The Toronto Maple Leafs have had a mostly futile history since last winning the Stanley Cup, only reaching the final four three times in 49 years. Devoted fans have suffered the ignominy of witnessing such hockey hotbeds as Anaheim, Raleigh, Newark and Tampa hold championship parades while we “wait until next year”.
As we approach the 50th anniversary of May 1967, the team finally committed to stop the constant short term fixes and build properly like the hockey Red Wings, the baseball Cardinals, the football Patriots and the basketball Spurs. An inspirational, empowered leader was hired, the best coach in the game was lured by an 8 year contract and a bevy of young promising “high potentials” with knowledge of the newest analytical techniques were recruited. The only objective is achieving best practices with no announced timetable for winning.
It was what they did next that I find interesting. They hired a General Manager to oversee the implementation of the plan. The person they selected was Lou Lamoriello, eminently qualified as a 3 time champion. But Lou is also 73 years old, not the expected age when you are launching a 5-8 year rebuilding program. Here is where this hiring somewhat intersects with our vision for TempPro Marketing Solutions (and no, we are a long way from having our age start with a ‘7’).
Experience and Wisdom
There is value in experience. After being the General Manager of the New Jersey Devils for 28 years, Lou learned a thing or two about acquiring and developing players. For me, I worked in the format wars of VHS vs. Beta on the losing side and then years later in the single serve coffee market on the winning side. It was amazing to see the parallels between the two situations and in the coffeemaker market, the superior product won this time. Perhaps lessons were learned by Keurig so they combined their superior brewer with widest variety of coffee flavours, just as VHS ultimately won with their superior movie selection despite an inferior hardware technology.
Bright young minds bring the latest ideas, but industry contacts and knowledge can also provide a quicker path to success for an inexperienced team. In the sourcing world, anybody can sign up with Alibaba and find factories, but at TempPro we have deep knowledge and relationships in China that can help locate the best, most reliable partners.
Ability to Set Aside Ego
In the new job, Lou has chosen to be part of a management team rather than function as the dictator as in his last position. Facing a figurehead role with his old employer, I can only guess he valued being in the action and accepts a new work dynamic. To be fair, there is skepticism about whether he can endure this lack of total control. In our TempPro case, there is no doubt. This flexibility is a critical component of our vision and values.
It Buys You Time
There should be constant development of employees who become internal candidates for promotions through a well considered succession plan. But sometimes there are gaps and unlike the sports world where 3 year contracts are the norm, TempPro works in short term assignments that may run anywhere from a few weeks to a year. There is no pain to part ways – you define the parameters and we will design you a custom program and serve either as a consultant, an interim manager or provide referrals through our network.