Rockstars vs. Superstars: Get the Right Bums in the Right Seats

We’ve learned a few things this past year:

  • No matter how well thought out your plans are, you can never account for everything life throws at you – who would have thought at the start of 2020 that the world would be turned upside-down by covid-craziness?
  • We’re more resilient than what we thought we were. Despite the craziness, we’ve survived – some even thrived – and we’re stronger than ever before.
  • It’s vital to have the right bums in the right seats in your business. With the right team, you can adjust and come up with new ideas quickly when things don’t go according to plan, while still maintaining quality.

But how do you choose the right bums?

 

Rockstars vs. Superstars

There are two types of employees you want on your team: Rockstars, and Superstars.

Your superstars are the ambitious, growth-seekers. They’re the ones that want to be in leadership positions, who will push the envelope, and come up with innovative ideas.

On the other hand, your rockstars want to pretty much stay where they are, but become better at it. They want to perfect their craft and be the best they could possibly be in their role. They love stability.

We often try to turn rockstars into superstars, but that’s a recipe for failure. How many times have you promoted someone just because they’re dependable and excellent at what they do, without considering whether the promotion is actually what they want?

In Radical Candor, author Kim Scott describes these two types of employees as follows:

“Rockstars are solid as a rock. Think the Rock of Gibraltar, not Bruce Springsteen. The rockstars love their work. They have found their groove. They don’t want the next job if it will take them away from their craft. Not all artists want to own a gallery; in fact, most don’t. If you honour and reward the rockstars, they’ll become the people you most rely on. If you promote them into roles they don’t want or aren’t suited for, however, you’ll lose them — or, even worse, wind up firing them.

Superstars, on the other hand, need to be challenged and given new opportunities to grow constantly.”

Putting the Right Bums in the Right Seats

Being the one or the other isn’t good or bad. It just is. We need to respect what others want out of their lives. Most importantly, we need both in our businesses and we need to learn how to use their strengths and ambitions to the betterment of the firm. You need the people who would go deep, who’d produce the same quality over and over again, and who you know you can count on. You also need the people who would lead and inspire and innovate.

So, when you do your planning for next year, do a deep dive into your team:

  1. Identify your rockstars and your superstars. And yes, they may not all be stars yet, but that brings us to the next point.
  2. Determine what you need to do to help each person to develop into their chosen stardom. Maybe you need to restructure your team, send people on training, or assign mentors to juniors.

Your team doesn’t always have to be full-time employees. For smaller or unique functions, consider hiring a contractor or professional to help. For instance, if you have a small business,  instead of hiring an expensive CFO, think about hiring us to fulfil that function for you. It’s always good to have someone from the outside to listen to your challenges and give you unbiased advice.