First Business

July 27, 2010

When the (All) Stars Align

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Whoever has the best team wins. Whether its basketball or business, it’s always the time to be looking to improve your team. If you’re in the service business, you are in the people business, and now might be the best time to add an all star or two to your lineup.


Yes, the economy is still in rough shape, and it can be scary to spend money. But where there’s change, there’s opportunity. Look at your industry. Has there been consolidation and/or downsizing? Have people experienced changes to their compensation, benefits, or job responsibilities? Is morale down at your competitors? There is a chance one of their star players would listen to your story, even if they never would before. You might be able to attract talent, right now, that you haven’t had the chance to attract in years and may not get the chance to attract again for a long time.



We recently went through this ourselves. There was a banker we had been trying to attract for over a decade. We were convinced this person was a great fit for our company, we just couldn’t motivate them to make a change. Then chaos hit the banking sector and we decided to engage with this candidate again. After many discussions, we’re pleased to say we now have this employee on board. This person has been a great addition to our team, they’re delighted to be working with us, and they’ve performed quite well. If the economy hadn’t caused the business environment to change, I’m certain we wouldn’t have added this "A" player to our team.
 

The other side of this coin is to make sure you’re also doing everything you can to retain your critical employees. This is tough to do when budgets are tight and everyone is being asked to work harder than ever (maybe for the same/less money). So how would the hiring of a new star sit with your existing stars? If they are team players and really want the company to succeed, they want stronger players on their team. Why? Because winners like to win. Just ask LaBron, D. Wade, and Chris Bosh.
 

The bad news is, in order to attract new star talent, you’ll need to spend money. I fully understand the hesitation, particularly in these times. But realize those that have the vision and ability to make that key acquisition and enhance the company’s talent pool, will be the ones best positioned to excel as the economy rebounds (and grind it out while things are still tough). It might take courage and an optimistic view of the future, but this is an opportunity you might not get again. If you do everything you can to add top players, your company will benefit not only now, but for many years to come.


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