What can RightStar Learn from Stanford Football?

By Dick Stark

As a Stanford alumnus I follow Stanford sports very closely and for the last few years it has been great fun being a Stanford football fan. With the NFL annual combine a couple of weeks ago, Andrew Luck, Stanford’s top rated Quarterback, is again in the news as the probable number one NFL draft pick.  With Luck’s graduation and departure along with several other top draft picks from Stanford, I figured that the Cardinal would return to its old ways as a bottom dweller among the Pac-12. I mean when has Stanford ever been able to string together more than a handful of great seasons?

What Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports points out on CBSSports.com is that Stanford may be in for a much longer ride among the nation’s elite football programs.  Why?   Recruiting.  The Cardinal just completed its best recruiting year ever by beating out USC, Notre Dame, Alabama and other football powerhouses for several top candidates. Stanford is now viewed as a “cool” school among potential recruits, especially when other top schools have been struggling with their images as a result of past violations.  What specifically can RightStar learn from this?

Tough Standards. Although Stanford athletes don’t face the same entrance pressure as others applying to Stanford, they are looked at academically first.  The coaching staff won’t even review films of the recruits until they evaluate their academic transcripts.  Says Mike Sanford, the running back coach and recruiting coordinator, “We’re not just throwing offers out like their candy.” The joke on the other schools is that this is Revenge of the Nerds.

Intensity and Focus. Jim Harbaugh, Stanford’s coach credited with the turnaround arrived at Stanford in 2006 and departed four years later to become the San Francisco 49er’s Head Coach.  He transformed Stanford from 1-11in 2006 to 11-1 in 2010, the first 11 win season ever. By recruiting football players who are also great students, Stanford is getting dedicated student athletes with mental and physical toughness, both essential characteristics for football success.

Several years ago RightStar tried recruiting at the college level, but found that despite more lucrative offers from RightStar, the better prospects opted to sign on with the bigger named household known consulting firms and integrators.

RightStar must hire proven performers, invest in their success, measure, and appropriately react to performance. We should and can become known as a company that requires tough standards of performance.  We certainly want our systems consultants to be certified in their particular focus area and we need everyone to continually refresh these certifications or obtain new ones.  And since RightStar is so focused in the service management space, and since there is so much constant change, annual certifications should be required.  The end result–improved productivity and better projects.  Tougher standards will “raise the bar” for everyone, and make it easier to attract top performers. In our push to be the best BMC solution provider in the world, improved recruiting is a critical success factor.

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About dick1stark

I am the President, CEO, and founder of RightStar Systems, a leading IT consultancy and BMC Software Solution Provider and Atlassian Expert Partner. My passion is customer success—whether it’s reducing the cost of service management, improving overall efficiency, or increasing end-user or employee satisfaction. Since founding RightStar in 2003, RightStar has made the INC 5000 list four times. In 2011, RightStar was awarded the prestigious National Capital Business Ethics Award (NCBEA) by the Society of Financial Service Professionals based upon RightStar’s foundation of honesty, ethics, and integrity. And in 2014, RightStar was selected by Forrester Research as one of 13 North American companies profiled in its ITSM Consultancy Wave Report. Finally, in 2016, BMC selected RightStar as its 2015 Supplier of the Year for its consulting partnership and excellence in service delivery. Dick is a graduate of Stanford University and a Project Management Professional (PMP).
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