Find the Stars

Chaper 3 Pg’s 79-80 Lead With Love By: Gerry Czarnecki


The simple truth about staffing is that if you staff with mediocrity, you will get average performance. If you staff with stars, you will soar, and peak performance will follow. There is no substitute for stars. Organizations with winning performance records have a disproportionate number of stars on the staff. You can too, but it takes discipline and a commitment to never accept average performance when choosing sta. If you want to be a winner, you need to focus on hiring winners. Loyalty to average performers may be honorable, but it is unlikely to create a winning organization. You must love your quality associates enough to make certain that the people who weaken the performance of the team are moved out. We need to love each staff member but not to the exclusion or the detriment of peak performance. You must love your team enough to assign only the best.

 Unfortunately, we all have a tendency to get comfortable with average performance. When somebody is meeting expectations, we normally are pleased, yet we should always be striving to improve the existing level of performance. Good enough is not good enough. General Electric did not get to be the winner it is by accepting average performance. Toyota did not get to be the quality leader in automobile manufacturing by accepting good-enough cars. Your company or your section cannot excel if its goal is to be average, and when you accept average performance, you communicate to your staff that average is the goal.

 Every staff has a person who represents the best performance and another person who represents the worst performance in the group. Even if you think a group overall is above average in performance, somebody is always lagging. The two lessons here are, first, keep the best performer, and second, either help the worst get much better or help the worst leave. Is that cruel? No, it just means setting the bar where stars can make the grade and the average either strive for improvement or drop out. Group performance will attempt to rise to the level of expectations, but if the persons assigned are not of the highest quality, then that journey can be long, painful, and frustrating.Pick the best—leaders model true leadership—and the staff will grow better and better over time.

 Obviously, the higher the level of stars you have, the harder it will be to hold on to the talent. That, however, does not mean you will always lose the best. Something about stars causes them to want to be around the best. Even if they have a chance to go to a higher-paying position with a fancier title at another company that has less talented leadership and associates, most stars will opt—assuming you are really leading—to stay with stars like themselves rather than work in an environment that is short on energy and high on mediocrity. Build a team of stars and you will have more fun, they will have more fun, and the organization will outperform its competition. That is what stars are all about—winning. If you lead a professional staff, then the star is even more important because so much depends on his or her ability as a superior individual performer in a technical specialty. In their book Aligning the Stars, Jay Lorsch and Tom Tierney discuss how important the star is to the professional services firm: “Outstanding  firms are consistently able to identify, attract, and retain star performers; to keep stars committed to their firm’s strategy; to manage stars across geographic distance, business lines, and generations; to govern and lead so that both the organization and its stars prosper and feel rewarded. These capabilities are what give great firms their competitive advantage.”



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