Rock Stars or Roadies? Eagles or Turkeys?

June 1st, 2020 by Shaun McNerney Leave a reply »

What type of person do you tend to hire? Rock Stars or Roadies? Eagles or Turkeys?

My favorite strategy is to hire roadies that want to become rock stars … hire turkeys that want to be eagles.

Rock Stars and Eagles
I know several C-level executives that tend to hire only “rock stars.” They want to hire someone like Glenn Frey or Don Henley (both rock stars and members of The Eagles) for their team. They truly believe that is the only way to build a successful business. Their thinking goes something like this … hire a rock star, company gets noticed, company is successful.

Here are some issues to consider when hiring rock stars:

  • Time – The company will succeed (or fail) faster
  • Money – Rock stars cost, budget accordingly
  • Employees – Rock stars tend to disengage others on the team, prepare for turnover
  • Customers – Attracted initially by star power, value needed to retain

Roadies and Turkeys
There is hidden value in some roadies and turkeys. Not all. Some. It is a wonderful thing when you find a roadie with potential rock star potential. Of course, as their manager you have to work to help them realize their potential. So that brings up the question, do executives hire rock stars because they are lazy? Not willing to help cultivate turkeys into eagles?

Value vs. Personality
It all boils down to this … more successful companies are built on value rather than on personality. Entertain the customers and you are only as good as your last party. Cultivate the value and your customers remain loyal.

I’ve seen it so many times. After few months, the rock star is asked to leave. The company has nothing to show but a burst of cash burn.

Should you hire rock eagles or turkeys? I’ve met several executives who will only hire rock stars and some who will only hire turkeys.

Hire the best fit, hungry, willing to learn, adapt, and fit in.

Checklist for new hires

  1. Qualified
  2. More entry level than expert
  3. Cultural fit (personality fits the company’s culture)
  4. High integrity
  5. Understands company direction


Shaun McNerney


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