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Future Rock Stars Overnight sensations have been working on their break out performance long before they launch.

Why tomorrow’s leaders focus on preparation today.


FUTURE ROCK STARS “What do you want to be when you grow up?” A perennial question in childhood, it can elicit a multitude of possible answers. My response in later childhood was focused on one thing. “Rock Star, I wanted to be a Future Rock Star!” I even had a T-shirt with that phrase decaled on it. So how does one become a rock star? Lacking the operator’s guide to future rock stardom, my tooth pasted spiky platinum hair, penchant for programming electronic music and rebel attitude landed me an opportunity as the front person for a new wave band in my later teens. The band achieved a level of success. An album was produced. We performed at regional nightclubs and had a few tunes played on the radio. On the verge of being ‘signed’ to a label, I went in another direction. So what changed? I did. More importantly, I realized it. The realization made the decision to change direction simpler. The musician rock star’s life was not going to be fit for me in the long term. Organizational life has parallels. One of my clients asked me to work with their newly appointed Head of Operations. This in house ‘Rock Star’ had grown up in the organization and been on a rapid path of succession. All expectations pointed to this person as being the anointed ‘one’ to take the organization forward. The new Head struggled. Charged with leading a disparate team of direct reports that did not simply take direction stymied her results. She had never encountered such defiance. It was like an instrument she did not know how to play. She had taken to the stage with no rehearsal. The overnight sensation of unknown to rock stardom is a myth. The more probable scenario is while the general public or mass talent market may be unaware of an up and comer; the overnight sensation’s development has been a work in progress for some time. Development is an ongoing, unending process. When investments are made consistently the return is multiplied exponentially. The rate of growth however, depends on how management has made its investments over time. An unprepared but talented player can be developed to reach their potential. Standard operating procedure suggests several conditions as pre-requisites:    

Know Thyself, Or Get To Know Thyself via Feedback and Disclosure Define Your Direction: Identify An End State Own Your Actions: Make Choices that Propel You to That Result Measure Consistently: When Progress is Off Track, Iterate

So what do you want to be when you grow up? You can be anything you want to be, really. I see Future Rock Stars every day, in my work and in the world. The overnight sensations we will meet may have had their careers managed. For the rest of us, future returns are only an investment away.

©Potential Selves 2014


Potential Selves: On Future Rock Stars