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Put Me In, Coach

We reported for duty today with an irresistible inclination to ask rhetorical questions. Rather than resist, we opted to cave to the compulsion. So, here we go:

  1. If you were a football coach, would you send the smallest player on your team to block the biggest player on the other team?
  2. If not, why not?
  3. If you were a basketball coach, would you send the shortest player on your team to post up, block shots, and dunk the ball?
  4. If not, why not?
  5. If you were a track coach, would you send the slowest runner on your team out to run the 100?
  6. If not, why not?
  7. If you were a baseball coach, would you send your worst hitter out to face the other’s team’s best reliever with two out and the bases loaded?
  8. If not, why not?
  9. If you had to put people in multiple games — and if the games and game conditions were constantly changing — would you expect one player to do everything?
  10. If not, why not?

Since all those questions are purely rhetorical, we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and presume two things:

  • The answers to questions 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 are, “No.”
  • The answers to questions 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 are, “Because that would be really stupid.”

That leaves us with just one more question, and we’ll include ourselves in this one: Why in the world do we think we can take any employee and expect that employee to do any job, especially in workplaces, talent pools, industries, technological environments, and economic climates that are constantly changing?

Please don’t misunderstand us. We get the whole team player thing. In fact, we think everyone should be encouraged to grow and contribute in whatever ways they can without being limited to or inhibited by the constraints of any particular job descriptions. But every team needs position players. Every organization needs role players. (Every band needs a bass player. But that’s a subject for another post.)

So, let’s forget about the chameleons, shall we? We’ll all be better off if we hire a few specialists and let them evolve. They won’t have to change colors, and we won’t have to change personnel.

Hell, even John Fogerty only wanted to play center field.


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