Anamcgary's Blog

Leadership thoughts from PeopleFirst HR

The talent you bet the house on is not worth the money!

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Late last year one of my clients was recruiting for a senior level marketing manager.  They decided to use a recruiting firm with a
hefty price tag I might add.  It was down to three candidates and they selected what appeared to be a “superstar”.   The candidate promised to deliver, the company paid high dollar and expected a big return on its investment.

However, from the start it didn’t seem that this individual was doing what they committed to do.  No new ideas, no new customers, and the company did a better job of creating marketing campaigns on their own.  They couldn’t understand how all the references, background checks and conversations indicated this person was going to be a real superstar for them and yet it wasn’t working out that way.

This is where I came in.  They explained the circumstances leading up to the employment offer and the lack of performance since the start date.  After some research, I determined that although their new hire had been a superstar in the past it had been under very specific circumstances and this company’s requirements were a little more demanding.  My recommendation, make a change now before too much time passes.  They may also want to look at any guarantees the recruiting agency offered.

So, what can you do when your own star performer suddenly loses his/her luster?

Ask yourself these three questions:

What is the upside to keeping him on board? Talented performers are the spice of every organization. It is not merely that they are good at their jobs. They deliver exponentially, that is, they deliver in multiples – ideas, productivity and results. And often they do it with ease. But the upside lasts only as long as the star shines.

What is the downside to keeping him?
Just as stars perform well, when they fail, they often do so spectacularly.  Often their performance carries the team, so when star slips, the team does, too. Also, there is the issue of maintenance. The effort managers must expend coddling star talent can cause discord in a team or  organization. Less gifted, but still productive, employees resent the favoritism bestowed on the superstar.

Is this situation going to change? You need to evaluate the performer’s resiliency.   Successful leaders face hardships and emerge better for the experience. Many superstar performers have fragile egos; one setback – a failed project or a denied promotion – can set them back forever.
They may never recover. Such people are talented but they have not learned what it takes to succeed when the odds are stacked high.

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