What do you get for $10m?

Well if you are talking about Australia’s indigenous football code, AFL, the answer is Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin.  But why pay so much for one person when you’ve already got a really good team?

Because great people make good teams even better.

I point you to the impact Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin has made on the Sydney Swans, following his departure from the Hawthorn Hawks, where he played in two premiership winning sides.AFL 2014 Rd 13 - Sydney v Port Adelaide  Now the Swans were certainly a very good side before Franklin signed his $10 million, nine year contract. Only the previous year they recruited a top flight marquee big forward in Kurt Tippett.  Like the dominant twin tower forward lines of the Wayne Carey/Corey McKernan era at North Melbourne, or the Jonathan Brown/Alastair Lynch partnership at the Brisbane Lions, the Swans, under CEO Andrew Ireland, made the strategic decision to recruit Buddy.  The end goal… a premiership, or more likely multiple premierships.

North Melbourne won the competition in 96 and 99 and Brisbane won three in a row in 01 (with Andrew Ireland as CEO), 02 and 03 with the combinations I just mentioned.  The Swans recruited Buddy to win premierships.

Can one person make much difference?

Well after the first few rounds of this season, it seemed the Swans paid way over-price as Buddy was far from his ‘mighty fighting Hawks’ best.  However his form in the middle to later part of the season has been magnificent.  Two weeks ago he played his 200th AFL game and dominated by kicking nine goals in a best-on-ground performance, equalling the second best goal haul of his career.  This performance moved him back into the top 10 on the player ratings for this year.  And then again this weekend he kicked a further six goals, all but assuring his third Coleman Medal for most goals in the competition.

Out of 21 rounds, he has top scored the player rankings across the entire competition seven times.  So it is no surprise the Sydney Swans are currently sitting on top of the ladder with two games of the season remaining.

But what is the impact on team culture?

Team-mate Lewis Roberts-Thomson recently summed this up.  “He has been fantastic, honestly. You can’t get a better team man than Bud. The way he plays footy speaks for itself, but in the things he does off the field, he gets around the young guys, he works hard on opposition analysis and he is a really loyal character to have around the footy club.”

Time will tell whether Franklin will experience holding up the premiership trophy with his fellow “Bloods” at the Swans but signs are certainly very good. Even if they don’t I’m sure Swans membership, merchandise and crowd figures will certainly deem this recruit as a success, despite the $10 million outlay.

Do you have a ‘Buddy’?

Our company, Optimum Consulting, has in my opinion hired our own ‘Buddy’ in the recent past and we are now starting to see the results.  The impact this individual has made both in terms of output and culture are fantastic.  As we move forward, I’ve no doubt this recruit will prove to be a master-stroke.

Have you hired a game changer in your company? I’d love to hear about it.

Ben Walsh – General Manager – Recruitment

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