This past weekend concluded the National Football League’s draft of athletes. Basically a televised high profile job fair. Many of the individuals involved in the draft decisions are former football players themselves. Likewise, many frontline interpreters become managers later on in their career and are tasked with staffing their interpretive team. Here are a few things we can learn as managers from the NFL.
Big Name Schools: What you typically see in the draft are players from standout college programs. Notre Dame, USC, and Ohio State, are renowned programs that produce many NFL players. There are many known interpretive college programs out there that you can recruit from. The NAI website (www.interpnet.com) lists a number of colleges that offer interpretive coursework. You’ll typically see the top colleges represented and active at regional and national workshops that you can recruit from.
Scout: Often players are observed early on by coaches to see if they’d be a prospect for their team. Attending state, regional, and national conferences and meetings are a great way to network with others in our profession. These can be a great forum to ask yourself, “Would this person fit on my team.”
Development: Players and coaches are always trying improve on their performance individually and as a team unit. Throughout our career we need to continue to provide opportunities to develop our staff and prepare them for interpretive leadership roles in the future. We can do this through mentoring and coaching at your center, as well as, sending staff to trainings outside of your center. In the NFL you see the leadership “law of reproduction” often where successful assistant coaches are mentored up and become head coaches with other organizations based on prior successes and experiences.
Evaluate: Many coaches and players watch film to evaluate performance. A great tool for interpretive managers is getting your front line staff on camera and having them evaluate their own interpretive program. We tend to be great self-evaluators and our best critic.
Determine and Fill needs: In the NFL draft no team uses multiple picks on players with one skill set such as quarterbacks or kickers. It’s important to fill the needs of your organization with the right person. Look at your team and ask yourself if it is well rounded, and does it combine different skill sets to best relate to the different audiences out there.
The Combine: The NFL has a combine where players gather and showcase their skills in front of teams. The NAI certification program and conferences can be a similar gathering where skills and attitudes can be displayed over multiple days. I often hear my boss who is a trainer say, “So and so from _____, would be great for our team,” after a CIG training.
Trades: In football you see players moving from one organization to another organization often. The same is true in interpretation. As an interpretive manager you’ll soon develop circles with other hiring managers. This is a great forum to speak to the abilities of your staff and get them to the next level should opportunities arise. I’ve encouraged and seen interpreters go from our center to a colleague’s center, and vice versa based on the attitude, skills, and goals of that individual benefitting all parties.
At the end of the day as interpretive managers we want to find the right person, train them, practice, mentor, and help develop them into a hall of fame interpretive career!