Good Problems? What to Do When Your Talent Acquisition Pool is Loaded With Superstars

So you are browsing a pile of resumes that came through for a series of available positions and you start to see a stream of what appears to be industry superstars. These are people who have amazing track records, world class accomplishments and even a few industry awards to their credit. As soon as you see these resumes, you are already spending the bonus money you are sure to get for setting the company up with nothing but the best possible talent at a wide variety of positions. But before you book that trip to Cancun on money you don’t have, you may want to become familiar with the Too-Much-Talent Effect.


Some extremely smart people at Columbia University did a study of professional soccer, basketball and baseball teams to see if the ratio of talent to success holds up. What they found is that when the ratio of superstars to role players starts to exceed 2:1, the team is unable to win games. Why? Actually, the reasoning is relatively simple and it is information you need to create the best possible staff for your company.

Superstars Don’t Tend To Be Team Players

The performers who are used to getting all of the individual glory tend to be terrible team players. That works out great if you play professional golf, but it can be a real problem if you are trying to be part of a winning basketball team.

The same applies to your company and the environment in your workplace. A group of superstars would all be working towards individual accomplishments and not towards the development of the team. Role players, even in the corporate world, are essential in creating a successful team. Would Michael Jordan have won all of those championships without Scottie Pippen by his side? No, he would not. That is why a team of superstars is a really bad idea.

Talent Versus Financial Return

The NBA 2010-11 season was the first for the Miami Heat’s “big three” of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Just for that season alone, those three players made a combined $43 million in salary. The “big three” all had signed long-term contracts worth a combined $327.7 million. After all of that money and talent, Miami lost in the NBA finals that season.

Spending a ton of money on talent does not guarantee the kind of returns you are looking for. As we can see from the Heat’s example, the investment in superstar talent can be a burden that could break your company’s bank. When the Too-Much-Talent Effect kicks in, you are suddenly facing rising costs and diminishing returns.

Build A Winning Team

The key to building a winning team in the corporate world and the sports world is to stay away from the Too-Much-Talent Effect. When you load up your staff with nothing but superstars, you are not going to get the return that you had hoped for. The Columbia University study shows that your superstar line-up is going to cost you a lot of money, but it will not deliver when it comes to company revenue.

A strong team has superstars and role players, and those superstars are willing to act as focal points to help the team succeed. The best way to avoid the financial collapse that could come from the Too-Much-Talent Effect is to recruit a team that can work together to reach the company’s goals.

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George N Root III is a professional freelance writer who has expertise in topics such as Internet marketing, business, health insurance, advertising, and personal finance.

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