Deep in the middle of college football’s bowl season, a veteran coach is fired for cause. Mike Leach, known for his “unique” personality and unconventional football strategies, seems to have taken his “uniqueness” a bit too far. There is much yet to be resolved in this turmoil, both inside and outside of some courtrooms. However, buried here is a lesson for professionals at all levels.
“Uniqueness” has been touted as the way to get ahead in today’s job markets. Pundits tell us we must create a personal brand that is compelling and memorable so that our resumes can rise above the job hunting masses. While I agree, in principle, with this idea, clearly there are bounds by which we are all judged.
“Uniqueness” may get us noticed, but substance closes the deal and delivery of substance makes a new job stick. The media may turn Mike Leach into the latest poster child for alleged on-the-job behavioral defects, but do not be fooled to think he is alone. Attitudes and mindsets about ways we think we can contribute to a workplace have a tremendous bearing on the final outcomes.
There is an old adage among HR professionals that says “You are hired on skills, but fired on behavior.” Maybe we all need to revisit this idea.