert some pressure on you. So, are there stakeholders that are going to be involved in this process? When you've got that search committee and there aren't any stakeholders on it outside the university, those people have a beef because they are not part of that process, yet, they will still try to exert their pressure on you. How do you deal with them? This happens sometimes when an institution hires a football coach and there are no former alumni, no former letterwinners or current student-athletes on that committee.
Think about those kinds of things. Who are those people that comprise the committee? What role do they have, as stakeholders, and what influence are they going to have? Suppose you only have 20 stakeholders? Suppose you only have 10 stakeholders? Here's what happens. In the course of doing your impossible job everyday, you've got 10 stakeholders you've got to keep happy one way or another. Suppose your president happens to see five of those stakeholders in town at the local restaurant and they ask how do you think old so and so is doing? Suppose half of those stakeholders say he's in way over his head. He doesn't know his behind from first base. He's got this search going on and wouldn't listen to me at all. He hired a guy I didn't recommend. Point being, suppose half of those stakeholders get upset with you? How long are you going to survive? When you get into a situation where you might have 30 or 40 stakeholders, you can't keep them all happy. It's impossible, so you do a lot of damage control along the way. The fact remains, are there stakeholders that have influence at your institutions that are going to be involved in a particular search? You need to be aware of that and be ready to deal with it.
Everybody you hire, as an athletics director, might as well have their name tattooed on your forehead. You're going to go around for the rest of the time you're an athletics director with that legacy. You're hiring history becomes your legacy. Have you ever seen a situation where a coach has great success? Do they ever say that the AD did a great job in that hire? No, typically not. They talk about the great success of that individual. But, what if that individual stinks it up? Then, what do they say? After they say that person sure stinked it up, they say the AD must have been out of his mind when they hired this person. When you make that hire, it goes with you from then on. Certainly, you want that person to have success, because, obviously, in kind of a selfish way, it's going to help you. Beware of the fact that it is your legacy.
One thing in the Four Roles of Leadership that Franklin Covey teaches is legacy. I really like this notion of legacy. Has anybody here thought about legacy today or yesterday or anytime during the past week? Yet, at any time in the past week, have you done anything in your role on your campus that might have some impact on whatever your legacy is? Are you even aware of it?
One question we get a lot is that it must be nice to meet all of those famous athletes and famous athletics directors. Let me tell you something. There's a man I knew who left a legacy on me that had more of an impact than any athletics person I know. His name was Tom Ballinger. He was a cowboy at the JA Ranch in Texas. He never left the state of Texas his entire life. I knew Tom all of my life. We did a lot of cattle work, horse work together over the years. He had a 5,000-acre pasture at the ranch that was his. Tom got to be in his early 80s. People told me that in those 80-some years, they could count on one hand the days that old Tom was not out there in the pasture. He was out there on horseback every day checking his cattle and horses. His dedication, loyalty, regard, his respect for all of the things that go with it was unbelievable, the kinds of things that really matter about a person's personal character. It's not about how many points you just scored. It's not about the fact that you just threw a great touchdown. It's not about those things at all. It's about the inner things, the personal character things, and the strength of character.
We asked old Tom one time how much longer he was going to do this. He said, "Well, you're going to bury me right here. I don't know why I should stop doing what I'm doing as long as I can get on horseback and not have to go out there on foot, I'm going to keep going." One day, just about sundown, a call went out around the county that you better come. Tom didn't come in that evening for supper. They had the ranch house and everyone was concerned that Tom didn't come in. Everybody in the county turned out, mounted our horses and rode out to Tom's pasture. In kind of a silhouette, we could see Tom's horses with the reins hanging straight down. When you see a ranch horse and the reins are hanging straight down, you might as well drive those reins with a stake into the ground. That horse isn't going to move. The horse might graze around where they're standing, but they are not going to walk off. We rode up on it and got about 50 yards away, dismounted and walked up. Sure enough, there's old Tom laying there. He decided it was time to die. He didn't fall off the horse. He got down off the horse, laid down and had himself looking nice with his hands folded and was as dead as he could be. I checked his pulse to be sure. When I rolled his hand open, I found a little piece of paper.
One of the things about Tom that influenced our lives was, from the time I could hear, old Tom was always telling cowboy stories and poems. They sound corny, but let me tell you something, they are about life. They are about people who have lived a hard life. I listened and learned from him. When I got to be a teenager, I started writing these things down in a notebook. This little piece of paper in his hand I knew would be a world treasure and a pearl of wisdom. It was dark so I pulled the paper out of his hand and put it in my pocket to read when we got back in.
We buried Tom right where he laid. To this day, the only livestock in that pasture are Tom's five horses. A couple of them have died since, but out of respect to that man, that's all that's in that pasture. When we got back in, we opened up his note. I don't know if I can remember all of it right not. It just occurred to me to tell you this story. It was something about, "Lay my spurs upon chest, my ropes, my saddle tree, and when they lower me to rest, please go turn my horses free." That was it. That's what he left, plus 80-some years of work and loyalty. The legacy that man left had more influence and impact on fewer people than anything Michael Jordan or Tommy Lasorda or great people like them have done, but yet, you, as an athletics director, every time you hire somebody, it becomes part of your legacy. It becomes part of what you're known for. You hired that person. We can talk the rest of the day about how to support that person. You're hiring history becomes your legacy.
Do you have a media plan? It might be the kind of hire where it's not necessary to bother with a media plan. Just like we said earlier, do you have the answer to the question for candidates about why this position is open, do you have the answer for the media when they ask you about why you have this position open and how is your search progressing? Do you have a company line that everybody understands and says the same thing? Do you have a good answer? One thing that works pretty good is to tell media you'll respond to their questions as soon as the search is completed. It's just like the evaluation and performance of a coach, when an AD gets asked during a season, usually after a loss, those stakeholders want to know what do you think about that. What are you going to do with this guy, with this coach? We'll evaluate the season at the end of the season. We'll be glad to discuss the search process when the search is completed.
I conducted a search one time for a football coach and I did a lot of off-campus stuff. There is a bar in Portland where all of the media gathered. They had a sign up on a big board entitled "Dutch Search." They actually published this in the paper every day. They would write on this board the alleged sightings of Dutch someplace around the country. From that, they tried to determine whom I was interviewing for the particular position. It was unbelievable. There wasn't one single entry on that board that was correct.
It's good to have some notion of what you want to say to the media. It's all part of that credibility image. If they ask you that question and you're fumbling around for the answer, that's just rouses curiosity. But, if you have a good, thought-out, truthful, straight answer, most of the time, they'll respect that. Just provided they know you're not going to scoop somebody else. If everybody knows they're getting the same deal, it's a fair deal.
Let's move into the hiring a diverse staff. When I saw this in the title, I was a little concerned about what direction to go, because obviously, when you hire a diverse staff, that could mean when you hire a staff of diverse responsibilities and skill levels, it can also mean a whole different kind of thing as related to gender, ethnicity, etc. I asked David which way to approach it and we're going to go both ways. If the concern here is hiring a diverse staff, who here can tell me what diverse means? What does diverse mean? Have you taken a moment as you begin this search to determine where you stand of these kinds of definitions or perspective of what obtaining a diverse staff really means to you and to your institution. That too, has to become part of your plan. That has to become a very conscious part of the mix on how your proceed in the hiring process.
Make a profile of the position you want to fill. When you have somebody leave your staff, or maybe you have a new position, you can add to your staff. Do you disengage yourself right away in a search process or do you actually take the time to prepare a profile of what you want this person to look like based on the diversity perspective, the responsibilities of the position, what is the profile for this position? Or, are you just going to shoot from the hip and wait to see what kind of pool you get? I guarantee you, if you take that approach, you're going to hire a person who will be very compatible with that kind of approach. You'll have a real concern about the issue we talked about and this is how to let somebody go. You better be real concerned about making certain that you have a good profile in place.
Here's one precaution. When you're making this profile, one error that is easily made in the search process is to hire a person to the weaknesses of the predecessor. That's a big mistake. Whatever problems you had with a person, whatever weaknesses a person had and they leave your staff and you engage in a search process, stop for a minute and ask yourself, are we just impressed that this person has great strengths where the predecessor had weaknesses? Be real careful not to allow that to happen. Part of that profile is to be honest with yourself to say, what were the weaknesses in the performance of the person that was in this position before? Make yourself aware of those things.
What is a profile? What's the successful candidate going to look like? What is their experience, their qualifications and the length of their experience? Do you want to hire a person to a position on your staff that has had experience for five years or have they been in a position where you need to train them? Is that part of the profile? Yes, it had better be. How much experience and qualification do you want that person to bring with them? What responsibilities will the new person have? Are they just going to fill what the other person had? That's a mistake too. One of the joys in a search process is a rejuvenation to analyze the responsibilities a person had that's leaving and determine if it would be to your advantage to make adjustments within your staff to change some of these responsibilities so that other people become accountable for different things. Maybe this new hire will take on a new and different look than what you've had historically.
What's the term of the contract? Does anybody here have multiple year contracts? Typically, it may be for a few positions within an institution. It might not be for everybody. If you're hiring to a position that has a multiple year contract, that has to enter into the profile. The length of contract or type of appointment, oftentimes, it might be a person who also has a faculty assignment. That's going to have a bearing on the kind of contract. It might just be a one-year at the discretion of the president or chancellor. It might just be an employment agreement. But, what's it going to be? Make that part of the profile. Make certain the candidates understand that up front.
Is the position description accurate? If you don't do it naturally, somebody might just ask you to send them a description of this position. Is what you're sending out what you're going to hire to? Here again, is a legal problem. You can send it out to somebody that thinks they fit every single criterion of those responsibilities, but you change something when you begin the interview process. You begin to interview people who have different skill sets than what was in the position description. You're not hiring to the position description you sent out. Be careful that if you send somebody a position description, make sure it's very accurate and in line with the profile you're establishing.
What resources do we have to offer this position and what is the available range of resources? That's not just dollars. From a candidate's point of view, they want to know what their chance of success is, not just how much you're going to pay them. As a matter of fact, when I would conduct a search, and this happened on a few occasions, we'd begin the search and I'd contact a candidate. At the outset, after saying, howdy, they would ask what I would pay for this position. My stock answer was, clearly not enough to afford you. Goodbye. That's no way to begin that kind of discussion.
So, resources mean many different things. In this case, I'm not talking about dollars. I'm talking about what other resources there are and support. A lot of people think when you talk about a president supporting you as an athletics director, you're talking about getting paid well. That's not it at all. That's nice support, but that's not the kind of support that really determines longevity for an athletics director. The support issue means that you're in a position, as an athletics director, to make tough decisions every day, all day long. You're going to make decisions like the home plate umpire that somebody saw that as a ball and you called a strike. When that issue goes to your president, do they support you? Have you bothered to communicate with the president about that decision you just made that might be controversial, or are you catching him off guard? When that president is willing to step up to the plate with you and support you on your position, that's support. It's not about dollars.
What's the accountability structure? You want to make sure, in that profile, that you can say to somebody how they're going to be held accountable and what their consequences will be for their performance.
Where do you find candidates is a question everybody likes to ask. Where do you find candidates for a diverse staff? Does anybody here keep a short list? A short list is the little thing you tuck away in your desk, in your Franklin Planner, in your Palm, in the back of your head. It's somebody doing a great job administratively or coaching wise and you put them in the back of your head. You're really impressed with that person. Over a period of time, you start to pay a little bit more attention to the kinds of decisions they make, how they conduct themselves and their credibility goes up. It's the emotional bank account concept. When it comes time to hire a person, might you think about that person on your short list? Sure, why else would you keep a short list? I'll guarantee you right now, if the room next door was full of I-A directors and you walked in and asked them how many of them had a short list, most of them would pull it out of their pocket. They have short lists. When a vacancy occurs, they're not left off guard. They are always, always watching who's doing a good job. It's not just making notes, some of them will be very elaborate on how much detail they keep. That short list is a great source of finding a candidate.
It may be a position where you don't need to go to an executive search company, but there are search agencies now that are willing to do head football coach searches and head basketball coach searches. It's just another available resource. If you want to hire a SID or a trainer, have you talked to anybody at NATA? There are professional associations you can go to. They might be guarded sometimes about giving your specific names. They might be willing to talk about people you already know about and you just want to find something else about them. They are worth making the contact for help.
Talk to your conference. I was an associate commissioner for about five years and you come in contact with a lot of people and you see people doing a good job. You also find out that they are unhappy for whatever reason where they are. Somebody might call and want an assistant business manager and they want somebody within the league. You might find they know a person who might have a level of interest. You don't say anymore than that to protect yourself legally, but sometimes just checking within a league, a conference, an association is a good source.
Have you ever seen anybody do a reference page in a resume? They list people who will say anything except the fact that this person is an Eagle Scout. Is the reference you use someone you can really trust? You may contact a colleague of yours who formally was a trainer and tell them you trust them.
There are many diversity sources today. For example, if you're looking for a position of a senior women's administrator, a female position, contact NACWAA, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators. Give them a call. Jennifer Alley is the executive director and tell her what it is you're looking for and, if she can't help you personally, she'll put you in touch with the right person. They are very eager to help promote people within their association. The NCAA has a committee called the MOIC, Minority Opportunities and Issues Committee. I guarantee you that if you contact the MOIC and tell them what you're looking for, they will help you.
I mentioned executive search committees a minute ago. It may be that this has no interest at all to you, but it could also be where you look at the present time, as your position is not your terminal job. Here are some executive search companies that are doing business in intercollegiate athletics today and they are not bound to Division I-A, the NCAA, anything remotely connected. These are people that understand athletics. For example, Bob Bodine has recently completed 11 searches for athletics directors' positions. They don't do many anymore because they have so much business in other areas, in the corporate area, but they really know what they are doing. Bill Carr was formerly an AD at Florida and Houston and is now doing this full time as his personal business. He did a feasibility study recently to determine whether Appalachian State wanted to change divisions. Bill came in and did that work for them. He's done quite a few searches for positions in athletics. He's very eager to get involved in more. Merritt Norvell was formerly the AD at Michigan State. He is now president of the education division at DHR International. He has done searches at Albany and Western Carolina. We're not talking about major league I-A schools. He'll do all searches. He is only concerned about the right fit at that particular institution.
Hardwich and Struggles is another company. I include them here because they are doing some searches. Be real careful if you get involved personally in a search that they are conducting. They are getting a lot of searches. They have done a lot of searches for presidents, provosts, department chairs, academic chairs, etc., well known in academia. They've entered into the athletics culture and they are not quite sure what direction to turn. The big question mark is confidentiality and discretion issues. If you get involved personally with them, give me a call and I'll be glad to talk with you about protecting yourself. Buffy Filopel's company has done searches from NAIA schools to professional ranks and have created some software and Internet sources that are unbelievable. You can use this for people in any kind of position. Chuck Neinas, formerly executive director of the CFA. He has Neinas Sport Services. He has done searches at every level. I can highly recommend Chuck. He's quick and very reasonable. He understands our business as good as anybody on here. He does the right fit best of anyone on here. His discretion and confidentiality are superb. Chuck is a really good one.
What are the risks of the internal candidate? Sometimes hiring that internal person looks real good, but there are risks involved as well, that I think you need to be very careful about. The exact right fit could be an internal candidate, but perhaps not. For example, continuity and complacency. Sometimes the internal candidate is good to maintain continuity. Sometimes an internal candidate gets a black mark, because if the person that just left the position was not well thought of, the internal candidate can be conceived as that person's person. There's a case right now in Division I-A about an AD who left a position and there's an internal candidate. He knows he doesn't have a chance because he thinks the AD that just left was not well thought of. He doesn't think his chances to move up are going to be very good. Internal candidates can possibly be good.
One precaution to look for is does the internal candidate display a different attitude when they become a candidate? This is a red flag. If you have an internal person that you identify as a candidate for a position and you tell them they are a candidate for a position, do they all of a sudden appear to have a different attitude? Do they conduct themselves differently? You're going to be real careful about that and make certain that what you're saying is real. You need to be careful about the attitude of the staff. It's a good idea to get feedback from staff members when somebody internally is a candidate, but that can be dangerous too, because you don't know all of the consequences that have been created why a person internally may be saying something about an internal candidate. It can be helpful to find feedback from internal people.
Be careful of the reference page that comes with the resume. Frankly, I never look at it. If you want to publicly identify someone as a candidate, only do it if they are truly a candidate. You're doing them and others a great disservice if it's only to send a message. If you're trying to create an image or send a message, you're using that person as a pawn. When they realize that's what happened, you've got another problem to deal with. Here's something to think about. I'm an associate AD and my AD is leaving. They are asking me to be the interim AD. Should I do that? It's look good on my resume. It's like Dennis Miller says, "It's just my opinion, but I could sure by wrong." I think it's a terrible mistake, if you're an internal person and you agree to be the interim AD. My point is that if they think enough of you to be the AD, then appoint me. If they don't, what if I'm the interim and I don't get the job? I still live in this community and I still work here. How am I going to be looked upon by my colleagues? You're not doing that person any favor. I'll go to a staff as a consultant sometimes and they'll tell me they are going to name so and so as the interim. I tell them not to do that to that person unless that's whom you want to hire. We tell the group that we're not going to make any interim appointment, however, we are going to recognize the fact that so and so will be more responsible for the conduct of business in this department. You can even go so far as to say that so-and-so may become a candidate. It's early in this process. We don't know that appointment yet, but we don't want to show disrespect to this department or to this individual by giving them a title that might become a handicap later. It's unfair. You can do the responsibility without the title.
You want to make sure people understand that this will be an open search. We are going to receive interests and applications from people outside the university for this position. They will not only be from those within.
You must be aware of marketplace-driven factors in the search process and in the hiring process. Certainly, you want to be aware of the benefits and levels of compensation that are available. One thing we have in I-A that's been invaluable, and that is there is no reason in the world why it wouldn't work at any school or conference. We send out a questionnaire in mid-August to the entire association. It's a questionnaire that has a potential of 170 athletics positions. No school has 170. Stanford is close, but they don't have 170 athletics positions. By the time everyone has sent their questionnaire back in by mid-October, those positions will be identified. Many schools have ice hockey and many schools don't. What that questionnaire asks for is the annual base compensation for all positions. For football and basketball, we ask for annual base compensation plus total direct or the package number. When you see in the paper that so and so just got $9 million a year to be the head coach, what a disservice that is. Their annual base most likely is going to be most comparable to whomever the highest paid person in the institution is. They are going to have a total direct that are incentive type bonuses that are realistic that that person will receive to take home and put on their dresser. But then, that big package number you receive includes incentive clauses that likely will never be met. Typically, when you see that huge number that somebody just got as a contract, they are not going to make that much money. It's something considerably less.
There are levels of compensation and what the marketplace will bear are factors you have to be ready and prepared to discuss with any candidate. When that candidate, in that initial conversation, wants to ask you about those things, I think it's a red flag. There's a proper, more professional way to do that. You want to make sure you're not in a position when you talk to that candidate, when you come to the point of the dollars and the levels of compensation, you fumble around for a number. Have it nailed down. Be certain about what you're going to offer this particular person.
Facilities can be either attractive or unattractive to a particular candidate. It's a marketplace-driven factor. Coaches will look around and see what kinds of facilities everybody has. It's part of the arms race. They'll see if I go to this particular school, wouldn't it be great to have those kinds of facilities? Your facilities are actually a marketplace-driven factor on the success you might have on a particular search. For administrators, it's the level of responsibility. You might want to talk to a candidate for a position and find out there's not enough responsibility for that particular position. That is marketplace driven.
Available resources are not just the dollars we're talking about here. It's all of those areas of support we've mentioned that have to do with available resources. Does the coach, the administrator have the chance for success? Are there available resources that they have a legitimate chance for success against those with whom they compete? Is it legitimate?
Benefits can become an issue for some candidates, not just the levels of compensation, but more people talk about long-term contracts, benefits that attract their families. Benefits are a marketplace-driven factor.
You'll notice on your handout, items nine and 10. Third-party contacts has become more and more prevalent now in the search process, where you have a candidate for a position you want to consider, but you don't want to necessarily personally contact that candidate to determine their level of interest. So, you ask somebody you know and trust that know that other person to make that contact for you. Third-party contact can be very handy. It can be very dangerous. You're not empowering that person to make the hire for you. You want to be very cautious about how much information that third-party contact person is authorized to share. You also take the risk that the third-party person might be saying something to a candidate that is not, in fact, part of the company line that we've talked about already. What does that mean? The third-party contact can be very helpful, but you need to coach him a little bit. You need to make sure they understand what their limitations are, what they have the authority to say and do.
Do you all get involved in off-campus interviews at all? That's a bugaboo and we won't go there. How to read a resume is a real skill you need to develop. I've put a few items that you're likely see on a resume and how do you read these things? The first item is this person is a careful thinker. This means they will not make a decision. That's what that really means. This person has strong principles. They're stubborn. This person spends long hours at work. You want to think they're dedicated, but it's simply a miserable home life. This person is active socially. They drink too much. This person has a zealous attitude. They are opinionated. What a pain in the behind that is. This person has an aggressive attitude. They're conceited. This person is forceful. They are argumentative. This person is meticulous with details. They are nitpickers. This person has leadership qualities. They are tall, with a loud voice. The point is that you have to be very careful when you read the resume. What are you really looking for and what are you really looking at?
On the other end of this, we spend a lot of sessions with student-athletes and coaches and staff on how to create a resume. Obviously, you want to create a resume that's going to clearly identify everything you want that potential employer to know about you on paper. You want it to be easy to ready and clean. I've known people that would send a resume and the paper was beautiful. It looked like wood grain, but he had no credentials. Good looking resume, but there was no content to it. You may get resumes from people that really look nice, but don't be misled by that. Mostly, people do that so that their resume sticks out of the pile. You look at the pile and remember that wood grain or pretty blue. It sticks out. Don't be deceived by that. Get to know what is on the resume.
You're looking for very specific things on that resume. For example, are there breaks in service? Are there breaks in employment? Those are questions you want to make certain you get the answer to. A person looks like they're clicking right along and they're gainfully employed and doing well. All of a sudden, there's a gap of a year, two or three. Why is that? We talked earlier about political correctness and precautions and Affirmative Action rules that prohibit you from asking certain questions. On the other hand, there are some questions when you look at the resume. Sometimes, when you do that telephone interview, especially if the telephone interview is a one-on-one, one of the great purposes is to help that person understand that there is some information they've given you that you need clarity on. You're not getting into the questions about can you do the job. You call them because you need clarity. You're finding voids in their employment history. You see question marks there. Another thing I'll add here, is that I have a problem with people who have rude behavior. It's a choice you make and, frankly, I think it's a bad one. It's just like being clean. There's plenty of soap around, you can choose to be clean. You can choose not to be rude.
One thing that bothers me in the search process, and I feel I'm being rude is, when you have that search going on, do the number of phone calls you receive increase? Do you ever get phone calls from candidates when that search is going on? You answer the phone and they ask if their credentials got there. Yes, they did, thank you, goodbye. Do you ever return calls to those candidates who have called you during the search? This is what I struggle with. I feel like I'm being rude to people. When the search is over, I'll call those people back and apologize to them if I was rude to them. I explain to them why I didn't call them back during the search. The reason for it is that when I call that person, especially at their office, if there is a secretary, receptionist, or anybody else happens to answer the phone and I say I'm whomever from some university and I'd like to speak to whomever, you don't know how that phone message and phone call are going to be interpreted by everybody in the barber shop that afternoon. That candidate goes and tells everybody they know that I just got a call from so and so. They are interested in me for this job. Are they really interested in you for that job or are they just returning your call? There have been some serious problems created because you have the courtesy to return a call, but that person you just called tells so many others that that university just called me about that job. No, they didn't. They just returned your phone call. It's a tough area. I ask you to give some thought to how you want to proceed and how you feel comfortable. I point it out simply because it's an area I've struggled with along the way.
From the Floor
I've put a lot of stock in the cover letter. The resume tells you about what they've done, but the cover letter will tell you what the person is about, the thought process, the clarity of expression, the grammatical situation. If you're looking for a coach, you can't have letters going out to a recruit with misspelled words.
Never include anything in your cover letter or resume that is misspelled or grammatically poor. Never. If you're in a hurry to get the cover letter out and you haven't checked it, don't send it. You want to be sure it's exactly right. You don't want the person who receives it to see those things.
Cover letters should be just that. It's not the message from the local Chamber of Commerce where you're going to explain to this prospective employer all of the wonderful things about you. That's not the purpose of the cover letter. The cover letter is just that. It's a letter that goes in your resume that says I have interest in your position as x, y, and z. Enclosed please find my credentials for this position. I'm available to discuss this with you at your convenience. I can be contacted at the following numbers. If it's more than a page, go back and eliminate something. It should never be more than a page. It's not the place to sell yourself. It's not the place to say that I've lived my entire life for a chance to have this job. It's the place to be truthful and concise. I emphasize concise. It's a welcoming. It's a hello, this is from me. I'm a cordial professional, period.
I mentioned earlier that I had the privilege to be influenced by Coach Woody Hayes. One of the things he used to say on the professional conduct area is, "When you sit down to write a letter, see if you can write the letter without using the word I." When you get home, sit down and try to write a draft cover letter as if you were sending your resume to somebody and see if you can write it without using the word I. That's a good point. How many times do you see a cover letter that every sentence begins with I?
There are three things you don't know about a person when you hire them. You don't know their work habits. When you talk to them, when you read the reference page, those people will tell you wonderful things about them. You don't know how they're going to work. The other is personal character. You don't know a person's personal character if all you have to go on is that reference page and that kind of exposure. My goal, when I hire somebody, would be that I would satisfy myself that I'm hiring somebody of a high personal character and great work habits. That was my challenge because, typically, those are things you don't know about a person until you have hired them and you see them on the job. People who worked with them before may say wonderful things about their personal character and their work habits. What you have to do is project that person from that role, from that job into what you want them to do. Are the circumstances so different that a different kind of personal character or different work habits might come to the forefront? I don't think you can ever be too satisfied that you have enough information on personal character and work habits. I don't mean to overemphasize it, but I think it's that important.
From the Floor
You mentioned that in looking at a resume, if there are breaks in service, you question that. What about a person who has had eight different jobs in 10 years?
If what I saw was encouraging, I would take the time to ask that person to help me understand why you went to so many different positions. There are questions you have to ask. They are not infringements on Affirmative Actions, but you've got to have the assurance, as the employer, that you've asked the questions and you've heard the answers and you're satisfied why there are eight jobs in 10 years and that it makes sense. You can support it. You are not taking that at risk.
There are two questions I always ask every candidate at the end. What risk am I taking if I don't hire you? Think about how you would answer that question. The second question I ask them, again at the end, what risk am I taking if I hire you? It's unbelievable the kinds of responses you get and how revealing the truth issues are to the responses to those questions. When you ask those and you hear the answers to those good questions, if you've done enough good work, the personal character, breaks in service, if you're satisfied with all of that, the answers to those questions are going to hit you right between the eyes as absolutely truth. If you ask what risk do I take if I don't hire you and they say the Chamber of Commerce answer, you want to move on to your next candidate.
From the Floor
I have a question on references. Can't you expand that by going to former employers if they're not listed over in the reference section?
Absolutely. Sometimes some universities actually require the hiring person to submit documentation verifying that you contacted this company or this school and here is the person I spoke to. Here is their phone number. You have to validate all of those things. Absolutely, yes. When I look at somebody's resume, I wouldn't look at the reference page. I see where they've been, I'm going to know somebody there. That means more to me than whose name I'm going to see on the reference page.
From the Floor:
Question was inaudible.
Let's talk about mentors. I don't think they have to be controlling. My mentors have not been controlling but I admire them simply by the way they conduct themselves. When mentoring a staff, give people for whom you are responsible, professional development opportunities. That's a good way to mentor a staff to become better or to develop new skill sets or become more aware of what the real world might be or how they can develop their skills further. Mentoring can be the opportunities you give a person, not only within the responsibilities of your department, but how well you support them in encouraging them and allowing them to participate in professional development opportunities.
Here's a caution. Every time I would send, or one of my staff would go to a professional development kind of program, we scheduled a meeting for the day they got back and they had to give me a report on what they just learned. They didn't just go to the Grand America Hotel for a couple of days and sit out at the pool, because they knew when they got back that Dutch would want to know what they did. You know what the fair deal is? When I would go to professional development seminars, that would become part of the staff meeting. I would want to share what I learned. That's a fair deal. That's how everybody could learn from somebody's experiences. Mentoring somebody is not just a one-on-one telling somebody what to do, it's the support, it's the encouragement, it's helping people having professional development.
Another way to mentor people is to give them responsibility that is suitable for their skills, but let them do it. Let them do the responsibilities you've given them. You've got to evaluate them. You've got to encourage them. You've got to do a lot of things along the way, but give them the striped shirt and the whistle. Don't give them the striped shirt and you keep the whistle. Give them the responsibility and let them do it.
I used to teach classes to our staff. We had fun. I would announce Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. we're going to have a class and you all come. We might have 25 or we might have 75 people. One of the classes we had was searching for eagles. It's a process a leader has to be aware of on how you, as a leader, are out there looking for people who are soaring above the others. You're looking for the eagles. Eagles have a wonderful lifestyle in the bird world. They are highly respected and they do wonderful things. The influence they have on others is profound, not because they are big and their beak is sharp, but because of the way they conduct themselves. I was always searching for eagles. You let your staff know that. That's part of the mentoring process. If somebody works for you and they think they never have a chance to get ahead because you're not paying attention to what they are doing, are you mentoring them? Yes, but not in a good way.
Tell your staff. Help them understand that you are searching for eagles. Help them understand the kind of qualities you're looking for in people that are willing to step forward to that next level. Communicate that to them. It's great to have it in your head, but tell them. I don't care if you have two people on your staff or 25 people on your staff. You need to communicate those messages to them. Yes, we all get busy. We all get distracted, but that is one of your primary responsibilities, second to your student-athletes, administering a diverse staff.
Do people on your staff know their duties? Do they know who they are accountable to? Do they know the expectations? Do they know their consequences? After you've hired somebody, they probably have a good understanding of what their duties will be, who they are accountable to, expectations they have to fulfill and what are the consequences if they don't get the job done. That seems obvious in this sequence of hiring and mentoring. Do you administer these same kind of things to your existing staff outside of the formal evaluation process? Do they really know? Have expectations changed? Have their responsibilities changed? Have the consequences changed? If they have, is everybody aware of that? You might know it well and you might have discussed it with one other person, but does everybody who is influenced by those changes know? Do they still know what their duties are as you perceive them to be? Again, you can't take enough time to help your staff. How can they perform up to your expectations if they don't know what you expect of them?
Does everyone know the mission of the department? Here, we could spend the rest of the day talking about mission. I'll say this up front, probably one of the most boring things that ADs and leaders impose on their staff is to create a mission statement. Give me a stick so I can poke it in my eye. Isn't that a horrible thing, but what a fun thing it could be. If you have a mission for your department, does everybody know what it is? Is it prominently displayed somewhere? Is it ever referred to in anything you do? Have they ever heard you say, that's a fine idea, but that is going to take us in a different direction than our mission. Let's evaluate our mission.
This next thing gets back to Franklin Covey. I've had this conversation with Dr. Covey about this because he has some very strict ideas about mission and creating a mission statement for a person or a company. My notion is that everyone here has many different roles that we play every day in our lives. It can be professional. It can be personal. We all have roles we play. How can you have one mission statement? How does that work? It doesn't fit. I've created, for my personal life and my professional life, a mission. I've got a foundational statement about me as a human being, a very specific foundational statement. I look at this at least once every three months to make sure I'm still doing it, oftentimes, more frequent than that. I can't deviate from who I know I am. I'm a dad, a husband, a friend, a golfing partner, I'm a lot of different things. For all of those different roles, I have a mission statement. The mission statement I have with my wife is not the same mission statement I have for my son or my daughter or colleague or golf partner. I've just taken some time to figure out who I am. This is my foundational statement. Based on that foundational statement, what kind of mission have I created for myself in all of these different role? Why can't you do the same thing in your department? You can have a department foundational statement. For example, you can say the foundation of this department is that everything we do will be focused on the welfare of the student-athletes and the success of our coaches. Pretty foundational.
How am I going to accomplish that foundational statement? How is that mission going to play out with the trainer, the equipment coach, with fill in the blank. Every person I have a different role with on my staff, we have a mission. We have made that mission together. It all comes out of our foundational statement.
My staff bestowed upon me one time a MWA degree and that's management by wandering around. I believe in it wholeheartedly. As a matter of fact, we had a policy that between the hours of 8:00 and 5:00, you could not e-mail anybody within our building. You could e-mail them before, during lunch or after work, but you could not e-mail them during the day. Get off your behind and go see them. Go see them face-to-face and communicate with that person. You might call them on the phone if it's a quick kind of thing, fine. E-mail is very convenient and it can be very effective, but it also has taken away some of the personal interaction that is so valuable in the strength of an organization.
I had this baseball bat one of our stakeholders gave to me. At the end of it was laser engraved my name so when you saw the area around it, it had been hollowed out so my name was dimensional looking. I would take this bat with me and walk down the hall and tap it. Everybody would here that bat coming and say, here comes Dutch doing that MWA thing. I would make it a point every day to go into people's offices. What's the beauty of that? You can leave when you're done. You can see a whole lot more people than if you just wait for people to come to your office. In this building, there was an old gymnasium and the hallway was circular. I could step out and see 25 people. It was like directing traffic. Everybody had something to say to everyone. Sometimes I would walk in with the bat and say I'm here to leave my impression on you as if I was going to smack them on the forehead and have it say Dutch Baughman on there. I would get out there to them face-to-face. I would wander. They knew I was out there. I would always ask them something about them personally. How's your wife? How's your husband? Is Johnny still playing baseball? I would always take care of the business I went to take care of and then go. I never lingered. I know people who would sit in offices long enough they ought to get their mail delivered there. I would keep moving. Management by walking around is a good management tool and it does a lot of good things.
This is very obvious. When you're talking about administering a staff, you cannot have anybody on that staff that thinks they're being treated any different than anybody else for whatever reason. Whatever policies you create, whatever style of business you create, whatever consequences you create, obviously, they've got to be fair treatment for everyone on the staff.
On the evaluation process, be sure the evaluation is signed and dated. When you sit down to evaluate someone make sure that it is signed and dated. If the person says this is a horrible evaluation, I'm not going to sign it, put a note to that effect and have somebody witness it. That sounds a little stinky, but if we had someone that was not performing, we would communicate that. Is that ever a pleasant thing? Not necessarily. They had to know what the standard was going to be, what the consequences were and what the areas of leniency were going to be. They need to sign it.
Something else that I'll take from Franklin Covey is what they call the win-win agreement. This is a really good tool for the evaluation process. Suppose you have a person that's not performing well and you're going to have an evaluation of them, whatever formal process you have, and you're going to be sure it's signed and dated. What if that person is not performing in accordance with what you expect of them? When you have the evaluation, do you just tell them what you expect and expect them to go out and fix it? That's what most people would do. This is what I would do. I would create a win-win agreement for anybody whose performance needed improvement.
Here's how it works. First of all, you have to help them understand what part of their performance is sub-standard, what is not measuring up to par. They need to know that. It cannot be a mystery. It's hard words to say sometimes, but you have to have the courage to say them. You have to be honest, truthful and forthright. Then, you tell this person you have not performed well here. I'll give you an example. Suppose you had a secretary that hated to do the filing. You've done everything you can think of to make it fun and everything you can do to make sure they understand how important it is to have filing done accurately. It's not getting done. You sit them down and say, once again, the filing is not getting done. Then you ask this person what is the desired result that we want to accomplish from this kind of performance? We want the filing done. That's the desired result. It doesn't have to be complicated. We want the desired result, the filing done.
Let's you and I share in the guidelines. Those guidelines would be examples that you discuss on how you want this done. As a guideline, at least once a week, you take some time to get the filing done. Does this desired result have any need for resources? Oftentimes, no, but you want a place for that. You say, this is what is expected, here is the desired result and here's how to do it. I'm going to make certain you have one of our temporary students that comes in three days a week to be here with you to make certain that this is done. We'll have somebody else answer the phones. Those are resources, it's not just money. At the end of that month, you and I are going to sit down and you will account to me for the fact that you did meet these guidelines. You're going to be honest enough to tell me that two out of the three or three out of four weeks this month, I got it done. Here's why I didn't get it done. It might be fine. It's understandable. They are accountable. They know at the outset they are going to asked, they are going to have a meeting once a month where they are accountable for whatever the results are. Then, what are the measurable consequences?
We would have these win-win agreements in place in addition to evaluations. Another thing about evaluations is that I'm a big believer in not having an evaluation where you sit down with a staff person at a designated day and say, "Here's how I evaluate your performance." That's a huge mistake. Do you know everything that person has done well enough that you can honestly say that? Maybe in some areas, but if you have the authority to evaluate this person and their employment might hinge on your evaluation, are you really being fair in that you know everything this person has done? I would venture that there is not a person in this room that can say yes to that.
We did two kinds of evaluations. First, I would give everyone on our staff an evaluation form that had about five pages attached in each category on what's expected. The first step of the evaluation process is for you to give this back to me with a written description. I want you to help me know what I don't know about what you've done. I'll tell you how fun this could be. Our gymnastics coach would turn this thing back into me. Out to the side where it might say relationship with parents of student-athletes, he might say 9.8. He graded himself as if he was a gymnast on a 10-point scale. We had more fun with that and it helped to improve his performance in certain areas. But, I couldn't begin to tell you how much I learned about what he did.
The second phase was my evaluation of what I'd observed. I think an evaluation from you is nothing more than an observation you've made. It's not a true evaluation of this person's performance. It's only an observation of the time you've seen. In some cases, it might be what other people have told you, which could be very risky. We would make certain that evaluation was signed.
I'm going to pass out information I've compiled over 25 years of hiring folks and you'll see that I didn't even bother to change the last AD position I had at Oregon State University. I would sit down with the search committee at the outset and give them this packet of information. The first page you see says, you have been selected to serve on the search committee to fill in the blank. It's a formal identification that they are part of the search committee and they know about it. From then on, the next couple of pages helps that search committee person know what's going to be expected of them to help them perform as a member of the committee. What to avoid during the search, role within the search, conceptions we want to convey, you can all see these listed. This has been compiled over 25 years. As we do a search, I always wanted to add something to that document. This has been an accumulation of many years. The last couple of pages, 20 questions for coaches, 20 questions for an administrative candidate. I hope this will help you as it helped the search committee. We also did an evaluation of the search committee when we were done. Did this person do a good job in the search? This is just a reference for you. If it helps you, that's good.
What happens in that unfortunate circumstance when it's time for somebody to go? Let me interject something up front. When you have a personnel agreement or a contract, one thing I've discussed with presidents in I-A and a lot of ADs that are doing searches, typically, in agreement and contracts, there's a part where you talk about reasons for termination. Termination for cause. Does that sound familiar? It might be institutional policy, it might be in some addendum that you give to the annual employment agreement. Anyway, it outlines what kinds of things happen for a person to lose their position. When do you do that? You administer that just when you've hired somebody. Isn't that a happy time to haven't lost a game? They're excited about their duties and about being there. Then, we're going to talk about terminating you if you do these things.
Try this sometime. Change that to say "gradation for cause." Now, it's not just a word game. If you say gradation for cause, include in that provision the kinds of things that indicate poor performance, but also the things that indicate merit improvement or merit increases. What does gradation mean? It just means incremental. It doesn't mean termination necessarily. It can be a severe gradation, which could be termination. On that contract, you say to that person, here are the things, the key categories under which you're going to be evaluated. We call these gradation for cause because if we really want to give you a merit increase, this is what we're going to go back to. We're going to gradate your compensation up based on these factors because you've done a great job. If you do a bad job, these are the same factors we'll use to gradate you down. You're not talking about termination necessarily, you've turned it into a positive thing.
The last item there is when it's time to let somebody go. That person you're going to let go needs to know why they need to go. In most states, legally, all you're required to do is to say your employment will not be continued at this institution beyond such and such a date, period. You're not required by law to give them any more reason than that. Tell me how that fits with the standards your institution has created and the obligations you have as the leader for the evaluation process? Something doesn't fit here. Aren't you expected, in the evaluation process, to go into great detail about their performance? Yet, when it's time for them to go, you don't have to say anything legally except we're not going to continue your employment. That doesn't seem compatible to me. I think it's incumbent upon the leader to make certain that person knows why it's time for them to go. If it's based on a recommendation, be sure of it yourself.
When you take a new position as an AD or a coach and you get there and all of sudden your president or someone tells you that this person has to go. Now, you don't even know so and so, but based on this recommendation, you're expected to let somebody go. What a horrible, horrible thing that institution has just done to you. As a matter of fact, if I was being interviewed for a position when I'm talking to the right people, I'd ask that question. Is there anyone here you want to see go when I'm hired? If that's the case, get them gone before I get here. It's not fair. Legally, you're holding the bag. My position always was when I get there and I get a recommendation to let somebody go, I may let them go, but it's going to be after I'm sure. I need enough verification for myself that they need to go.
Do they understand their duties? Do they really understand what their duties are? Do they understand why they are in jeopardy? There could be several steps like this win-win agreement. You may have a meeting every month with the person to talk about those desired results and the consequences and whether or not they've met them. It doesn't have to come in just one conversation, we're going to let you go. There could be some intermediate steps taken and in many cases, those intermediate steps are very necessary.
Have they've had a change to improve once you've identified or evaluated whatever it is they're doing wrong? If you had such a meeting where you've told them they are not measuring up to the standard, they are not performing properly, you've got to give them a chance to change their performance, to improve their performance. If you don't, you're legally liable. The double whammy is, if you have an evaluation that is not signed and dated and you let them go because of poor performance, you don't win that one. When you let somebody go, anticipate there will be some trouble, legal action and grievance action. Anticipate that it's going to happen. It may not come to fruition, but it's very likely going to happen.
Determine the shelf life of the damage control. Sometimes you get into these uncomfortable, unpleasant kinds of situations and the circumstance you have to deal with might be more of an immediate kind of impact. You might have a situation where the shelf life is going to be a long-term deal where you've let somebody go, they're going to stay living in your community, they've been at your school for 30 years and the impact of your actions will hang with you. It's like when you hired him, that's your legacy, when you fire them, that's your legacy. You need to understand when you enter into those situations what that shelf life going to be.
Avoid comments to anybody regarding your personal opinion of the person or the performance. This is a horrible mistake. When you engage in the win-win agreement or you do the evaluation with someone, if it's positive and somebody asks how is so and so responding, if you say, "They're doing a great job, they are really coming around." If the person still doesn't measure up, be real cautious in not making statements that are definitive, "Well, we've just tried everything we can and they are hopeless." That one will come back to haunt you.
I think we've come to the end of our time. I appreciate the chance to be with you today. If I can help you in any way at anytime, give me a call and I'd be glad to help you. Thank you.