College football fans forget the Miami Hurricanes program was nearly dropped. No, not because of the cheating and lying and the 1995 SI cover.
Long before that.
The program was to be dropped because the team stunk.
The Hurricanes were perennially stinky.
For a decade.
From 1969 to 1978, the Hurricanes finished the season above .500 only twice – both times sneaking in winning records of 6-5.
Then Howard Schnellenberger came to town, mustache and pipe in tow.
He announced the Hurricanes would win a national championship… within 5 years.
And he did just that.
The “how” behind Howard Schnellenberger provides a roadmap for firms in the construction industry looking to win big over the next 5 years.
To win a national championship in football, you need to identify and recruit talented players. The identification process was the easy part. Miami coaches knew about the immense talent in South Florida.
Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties were chock full of talent.
Problem was the Miami coaches couldn’t recruit them.
The campus of Coral Gables was lily white.
The talent was generally black.
And to put it mildly, there was some racial tension.
OK… there were race riots.
Schnellenberger didn’t care.
He was an excellent recruiter.
These were excellent athletes.
It was natural to work together to make things better.
In the “state of South Florida,” Schnellenberger saw undervalued human potential.
The talent was right here – in his own backyard.
So he went after it.
He hired some bodyguards, combed the ‘stache, packed the pipe and strutted into some of the worst neighborhoods Florida had to offer.
A way out.
A future far better than their parents.
Schnellenberger adjusted his style for his audience.
Schnellenberger communicated his vision.
Schnellenberger overcame the language barrier.
Schnellenberger recognized the cultural differences, but saw only upside.
Then Schnellenberger got to work.
So Schnellenbergerize yourself.
You have a similar opportunity staring you in the face.
The Hispanic workforce.
The Hispanic workforce is the undervalued talent in your own backyard.
They are overlooked and generally ignored.
No one disputes their talent.
They work some of the most demanding & dangerous jobs, arriving early and leaving late.
Your jobsite may not be a pre-Schnellenberger loser, but if you’re not bringing the Hispanic talent into the fold, you’re only leading 50% of the site.
Do the math.
If you can expand your circle of influence to include just a small percentage of the Hispanic workforce, it can make a huge difference.
You’ll have to adjust your style and communicate mejor.
There will be language barriers and cultural differences.
But you can do it.
It won’t take 5 years.
More like 6 months to a year.
Bradley Hartmann is founder and El Presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a training and consulting firm bridging the English-Spanish language gap in the construction industry.
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Categories: Jobsite Leadership