How to Get Rock-Star Employees On Board in the New Normal

Real rock stars understand the need for the slow-growth plans. They are even pretty good at them.


Self-confident, exceptionally sharp people used to love joining start-ups.  These "rock stars" could carry a business, on the sheer impact of their skills and personality.  I depended upon them time and time again.

So, where are they now?  What happened to them?  And, most important to employers, can they adapt and participate in the "new normal" of slow growth? Some answers:

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1.  They are still out there.  They might be fewer in number but, for the right organization, they are there.  However, they still are not buying into the slow-growth mindset.  Thankfully.

2.  Consider your leadership style.  No one wants to work for a "sky-is-falling" sort of leader.  These times call for caution, analysis and little risk-taking.  I get that.  Still, rock stars need big ideas and bigger vision.  Your company needs to be undertaking the kind of projects that they will be proud to talk about with Mom and Dad.

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3.  Mom and Dad are not helping.  Parents watch the news too much.  So, when their budding rock stars come home to talk about the great new company and the founder who is wildly optimistic, parents are skilled at throwing a pail of cold water right on their fresh scrubbed faces.  Parents have always been like that. Mine were.  But I think they are even more so now.  They should realize that there is only security in one's own confidence and ability--that being large did not help Countrywide, et. al.

4.  Truth: Real rock stars understand the need for the slow-growth planning exercises.  They are even pretty good at them.

5.  But, if you have a rock star who is satisfied with this slow-growth concept, you do not really have a rock star.  You have an American Idol-type wanna-be.

Go get a rock star.  Or, even better, you be one.

G. L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. Currently, he is chairman of JobDig, which operates LinkUp, one of the fastest-growing job-search engines.. His blog can be found at


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