How to Manage Star Employees

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You know what sucks a business out of its star existence?

  • The way they treat their superstars like little-tiny kids.
  • The way they handhold the @!$ out of them.
  • The way they drive out any motivation they had for anything through corporate "policies".

Star performers have the potential to transform your business with their creativity/ingenuity/insight.

Yet, unfortunately, everyday, their potential suffers because of bureaucracy/fear/mediocrity.

How to Steer Star Performers

The integral difference between star performers and yes-men is that star performers crave meaningful work.

They're intrinsically-motivated to do good work.

How do you steer them?

  1. Set big goal.
  2. "Go."

For instance:

  1. "Build this division into a $5MM business in 2 quarters."
  2. "Go."

That is, you don't give them any directions/tasks/yaddas to fulfill the mission.

You're only there to guide/tutor/equip/cheerlead them.

What Happens?

You get folks who:

  1. tap their creative juices to get things fulfilled
  2. keep your superstars happy and motivated
  3. get the "big pictures" completed without your presence

It's almost like you're cloning YOU; but, if you're doing it correctly, you're getting somebody who's much more capable of fulfilling the chosen mission.

How to Set Your Goals for Stars

  • First, ensure the star is (1) intrinsically-motivated, and (2) has the capabilities/experience/brainpower to fulfill the goal.
  • Second, choose a large business-oriented goal with a 60-70% chance of succeeding.
  • Third, set a time limit.

The stars (p.s. calling them "stars" will cause complacency; don't do it) will concentrate on nothing until either (a) they accomplish their goal, or (b) the time limit expires.

It's like you give him/her the gi-normous homework assignment, where they do nothing but eat/breath/sleep the assignment.


  • ex. a: "Build a $500,000 pipeline in 30 days."
  • ex. b: "Build the most-read blog in our industry in 6 months."
  • ex. c: "Increase our workforce efficiency by 50% in 5 months."
  • ex. d: "Increase customer walk-ins by 50% in 8 weeks."


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Posted on January 14

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