It’s rare that people start out as stars, most of the time there are layers and layers of learning and mistakes and growing and starting over. If you are only looking for the superstars, I can promise you will be overlooking someone who has the desire and potential to be a star player on your team. Take a look at any sports team, and the starters are always a smaller group, the other players are on the bench or in the bullpen. They may be earlier along on their journey, but they are adding value nonetheless. If you have been taking care of your people and your culture you will most likely have superstars that are playing full out for you, but don’t forget about the supporting cast. Look at the bench as the apprentices, some easy to recognize early on for their positive potential. Many, however, are laboring in relative obscurity, day to day just under the radar.
If you are on a team take a look at yourself and see if you are a starter or on the bench. If you are on the bench, your job is to support the starters and prepare yourself for becoming a star. You can do this by doing whatever you can to learn and grow, and to develop a mindset of serving and trainability. This means that you don’t think you know it all, and are able to follow the direction of the leadership while also showing your additional value, by going above and beyond, and by being part of the solutions instead of part of the problems.
If you are a leader, your job is to know that there is always a revolving door in any organization, and to make sure you are building your bench by ensuring you are coaching and training the bench and bringing in higher caliber people than those that leave. Everyone has value, but if you are losing people that operate at level 8 and bringing on level 4, you have a problem. If you are only focusing on the starters, as the door revolves and you inevitably lose someone from your team, you will find yourself scrambling to find a replacement. Our goal as leaders is to always be building and strengthening the team from the bench up to your inner circle (the top performers who you’d really be bummed to lose).
In our organization we can proudly say that there is no limit to the growth of our people. We have a culture of building and growing our team as individuals, and the more we nurture that culture by rewarding the progress they make, the more people we are attracting onto the team who share the desire to grow and contribute. We have managers who started with us at entry level, with no prior experience, who are top performers and are learning to train and develop their own supporting players. It is a process, and takes time, energy and consistency to help people to grow, but the rewards are compounding and gigantic when you see the trainee becoming the trainer.