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February 2014

Hire Leaders, Not Managers

With enough experience, anyone can delegate tasks and “supervise” a team.  The primary goal of a team managers and supervisor is to delegate tasks and get things done. With this narrow view of a managers role, leadership and team morale have experienced a drastic decline. Organizations of all sizes have begun to set a trend of hiring managers who aspire only to delegate tasks and check items off a never-ending to-do list. However, my concern stems from the reality that a new crop of managers are simply task-delegators, not leaders.

image (1) Exceptional leaders have people under their supervision who not only work well under their guidance in their designated role, but excel is branching out into other areas. Great leaders inspire people who WANT to work for them. People WANT to be part of their team.

Managers who are not leaders often stem from hiring with short-term goals in mind. Mangers that are hired as a short-term fix simply fill a roll and don’t make the company better or more stable in the long run. Instead of taking the time to teach and develop their team, short-term managers tend to take on all or most of the work them and in turn start working overtime, causing frustration and resentment to appear in the work environment. Not a great way to build up your team or instill confidence and trust in your environment.

In the modern workplace, a cultural shift has occurred. Employees want to feel like they’re making a difference at work. Workers want more than just a job, where they punch-in and out mindlessly. People become extremely motivated when they feel that their employers have made an investment in not only them, but their success as well. Once people become invested, the sky is the limit for the things they can offer you.

How do you determine a leader from a manager?

Teamwork. A great leader was once a great follower. People who excel in team tasks not only know how to use their skills to advance a team, but can also work well with several different attitudes and points of view.

“Done Is Better Than Perfect”.

I recently ran across this phrase while reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. The more I invest in learning about entrepreneurship and leadership, the more this quote hits close to home. Those who believe in this motto have the Big Picture in mind. Nothing will ever be perfect. A great idea can never be appreciated if it never gets put on paper and out into the world. Find managers who believe in this motto because they understand that the Big Picture is always the ultimate goal and they won’t hesitate to pull the trigger when a decision needs to be made. And we all know indecision can kill a good brand.

Leadership is a skill, which means it can be learned. Take the time to invest in your staff and their success. At the end of the day, an investment in your team is an investment in your organizations long-term success.

Photographers WANTED!

Photo (5)

Rookie Rundown is in desperate need of brilliant travel photographers! Beginning in April, Rookie Rundown will launch its new Travel Photos of the Month series.

Photos of the Month will feature photos of gorgeous vacation destinations from all over the world. As a rookie, my bank account won’t allow me to travel the world….yet. Thus, I’m asking for your help. Until, I can travel the world first hand, I would love to see the places you all have visited.

Photos do not need to be of exotic locations. They need only be interesting and aesthetically stunning. Submissions will be accepted by both professional and amateur photographers.

To submit your photo, email it to rookierundown@gmail.com with TRAVEL PHOTOS OF THE MONTH ENTRY as the subject line. With your entry, please include your name and website (if applicable) along with as much info as you can give about where and when the photo was taken.

Questions can be submitted to rookierundown@gmail.com. Don’t forget to connect with me on twitter, @jnchang.

Sincerely,

-Rookie Specialist

NEW ORLEANS

New Orleans Post Card

February 2014

Need to get out of the Houston city limits for a weekend? You’ve come to the right place! Last weekend, I talked three of my friends into taking a trip with me to New Orleans. For those of you going stir crazy thanks to non-stop construction, traffic and the influx of early tourist for the rodeo, I suggest you get in the car immediately and head east on I-10.

Below is a brief list of the things/places I would suggest on your next trip to NOLA.

Irene’s Cuisine
539 St Philip St, New Orleans, LA 70116

MAKE A RESERVATION. I repeat, MAKE A RESERVATION!! My friends and I called to make one, but they were no longer taking reservations for the night. Our party of four arrived at 7:30pm and were quoted an hour wait . We ended up waiting over two hours for a table. Did I mention you should MAKE A RESERVATION? I swear they only sat our party because I tired of waiting and brought up the topic of leaving very loudly. The food was good, but not worth a 2 hour wait. Although, I don’t think any food would be worth a two hour wait. They had a great, but selective menu. Dessert was great! Had I known they’re dessert was so good , I wouldn’t of waited two hours for a table, I would’ve just order dessert to-go and ate it on my way to Bourbon Street.

The Ruby Slipper Café
200 Magazine Street. New Orleans, LA 70130 

Bananas Fosters French Toast at The Ruby Slipper.
Bananas Fosters French Toast at The Ruby Slipper.

This was a lucky find by my friends and I. Our hotel room was literally across the street and our bathroom window over looked the café. On Saturday morning, we heard a lot of commotion downstairs and had no idea why people were gathered downstairs below our window. On our way out, we noticed their menu posted out front (great marketing idea). I laid my eyes on the Bananas Fosters French Toast and my stomach never looked back. The wait for a table was only 30 minutes despite the large crowd already gathered outside. The waiting list moved quickly, they called names off the least at least every five minutes. I had coffee and the Bananas Fosters French Toast (pictured right) all for $11.00. One small side note, I liked how they asked everyone to wait outside as to not crowd the entrance of the café. I appreciate not having eyeballs staring me down for my table. Plus, it was a nice day outside, so I didn’t mind the fresh air.

Royal House Oyster Bar
441 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

I’m not a huge fan of oysters, but you don’t have to be to have a great meal at this place (despite the name). Due to our previous experience at Irene’s, my friends and I arrived at 6:30ish. Despite the crowd out front, there was no wait at the door. Check. They also served Blue Moon (fellow Texans will understand). Check. We had the Garlic Butter Crab Claws as an appetizer. It certainly shut up this seafood critic. Dinner and dessert was amazing check check check. A major plus for this restaurant was that they let you carry your own drinks inside the restaurant. A woman even walked in with her hurricane. On top of a great meal, we had exceptional service from our server and the management staff. The Manager-On-Duty even stopped by the table to see how we were doing. I would definitely recommend this place to a friend.

Bourbon Street
Do go to Bourbon Street, but don’t go out past 2am on a Saturday, according to a friendly gift store clerk. Bourbon Street is the 6th Street of New Orleans. Ever visit to New Orleans must include a trip to Bourbon Street. We went to Pat O Brien’s, Gold Mine, a decent after-hours place for hip-hop music and dancing. There was a cover charge of $5 at Gold Mine.Which isn’t too bad from my past experiences. I did wish I visited Saints and Sinners owned by the one and only Channing Tatum. The website made it look upscale and fancy. However, when I walked by it, it looked like your common 6th Street bar in Austin. There were couches outside featuring two half-naked girls dancing around them. I would’ve liked to see the inside though. Next time.

Frenchman Street
This is the part of town where the locals go to get away from the tourist ravaging Bourbon Street. The vibe on Frenchman Street was very different from Bourbon. I could tell there were a few business professionals unwinding there after a long work week. Frenchman is a great if you’re looking for a live jazz band. We initially wanted to go to Blue Nile, but they were charging a $10 cover. Luckily, there was a place next door that did not charge a cover. I enjoyed it there. People watching here was amazing! Even if you hate jazz, it’ll be worth the music to do some people watching, hours of amusement there.

View of the Mississippi River during lunch.
View of the Mississippi River during lunch.

Manny Randazzo King Cakes
3515 N Hullen St, Metairie, LA 70002

This is the place to go if you want the best king cake in the state of New Orleans. Everyone else is merely an imitation, seriously. When we arrived at around 11am, the line was already out the door. So if you want a Pecan Praline filled King Cake (like I did) you need to be there at 8am when they open (not kidding). They were already out of Pecan Praline when we arrived so I go the apple filled king cake and I was not disappointed. Manny Randazzo is located outside of New Orleans in Metairie. It was about a 15 minute drive from our hotel in downtown New Orleans. Worth the drive and worth the small wait.

Café Du Monde
800 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70116

Go. Trust me. Just go. Coffee and Beignets. Plus, our waiter gave us the hats. Love them to death.

Thank you, New Orleans. You were a gracious host.

Small Schools Don’t Lack Ideas

TSU LogoSmall schools don’t lack ideas, they lack personnel.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to shadow the marketing department at Texas Southern University. By my second meeting with the staff, I could tell that every salaried staff member was doing the work of at least three full-time employees. Working 60 hours a week, easily.

An employee taking on more work is nothing new. It happens so often that it’s become a commonly used practice. In the past, I always assumed that a lack of marketing efforts was due to a lack of interest or a lack of creativity. I was dead wrong, at least in this instance. I realized that the lack of marketing efforts by the TSU marketing department wasn’t because everyone in the department or school for that matter was creatively bankrupt; it was because they lacked the personnel to carry out the ideas.

According to their website, Texas Southern University has a marketing department solely comprised of one person. Just across the street, The University of Houston employees five. A bit further down Interstate-10, The University of Texas has nine marketing staff members.

Of course, these numbers are purely based on the number of people the department has actually bothered to list on their website. So of course, there could be a few interns and part-time staff  running around the halls of each athletics department.

These numbers may mean nothing to most, but imagine if the responsibility of an entire department rest squarely on your shoulders. Now, imagine if you had four or eight extra pair of hands and eyes to get through your daily tasks and weekly stuggles. Your stress level would certainly decrease and so might your hours.

So how do we fix this problem?

It starts with recruitment. Your marketing efforts are only as good as the people executing them. A well laid out marketing plan can always be ruined by half-assed execution.

The sports management program at TSU is a good place to start. Sports management majors obviously have an interest in working within the sports industry. The good ones will always find a way to shine. True me on this. When it comes to graphics and audio visual things, reach out to graphic design majors and  Radio-Television-Film (RTF) majors who can help create some stellar content. Spark interest by holding a contest to create an intro video for the basketball teams. Make it last the whole semester and reveal a “winner” at the opening home game next season. It can be done, I promise you.

TSU Next game

At the end of the day, recruitment is going to have to start with the students on your campus. With limited funds, it’s basically all you have to work with. Nonetheless, the students will feel good about their involvement and the school may even get some major PR points. You may not have a budget to pay for more staff, but it’s about how you use the resources and people at your disposal.

You don’t have to be a millionaire to have a great marketing idea.

-Rookie Specialist

P.S. If you’re in the Houston area, stop by HPE arena to watch the women’s and men’s basketball teams take on the Grambling State Tigers. Tip-off set for 5:30pm. 

Sports Summit: A New Approach to Networking in Sports

Let’s take a short trip down memory lane. Think back to the last conference or job fair you attended. Don’t just think about the people you met. Think about what you wore, the lines you stood in and the food you ate.

job fair cartoonIf you’re anything like me, chances are you just thought about how uncomfortable your outfit was, the time you waited in a long line to spend five hurried minutes speaking with a sports professional and the considerable lack of food for the 100+ attendees.

Chances are, this is what every conference or job fair you’ve ever attended was like. As aspiring sports business professionals, we’ve grown accustomed to overcrowded job fairs and speed-dating style interviews. We’ve all done the mad dash to the booth of the most prominent team after the welcome address to get first impression points. I’ve always wondered why 99.9% of sports business conferences and job fairs are held in university lectures halls and conference center ballrooms. My assumption, it’s the easiest, most efficient way to mix and mingle 100+ recent grads and undergraduates with current sports professionals.

Easy and efficient may be ideal for job fillers and conference speakers, but what about the job seekers and conference attendees? Now, think outside the box with me for a moment. Think outside of the crowded auditoriums, long lines and rushed meetings. What if there were a way for job fairs to be more relaxed? For conferences to be more about sharing ideas and networking than shaking hands and handing out business cards?

summit founders
Left-right: Summit’s Jeremy Schwartz, Jeff Rosenthal, Elliott Bisnow and Brett Leve

A little over a year ago, I was introduced to Summit Series, a now 7-year old startup company founded by five young entrepreneurs. Elliot Bisnow, Brett Leve, Jeff Rosenthal, Jeremy Schwartz and Ryan Begelman began gaining notoriety for hosting annual, weekend-long conferences in exotic locations. In 2011, Summit took over a cruise ship headed for the Bahamas and in 2012 invaded Squaw Valley, California. The 2010 Summit Series featured an appearance by former President, Bill Clinton and the Summit at Sea weekend featured nightly performances by The Roots.

When I first heard of the series in the October 2013 issue of Wired Magazine, Summit had just purchased Powder Mountain to serve as its company’s headquarters. Like most conferences, Summit’s events take place over an entire weekend to give those hoping to network ample time to mingle. The key difference that separates Summit Series from every other conference, attendees are looking for more than just jobs, they are looking to create a culture of innovation and to share ideas.

I’m not naive, I realize that you need more than an idea to make a living. Ideas don’t pay the rent or buy food. People need jobs, I know. Just keep thinking outside the box with me for a moment longer.What if something like Summit Series were to pop-up for sports business professionals? Granted, it would certainly cost more than the standard $30 student rate, but then again, none of those conferences or job fairs included an appearance by Bill Clinton or nightly performances by The Roots.

Standing in long lines and following around conference speakers with your resume and business card in hand is not fun. I always doubted that I stood out from the other 20 people in line behind me. Yes, I have attended a job fair with the hopes of landing a job shortly thereafter. However, I’ve recently caught myself looking for conferences and happy hours just to interact with like-minded individuals. However, the million dollar question here is, do other people do the same? Would current sports business professionals be interested in attending a sports summit? Would YOU be interested in attending a sports summit?

At this point, I merely would like to create a discussion on the topic. A discussion on the possibility of creating a new approach to the way we do conferences , job fairs and networking.If you’d like to continue this discussion or tell me how completely ridicules I’m being, feel free to email me at rookierundown@gmail.com. 

-Rookie Specialist

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