Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Superstar mentality

"He's a superstar at the office." "She's unbelievable." "He's the most creative person around." "We have the best team anywhere."
We hear superlatives all day long and we let them go without testing them:
Is he really a superstar or is he good, with a lot of room to improve?

Is she unbelievable or is she really above average?

Is he the most creative person or is he really strong in one particular area?

Do we have the best team in the world or are we comparing ourselves to ourselves?

One problem with superlatives is that we believe them. That doesn't help the performers who have the potential to be truly great--if anything it demotivates them.

Another problem with superlatives is that often they are not about the person or team being "superlatived," they are about the person handing out the superlative--it makes them look good, nice, etc.

We need to test and challenge our superlatives if we're going grow any true "superstars."

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond


  1. What always got my goat were those people who were either poor employees, or who waited until the last minute, then stayed up all night one night at the end of the project doing their work. Then they were paraded around like they were some sort of war hero, sacrificing themselves for the good of the company. Always ticked me off.

    If you have a project or a company that's full of "sacrificing heroes" you need to take a hard look to make sure its real heroism, or whether its just people catching up from poor performance.