One of the first questions that popped into my head when I read the story was:
“How do you even hire for that?”
Or, in cinematic parlance, “Have you ever seen Tim Robbins try to throw a fastball?”
Let me explain.
If you as a finance chief are looking for a controller, you go find someone who has extensive experience overseeing an organization’s day-to-day accounting function. If you need someone who can help plot the course for better, more dynamic forecasting, you hire an FP&A expert. If you’re worried about the risk of low cash reserves in 2024, you ask yourself if you need to upgrade your treasury position.
And if you’re filming a movie about minor league baseball that centers around a savvy veteran catcher’s relationship with a wild but talented young pitcher who throws 100 mph heat and is trying to breathe through his eyelids? Actor Tim Robbins may or may not be your man.
The point is, when you have a specific need, either in your finance team’s toolbox or maybe even within yourself, you must find the right tool for the job. And as we have seen as of late, as reported by Adam Zaki, talented employees understand their value, and they know what they want out of a job situation. That makes it all the more critical to be able to find the right fit between job needs and employee strengths.
But if you’re Jared Orton or Tim Naddy, how do you go about finding the right talent for what you need to grow your organization? Orton is the GM of the Savannah Bananas baseball team, minor league baseball’s answer to the Harlem Globetrotters. And Naddy is his vice president of finance. Not only do they need to be concerned about how to fill key executive roles to keep the team’s finances locked down amid travel dates, appearances, and lots and lots of baseballs, but they also have the on-field talent to worry about as well.
How do you find someone who is talented enough to stand on the mound and paint the corners with his slider while also confident enough to break out into a Napoleon Dynamite dance routine during stoppage in play?
“We were trying to figure out where we could compete in the marketplace and truly build fans ... We told our coaches and our players, ‘If we don’t have this [entertainment aspect], we’re just like everyone else,’” Orton said. “And if we’re just like everyone else, then we’re going to exist like everyone else, and especially in Savannah, we’ll fail like everyone else.’”
Success for the Bananas means not being like everyone else by finding legit ball players who don’t want to work like everyone else. That sounds like building a competitive advantage to me, and every leader thinks about this when economic headwinds build up.
How do you find the right person for the right role in your finance team? What combination of experience, savvy, humor, collegiality, and forward-thinking is the right mixture to propel your group forward? And can they turn a 1-6-3 double play?