July 8, 2010 - The day Cleveland Died

I don’t doubt the fact that many people were watching the hour long reality ESPN special featuring Lebron James and the interviewers of his choosing. I for one was tired and went to bed. So when I came across the Yahoo article breaking his decision, it was no surprise.The owner is upset. The team is not too happy but I’m sure understands, and the fans and city are having mini heart attacks.

2 sides to every story

Lebron James Leaves Cleveland

Of course Cleveland, the Cavs, and the people themselves are not happy. Would anyone be? When the star player, key to the survival of a franchise (at the current time) leaves the organization for potential greener pastures which happen to come with a much better chance of an NBA Championship not just next year but for years to come. Lebron, Wade and Bosh all have chances to collect a ring for each finger! Who would not jump at that chance.

I couldn’t help but think about this in the terms of work. Some may feel that there is not much of a parallel between the business of work and the that of some sports, I being on of them. However, I thought this is a rare and direct parallel to Talent Management. Everyone else will be weighing in, so here is my 5 pounds.

The stars are often what we build a team around, but is that what we should do?

While many individuals have great strengths, do you really want to make them the cornerstone of any team you build. The potential is great, especially if they are team builders that make those around them more productive. The pitfall is when you put so much effort, resources, etc. into that one person to hold the team together and keep it going… there’s always a chance you may lose them. It is poor succession planning if you only focus on the star player without building the rest of your potentials.

When the star flies to another galaxy

The star will realize they are great. Others outside the organization will know they are great and try to lure them away. This is also coupled with a fact that if your organization is on the verge of greatness but fails to deliver time and time again, how long do you have before you lose that “A” player to an organization that will help them reach that next level. You can’t blame Lebron James for doing what is right for him and his career, just like you can’t blame your best people for going somewhere that will give the rewards and successes that they seek.

How do you handle building teams in your organization? Do you focus on the stars or do you try to build all the potential players?

Feel free to Connect: ReThinkHR.org and @BenjaminMcCall

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