Member Raj Raman Speaks: How to Find Superstar Employees in Your Backyard.

The Challenge:

The case at hand was brought by the SVP of a company that was gearing up to meet ambitious performance targets. The executive’s hope was to find a few superstar employees and use their talent to drive success.

If you were in this situation, what would you do?

If I were in your shoes, I would turn my focus inward and connect with existing employees to better understand their unique strengths. I would then contemplate how to map their talents to the broader goals of the organization.

Life would be so much easier if superstar employees were easy to find, right? But, as you know, finding and affording top talent is a competitive and difficult undertaking. If I were in this situation, I might consider another path to success, and tap into my existing team to be the fuel in my rocket to the stars. I would dive deeper with my employees, and ask myself if I was truly leveraging their unique traits and strengths, as opposed to measuring them only in relation to the competencies the organization has charted out. Teasing out my employees’ super strengths is not an overnight process; I would put real time on the calendar to probe and understand what makes them tick, and what excites them to use their full potential. The conversations are sure to be fascinating and absolutely helpful in building team spirit.

This shift in thinking, for me, happened when I changed focus from superstar employees to superstar outcomes. Several times in my own career, I was approached by a manager who earnestly explored what talents I felt were my strongest. Sometimes, they even pointed out talents of mine I had not yet realized. That is what differentiates a manager from a leader: they can spot what someone is really good at and nurture it. In my opinion, this is how world-class companies are built.

For more insights on turning your company’s employees into stars, check out this recent Venturebeat post.