A star, you know, is that twinkling thing that we admire from a far.  In human terms we see stars as those who shine brilliantly in their field of endeavour.  They are people who perform a skill or exhibit a characteristic that we can look at and appreciate that it is being done at a high level.  In a society that often accepts mediocrity as a norm, people often feel a need to knock stars down perhaps because it feels uncomfortable to have people making them look bad.  I know that for the most part the people who read these articles are those who strive to perform at the best level they can and have risen to or been chosen for a leadership position in their organizatoin.  The purpose of this article is to help you to see the star qualities that you already possess.  I hope that it will help you to recognize some of the star qualities in the people you lead with a goal of you leading an organization with stars supporting you in delivering your best.

Whether you are interested in raising the bar for yourself in terms of star quality or raising the bar for those who work for you, I would like to present some ideas using the acronym STAR.

Seeing what is needed.

See themselves

Tenacious with standards.

Accountable for their attitude.

Relentless on reaching results

In the space that we have for this article I am not able to go into great depth with each of the points but I will pick one attribute from each group to focus on.

Seeing what is needed.– Vision.  One the most powerful attributes of a star is to see a vision that so few, if any, have the ability to see.  When he gave his most famous speech Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said that he had a dream.  His dream was that his children would not be judged by the colour of their skin but rather by the content of their character.  He had a dream.  This is just a small part of his speech but his words inspired a nation and started in earnest the changes that so many had fought for, for so long.  Stars have clear a vision of what is possible and know that the road to that vision is seldom easy.

Tenacious with standards.– High Expectations.  What I have observed in stars, especially the ones I have grown to know personally, is that they have very high standards when it comes to their own conduct and behaviour.  They tend to be people of integrity who do what they say they are going to do.  They don’t try to be what they are not.  They employ vast quantities of discipline.  I think of someone like Wayne Gretzky.  In addition to being proficient at what he does and setting the bar higher than it had ever been set before, he always did it with class, integrity and humility.  We as members of large companies and leaders of people have the opportunity to lead with high personal standards and inspire out people to lead with them as well.

Accountable for Attitude - Gratitude.  When Vancouver won the 2010 Olympic bid and people were asking John Furlong for his comments what he offered were simply comments of gratitude and humility.  He was grateful for all the people who worked so hard to share a dream and create a legacy.  And at every point when the glory was being shone on him he redirected it to the people he believed made it happen. 

Relentless in reaching results. - Resilient.  One of the things that impresses me most about the stars that I have observed is their ability to get up after being knocked down.  It often seems like those who achieve the most have had some of the greatest obstacles to overcome.    And it seems that when most people would be devastated or paralyzed by a set back the stars see it as a lesson that will prepare them for the bigger challenge.  In the summer of 2003 watching cyclist Lance Armstrong win his fifth Tour de France by overcoming obstacles on the road that for us might seem overwhelming, we could see that these were small obstacles compared the larger, life threatening ones he has had to face to reach his goals.

I hope that you will see some element of a star that could help you on your path to stardom and something that might help you to inspire those that work with you to let their brilliance shine.

What’s possible for your life?
What’s possible for your organization?
What difference can you make?
What are your standards in terms of integrity, being constructive, being an example, telling the truth, the way you present yourself, the kind of language you use, and the way you honour others?

List 10 things that you are grateful for.
Think of a time when going through adversity led to much bigger results.
Have you allowed failure to be a teacher for you in the past?

I wish you the best in developing the STAR within you.

Kevin MacDonald
Clarity Success Coaching
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Kevin MacDonald is a principal in this Vancouver based practice.
The S.T.A.R. Within You

by Kevin MacDonald