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The Success of the Spurs and Your Hiring Process

July 9, 2013

Many teams in the NBA look to the San Antonio Spurs as the model of success.  They have recorded the best winning percentage of any team in the four major sports over the last 16 years and they made it to their fifth NBA Finals this year!  During those 16 years the Spurs organization has twice been named the best franchise in professional sports and been ranked the top NBA franchise six times in the annual ESPN The Magazine Ultimate Standing Survey.

I think there are a few things about the way the Spurs conduct their business that we can apply to a hiring process.basketball 92188284

The Spurs CEO and Chairman, Peter Holt, GM, RC Buford and Head Coach, Gregg Popovic, both  understand the culture they want to foster.  Then they recruit players who fit that culture; players who believe in team first, who are coachable and whose potential talent, once developed, will fit their system.  

Similarly, when thinking about a hiring process it’s important to understand the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for success in the targeted position.  Then, of those skills and abilities it’s important to understand which ones can be developed on the job and which ones cannot. 

The San Antonio Spurs not only have a successful method for finding talent, but they also work diligently to formulate an on-the-court winning system.  A few years ago, they successfully changed their offensive identity from an inside-out style which relied heavily on Tim Duncan to a more up-tempo offense which now relies on Tony Parker.  But the Spurs coaching staff know that to be successful in the NBA you must play defense and they have worked hard to keep a tough-nose defensive identity. 

In the same fashion, it’s important to understand which hiring methods predict future performance best.  For example, how do interviews, resume reviews, online assessments and other hiring methods stack up against one another and have you invested accordingly? 

Lastly, everyone in the Spurs organization buys into their system.  Rarely have they recruited players whose personalities don’t fit their system.  It’s also rare to see the Spurs abandon their game plan no matter if they are up by 20 points or down by 20 points.

I know the pressures of meeting a hiring goal and how easy it is to forget the hiring standard if you don’t recruit often, but it is critical to apply the hiring process consistently to ensure the highest level of effectiveness and, more importantly, to ensure legal defensibility. 

As a Spurs fan I wish they would always win, but no system is perfect and sometimes they face Lebron James in the NBA finals.  But Coach Pop believes the idea that perfection is not a destination; it’s a process and once a proven system has been implemented it’s a matter of making incremental improvements – which is how you should look at your hiring process.

To learn more, watch my video below: 


Eli Castruita Eli Castruita