For the first time in its eight-decade history, The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will be paying tribute to the scouts who discovered many HOF members.
The Hall is unveiling a 'Diamond Mines' exhibit on May 4th that will include initial scouting reports on everyone from Tom Seaver ("…boy has plenty of desire to pitch and wants to beat you.") to Mickey Mantle ("…great hitter. Fair fielder who is not now a good shortstop.").
A few decades back, Boston Red Sox scout Joe Stephenson came up with the term 4-H club to describe his craft. He said, "We:
– Hope we find a prospect.
– Hope we pick him in the draft.
– Hope we sign him to a contract.
– Hope he can play."
That got me thinking that we PR scouts (and, I'd include the likes of Bill Heyman and Dennis Spring to a list that includes my fellow agency owners, senior executives at holding companies and their pit bull, in-house recruiters) also have a 4-H club.
I'd say the 4-H club of PR hopes for the following traits in the employees we hire. We:
– Hope they are news junkies
– Hope they come to the plate with the ability to write, pitch media and manage accounts
– Hope they check their egos at the door, possess a self-deprecating sense of humor and are team-focused from Opening Day forward
– Hope they have a passion for lifelong learning and aspire to be part of what's next in our profession.
Baseball's 4-H Club has had far more failures than successes (and, most seem to have been failed Mets players, BTW).
I'd say PR's 4-H club has had the same limited success. One need only read the PR trades to watch the relentlessly revolving door at large agencies (“Fleishman's Smith joins Porter as head of Global Healthcare while H&K's Jones leaves to fill vacant F-H slot”).
Peppercomm scouts have made lots of hiring mistakes over the years as well (including one infamous junior account executive who disappeared after her first morning of work).
In objectively assessing our current starting line-up, however, I'd argue that we've succeeded in hiring the highest concentration of true superstars in our firm's history.
The key though, as it is with the Kansas City Royals or Minnesota Twins, is to keep our superstars where they are, and not allow the deep-pocketed Webers and Edelmans (the Yankees and Red Sox of PR) to lure away our talent with their tempting, if oh-so-untrue and tired line, “Hey kid, isn't it time you played for a major league team?”
So, do you agree with my list of 4-H's for PR? If not, what H would you add or delete? Note: You only get one at-bat.