I attended my alma mater’s alumni weekend festivities and attended a session where Jim Larranaga was talking about George Mason basketball. In the session, he mention how Dr. Alan Merten, the President of George Mason University, persuaded him to be the head coach of George Mason in 1997. Larranaga told another story of how Merten persuaded Vernon Smith, an economics professor at the University of Arizona at the time, and staff to go to Mason. As a result of those moves, Smith won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002 and Larranaga lead George Mason to a Final Four run in 2006.
Alan Merten’s actions has position George Mason as the number one up-and-coming university in the United States, which leads to what organization need to grow…ONIONS!
To paraphrase what Larranaga said about his boss, “When Merten became President, he had a vision of what George Mason should be and use his networking skills to get what he wanted to achieve that vision.” This should be what other executives mindset if they can get superstar talent.
(To get this out of they way, if your organization has numerous problems, don’t read the rest. Your organization likely has internal problems and there are too many problems to fill. Now, if your organization has a few problems, read the rest).
In your organization, if there is one piece of the puzzle that is missing and there is someone out there that the organizations wants, bring the kitchen sink. If there is one (or two) piece(s) missing, the employees and executives feel they are getting close and optimism arises within the organization, but it must start with a vision in place so you can tell your organization’s current situation and tell the person why they are important. Then, the organization tells what they’re doing great and what weaknesses they have and explain to the person why is he/she an important piece of their organization.
The best case scenario is if the superstar accepts the decision, jubilation ensues throughout the organization and anticipation comes and after a few months, the superstar meets expectations. The worst case scenario is with all the hoopla within the organization, the superstar fails to meet expectations and demoralize the organization.
Simply put, it is alright to take a chance at something that your organization needs. It will give a temporary boost within the organization. It the organization takes a chance and fails, that happens and you move on, but if you’re not taking risks, how can your organization improve long-term? All you need is a vision, specific goals, a great workplace culture, networking depth, and timing to force the issue. In Alan Merten’s case, the stars were aligning in his favor because he forced George Mason to be great.