Moments ago, the Miami Heat “SUPER TEAM” of Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh made its regular season debut. The Heat/Celtics game just tipped off and suddenly I got to thinking – To build a team is it better to go after high paid employees with a proven track records or build a team from scratch?
Whether you are an NBA fan or not, it is a safe assumption that you have heard about the Miami Heat’s off season dealings. On the flip side, not being an NBA fan, you may not know about the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder were an up-and-coming team that proved to everyone that they are for real by taking the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers to the limit in the 1st round of the 2010 NBA playoffs. With the exception of the Celtics, the Thunder were the toughest opponent the Lakers faced. This year, as a Laker fan, the Thunder are the team I fear in the west.
Unlike the Celtics, Heat, and even Lakers, the Oklahoma City Thunder did not build their team through trades or by signing top free agents. No, they built their team through the draft. Of course, it was fortunate for the Thunder that the Portland Trial Blazers once again made the KILLER MISTAKE of passing on the best player in the draft for a center. First they pass on Michael Jordan for Sam Bowie, then they pass on Kevin Durant for Greg Oden. Wow! I mean it’s different ownership, etc., but it seems the franchise is cursed. Some might say I’m being unfair due to the Blazers having had Clyde Drexler when they decided to pass on Jordan and Brandon Roy when they decided to pass on Durant, but I disagree. A lesson to learn from the Trail Blazers’ mistakes is not to pass on a sure thing. But I digress.
Rather than invest the team’s money in highly paid veterans, the Thunder went after young and promising players. This does not mean they do not spend money. In the off season, while everyone was drooling over Lebron, the Thunder quietly resigned Kevin Durant to a five-year, $85 million contract extension.
It would be great if I could say THIS is the way to build a team, but the thing is that it all depends on your company’s needs, status, trade, etc. Say your company is sales driven, you may want to hire top level salesmen with proven track records to ensure that your company meets its sales quota. At the same time, you do not want to be spending more money than you need to. Hiring younger workers is cheaper and these employees have a higher upside. Once trained, they will hopefully move up in the company with gradual pay increases rather than starting with a high salary (in relation to the market) from the get-go.
The key is finding the right blend. Hiring younger employees, often coming straight out of school, brings the company employees with fresh ideas and new ways of thinking. Conversely, older employees bring experience, leadership, and the ability to produce immediate results.
Having said all this, you may be tempted to build a team made up of primarily young employees with a few older experienced employees sprinkled in. This may not be the best idea to build a team.
Throughout the ’90s, even ’00s, I don’t know how many times the Golden State Warriors had a young team that looked like it would develop into something special only to have the team dismantled. The 1997 Washington Bullets were thought to be the “team of the future,” but ended up dismantled a few season later due to a series of off-court incidents. An almost identical situation took place in the ’00s with a young Los Angeles Clippers team.
The problem is that in addition to having a huge upside, younger employees also have a bigger downside. They are more likely to make ill-advised and let’s face it STUPID decisions.
At the end of the day, no two teams are the same. Team chemistry, what needs to be done, etc. are all things to consider when determining how to build your team. If you’re running a restaurant, a law firm, or any other business, you always want to build for the future, but you also have to make sure you can handle the present. For this reason, your employee base should consist of a mix of both young and seasoned employees to ensure optimal results.
For now, let’s kick back and see what happens with the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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