I like to think of Corporate America like it’s professional sports. Marketing, Sales, Operations, Finance, and IT superstars are no different than professional athletes with year round free agency. Some demand a high salary, some are lunch pale hard workers who roll up their sleeves, some are loud and brash and can make or break any company depending on their mood.
Like Terrel Owens.
T.O. is one of the best receivers ever in the history of the NFL, but his constant demand for the spotlight and bad attitude when he’s losing was like a cancer to prior teams. He moves to another team that allows him to be himself and enables him to work the way he wants, and next thing you know he’s the role model in the locker room and he’s doing everything he can to help his team win. He’s a player that needs an organization to bend a little to make room for his ego, and rewards that organization if they do.
On the other hand you have an organization with strong and strict leadership that does not bend; the New England Patriots. They would NEVER hire T.O. because HE won’t bend to their will. But their system can make known malcontents (Randy Moss, Cory Dillon) successful and happy players who conform and become part of the team. And they win. Big time.
Corporate America is no different. Some organizations have such strong leadership, and such great vision, that employees work twice as hard to keep up the winning tradition. The scary thing is however, that some employees are so good at what they do that they can single handedly change a corporation and it’s future. And sometimes, there are employees who are cancer. It’s scary when you have a sueprstar like Terrel Owens who can propel your team to the highest highs, or crumble the foundation of the organization.
The question is how to handle something like that? Do you pamper him like Dallas (seems to be working, right?) or do you fire him and look for people who can conform? And think, do you want to face that guy on the field if you do let him go?
There’s some thinkbait for you execs and CEOs who have stars in your corporation. Is your team strong enough to do without your star? Can you afford to pamper your execs who deliver on a consistent basis? Is it even worth it? Do the rules change when somebody is that important? Is ANYBODY that important?