A recruiting site that I monitor published a good article today by John Sullivan that lists 8 talent management lessons businesses could learn from the World Series:

  1. Identify critical success factors and prioritize around them
  2. Continuous talent swapping is needed
  3. Contingent labor and role players add agility
  4. Performance triumphs age, tenure, experience and education
  5. Global talent is necessary for winning
  6. Castoffs can be major contributors
  7. Superstars are important, but so are role players
  8. Build a performance culture

John is based around San Francisco and gave really good examples for all of these points from the Giants’ perspective.  Since I have lived in DFW nearly all my life and have followed the Rangers since they first came to Arlington, I can tell you they are all true from the Rangers perspective also.

What surprised me most this year from both of these teams came from point number 2 above – Continuous talent swapping is needed.  One of the key players in the San Francisco rise to the top was rookie catcher Buster Posey.  His development early in the year allowed them to trade their veteran catcher Benji Molina to the Rangers – a move that turned out to help both teams make it to the World Series.

Look, I am in my fifties, and have seen many professionals let go (maybe unfairly) to bring in younger (and less expensive) talent.  This is a great example of it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  Sometimes the experience you have is just the right thing for another organization.  But you just have to be the one to go out and find that situation.

One other point that I would add to John’s list.  Neither team asked their players to be somebody they weren’t – they both tried to maximize the strengths of their players.  One of the times the Rangers got away from this principle, and tried to play Vlad Guerrero in right field, it didn’t turn out so well for them.