How do I keep my STARS aligned?

Ever get nervous that headhunters are wooing your star performers with opportunities to make it big somewhere else?   Even when they are out of line, do you handle your STARS with “kid gloves” because you don’t want to tick them off?   Are they holding you hostage, and everybody knows it?  And so everybody talks to THEM about their problems with you?

Leaders are not only believers, but leaders make believers of their team.  especially their stars.

Here in Columbus OH in the land of Buckeyes there is a leader at OSU who is BUILT TO LEAD and his name is Jim Tressel.   He was a risky hire because his prior success didn’t come from the big leagues.  It was at a little school called Youngstown State.  But his formula was the same.  It worked there for four I-AA national championships.   Non-believers will tell you he only has one at Ohio State even though they made it back into the title game the past two years (p.s.  none of those non-believers are from my alma mater U. of Michigan, whose headhunters gave up long ago on wooing Tressel from OSU).

So why would a sure-bet 1st round NFL draft choice like All-American STAR linebacker James Laurinaitis stick around for his senior year?   There was an article in the Saturday Columbus Dispatch where Tressel and Laurinaitis were interviewed on this very question.    Their answer may surprise you.  Surely it’s for pride?  Or for the seniors to finally win their own national championship that has eluded them?

“Tressel and Laurinaitis said that would be the wrong assumption.  ‘If there were 100 percent of the reason those guys came back, I have a hard time believing that much more than 3 or 4% is because they didn’t win a national championship yet,’ Tressel said.

     Laurinaitis agreed.

    ‘ I would say that was the LEAST influencing thing (about why I returned),’ he said.  ‘I think the main thing is to experience the LOVE of what is Ohio State.’

     Maybe Tressel has decided that this year, LOVE is all Ohio State needs.”

What is the magical ingredient for building and sustaining high performing individuals, teams and leaders?  It’s LOVE.   And who loves first?  The leader, and Jim Tressel knows it.  And so do his players, which is why they go through walls of Wolverines for him & each other every year.

In February, I got to meet & introduce James Laurinaitis & his father Joe “the Animal” along with Marcus Freeman when they came to speak at a Father/Son breakfast at our church.  As they told their story, they answered this same question the same way.  They really beleive in the love at Ohio State, and they were convinced that the Buckeyes, not Michigan or anybody else, is where the nation’s #1 STAR prospect Terrelle Pryor was going to sign.  They felt it was a no-brainer before anybody else did.  They had been texting back-and-forth on their cell phones with Terrelle for months.  They knew he’d already been wooed by the impact of his visits with the team and coach Tressel.  And they knew why.  It was the love at Ohio State that had first wooed them as future stars into alignment with the Buckeyes, and it’s what was going to align their new star, Terrelle.

So how will you keep your stars aligned with you & your team?  How will you keep the headhunters at bay?   It’s NOT by trying to “motivate” them or ”buy” them off.  More money and handling them with kid gloves isn’t the answer.  Neither is making lofty promises.  In fact, unlike the other schools recruiting Terrelle, coach Tressel told Terrelle he would NOT be his starter at quarterback!

The answer is by becoming BTL like Coach Tressel.   Leaders are believers.  They believe first, they trust first, and they love first.   And they LOVE everyone the same, even the stars.  And then the team leaders take it from there.  Which is what Coach Tressel trusts in to keep his stars aligned.

What would your stars say about their commitment?  What are you trusting in?

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